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Mission 355 to Schechat oil refinery
14 February 1945 | Pezinok, Slovenia
The 2nd Bomb Group, 429th Bomb Squadron of the Fifteenth Air Force was stationed at Amendola, a small 3600-foot airfield and hard-stands located near Foggia in Southern Italy. The facilities were not very desirable and airmen lived in tents.
Mission 355 for the 429th Bomb Squadron was scheduled for 14 February 1945 from Amendola. The day was cloudy as the B-17’s took off for a bombing run to the Schechat oil refinery near Vienna, Austria. 1st Lt. Robert E. Davis was piloting the crew of “Hell’s Angel”, a B-17G with aircraft serial number 44-6659. The Davis crew was flying their 13th mission. They had completed bombs away over the target when at about 1245 hours the aircraft was hit by flak. The plane began to lose altitude and stray from the formation. All crew members were able to bail out and deploy their parachutes. The aircraft crash landed in the Boesing Modra area near Pezinok, Slovenia. The entire crew were captured and taken to a collection point. Missing Air Crew Report 12107, which was filed after the aircraft failed to return home, includes captured German records relating to the interrogation of the crew by intelligence officers. Pilot Davis was described as: “produces an impression of intelligence, soldier like, correct appearance, very reserving in giving evidence, nevertheless not without fitness for investigation.”
Donal Arthur Bruegeman
Staff Sgt. Donald Arthur Bruegeman (39468843) was the engineer and top turret gunner. He was born on 12 August 1925 in Sacramento, CA, the son of Donald D. and Barbara K. Bruegeman. He later resided in North Highland, CA where he passed away on 23 April 1979.
Bobbie Arnold Davis
Staff Sgt. Bobbie Arnold Davis (34834507) was the ball turret gunner. He was born in July 1925 in Floyd Springs, GA the son of William H. and Bessie Davis of Floyd Springs, GA. Davis and his twin brother Billie G. both enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 31 January 1944 at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, GA. Davis’ first mission in Italy was on 20 November 1944.
Gerald Paul Dickerson
Staff Sgt. Gerald Paul Dickerson (15125559) was the tail gunner. He was born on 23 September 1920 in Trinway, OH the son of Joshua P. and Beatrice F. (Stradley) Dickerson. Just two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dickerson enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Dickerson married Maxine L. Roberts on 4 November 1943 in Sioux Falls, SD. He resided in Newark, OH where he was a Prudential insurance agent from 1958 until his retirement in 1983. He died on 11 December 2009 in Warsaw, IN and was buried at the Zanesville Memorial Park, Zanesville, OH.
Max Albert Little
Tech Sgt. Max Albert Little (19159865) was the radio operator. He was born on 9 March 1920 in California, son of Harry W. and Geraldine Little of Whittier, CA. After his liberation from Stalag VIIA Moosburg, Little returned home to the states on 5 June 1945 aboard the S.S. William H. Jackson, Liberty ship number 1006. Little later passed away on 27 August 1999 in Downey, GA.