1944 — Italy
A Tribute To A “Brave” Bombardier, Vincent “Chief” Myers .....57th Bomb Wing, 12th Air Force, 340th Bomb Group, B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber in the Mediterranean Theatre and in the 488th Bomb Squadron. Lead Bombardier and Navigator on the "100" Missions with Wells and Dyer. Later he became "WING Bombing Officer".
Vincent was born in Caddo County, Oklahoma in 1920. He entered the Army Air Corps from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 19 Dec. 1941. Vincent had completed 2 years of college and was still single at enlistment. He was trained to become a Commissioned Bombardier and Navigator and was assigned to the 340th Bomb Group, 488th Bomb Squad. These Men and their B-25 Mitchell Medium Bombers served in the MTO.... Africa/Italy/Corsica flying Combat Missions against the AXIS Powers during WWII.
Vincent's daughter is Susan Myers and his proud grandson is Joseph Castillas. There will be more to come from the Family.... (9 Sept. 2011) This special man was loved by many, Vincent went HOME 4-August-1979.
By George L. Wells, 340th Bomb Group;
In some respects, this article is written as a tribute to all bombardiers, however, it is specifically written to pay honor to the late Major Vincent Myers, one of the greatest, if not the best bombardier in World War II.
Some names which come to mind from my experience in the 488th Bomb Squadron, who were bombardiers of note, were Red Reichard, Courtney Pitkin and John Galvin.
I take nothing away from those bombardiers and the many other successful ones the 57th Bomb Wing had, but none were in the same league with Vincent Myers, better known to us as “Chief”. Myers. Here was a bombardier who seemed to have no equal.
To say Chief was a brave man in combat in the “hot house” (nose section) of the B-25 is a gross understatement. He was fearless without equal, this does not imply he was recklessly brave – he just had more calm fighting ability than the rest of us. He really was an Indian “brave” – a true warrior destined to be a “chief”, whose ancestors would have been happy to follow him into battle.
He is a real Goliath
One night the two of us were at our so called Officers’ Club on Corsica, just after we two had moved to Group Headquarters. A newly arrived crew member must have heard of Chief’s background because he came up to us sort of looking for a fight. He was a big two hundred pound guy and fortunately for me, he picked on Chief. He kept badgering Chief with remarks such as, “You guys think you’re hot stuff since you moved up to Group.” Finally Chief said, “Now you have gone too far and I’ve got to invite you outside.” He took Chief up on it and we walked out. The big fellow took one swing which Chief picked off with his left arm, then with one lighting right counter punch, Chief decked the guy and that was the end of the fight.
The first of these two stories began in Germany, where a man by the name of Gottlieb Fisher was born on December 1, 1813. He arrived in America in 1844, on the ship “Weser” and he became a founding colonist of New Braunfels, Texas.
Gottlieb Fisher married Sophie Schertz, who had arrived in America with her parents in 1843, on the ship “Jean Key”. The Fishers later settled in Fredericksburg, Texas and he is listed on the 1850 census for Gillespie County, Texas. They had a son “Rudolph” Fisher, who as a young boy, worked on their farm.
Then there were the Comanche Indians, a southern plains tribe who were the most expert of all Indian horsemen in the southwest. They rode bareback, but kept a loop of horsehair braided into the horse’s mane. When they wanted to avoid enemy arrows or bullets, they threw their bodies into this loop and rode against the horse’s side or even underneath, keeping only one heel on the horse’s back for support. Westerners claimed that a Comanche could shoot as straight in that position as he could sit upright. The Comanche roamed the north central plains of Texas terrorizing ranch owners.
Fredericksburg hadn’t been having any problems, so on Saturday, July 29, 1865, Gottlieb Fisher sent young Rudolph on an errand a couple of miles away from the farm. When he didn’t return, a search was made. They found where he had been abducted (the boy had been chewing sugar cane and spitting out the residue – allowing his steps to be traced to the point of capture). Nothing was heard of him until two years later when a bounty hunter saw him with some Comanches.
His father tried everything to find his son, even writing to Presidents Grant and Johnson for help, but to no avail. By the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, the U.S. Government established a reservation for the Comanche in southwestern Oklahoma in 1867, however it wasn’t until June 24, 1875, that the famous Quanah Parker, a Comanche chief, finally, at Ft. Sill surrendered the Quo-Hada band of Indians he was leading. It was two years after that date before the big, fair skinned man who could speak English was discovered and his family notified. By this time, Rudolph was an Indian and he didn’t return to live with his family, although he did visit them.
There were many accounts written of Rudolph’s story at that time, but the true account comes from his children. Rudolph told them he was adopted by Black Crow. He was not mistreated and he learned to ride like the Comanche and took part in many skermishes, including one major battle – the second battle of Adobe Walls, where the Comanche were soundly defeated. This defeat is probably one of the reasons Quanah finally surrendered. Quanah was the half white son of a Comanche and the white captive Cynthia Ann Parker. He had a number of wives (two of Vincent Myers’ aunts married two of his sons. One grand-son lives in Apache, Oklahoma and is a first cousin of Vincent Myers). Rudolph Fisher (Vincent’s grand-father) had the Indian name “A-Seway-Nah” and he married the full blooded Indian maiden “Tessy Chou-er”. He also married her sister. Rudolph had twelve children by his two wives, the first born, by Tessy Chou-er, in 1880, was Lena Fisher (He-Vah-Lena) and she was Vincent’s mother and a member of Quanah Parker’s Qua Hada band. Vincent has said his grandfather told him many stories when he was a very young boy and showed him the numerous scars he had on his body.
His father died when he was ten years old and his mother lived until 1975 (age 93). Vincent graduate from high school at Chilocco Indian School, where he participated in all sports, excelling in football and boxing. He went on to Cameron College and graduate with agriculture major. Here too, he participated in all sports but excelled in football and boxing, while at the same time continued to be an “A” student.
In one of his two fights for the Golden Glove Title for Oklahoma, he fought his own brother, “Melvin” (for the title) and it is said that the fight was a classic. The old time fight supporters who saw the fight still rave about it and it is probably one of the many reasons Vincent Myers, in 1976, was inducted into the State of Oklahoma Boxing Hall of Fame as an all time great middle weight, with the amazing record of 114-6. Add this to his war time effort and this is a lot of fighting for such a peaceful and tender hearted man. (A favorite about his brother, “Melvin” – he became a para-trooper and was killed on D-Day.)
Another time after the war, he and his wife were attending a PTA function where an Oklahoma patrolman, famous for a “Quck Draw” was giving a demonstration. After showing how fast he could draw, he challenged anyone in the audience to help show how really fast he was. Vincent was pushed into going up to participate. The test was to show that the patrolman could draw his gun before the other person could clap his two hands together. Needless to say, to the delight of the audience, Vincent beat him three times in a row before the officer gave up.
Vincent and Frances had five beautiful children, the oldest of which (Vincent Junior) died in an accident at the age of nineteen.
A man in combat couldn’t have had a better friend than I had in “Chief” Myers. I’ve had three fine brothers in my life time but he surely was a fourth to me in combat.
George Wells adds “I have had three fine brothers in my life time,
but Vincent surely was a fourth to me in combat. We all know he has reached the
“Happy Hunting Grounds” and we hope to meet with him there someday. We of the 57th Bomb
Wing salute you Vincent “Chief” Myers. You were a better man than than I, Gunga Din.
Your devoted pilot, George Wells”. 340th Bomb Group Pilot /B-25's in the MTO.
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher and 319th and 321st BG Historian.../ My Dad/321stBG, 447th BS T/Sgt Edward C Ennis, Airorne RADAR/ Radio Operator /Aerial Gunner. PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com