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Crash of B-17 44-8729 MACR 12716
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Mission 178 to Linz rail yards
Mission 178 to the marshalling yards at Linz, Austria took place on 25 February 1945. 1st Lt. Donald Albert Mateske (O-827024) was pilot for the B-17G with tale number 44-8729 with a crew of ten. They were to fly as Able No. 1 in the formation and an altitude of 26,000 feet. As they approached the target, anti-aircraft bursts were exploding all around. One engine was hit and had to be feathered. They were able to drop their bombs and continue with the formation to the rally point. After flak hit another engine, the pilot was forced to feather number three. While attempting to keep up with the formation, engine number 2 was lost. Around 1312, the pilot radioed the rest of his squadron to say that “we have three engines out and the navigator (Owens) was wounded slightly. Everything else is under control and we are heading for Russia.” With three engines out, the plane continued to loose altitude but it continued in level flight. They were flying parallel with a river below. At about five thousand feet, the pilot gave the order to bail out. All crewmen successfully parachuted to safety but were later captured. The aircraft crashed near Theresienfeld, Austria. When the Mateske crew did not return to base, Missing Air Crew Report 12716 was filed with command.
- Theresienfeld, Austria
- 25 February 1945
Jack Arista Nendell
Major Jack Arista Nendell (O-388631) was the co-pilot. He was born on 28 April 1914 in Texas. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas in 1939. In 1944 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster for his service with the 301st Bomb Group. He married Josephine L. Nendell died on 10 March 1999 in Denton, TX and buried in Arlington National Cemetery, section 59, site 1055.
Richard Mays Owen
1st Lt. Richard Mays Owen (O-2058536) was the navigator. He was born on 3 October 1924 in Dallas, TX. After the war, he attended Mississippi State University. He married Mary Hamilton (Boone) Owen (1925-2001) and they had four children, two boys and two girls. Owen was a shoe manufacturer’s salesman and they lived in College Station, TX. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and A&M United Methodist Church. He died on 27 April 1981 in Fort Worth, TX and is buried in the College Station Cemetery.
Edgar B. Rabideau
1st Lt. Edgar B. Rabideau (O-717109) was the bombardier. He was born on 3 February 1917 in Amsterdam, NY, the son of Edgar E. and Mae L. Rabideau. In 1930, the family lived in Bristol, MA. He married Katherine Zetrouer (1920-2008) in 1950. He was vice-president of merchandising and marketing at Liggett Drug Company in Stamford, CT. He later lived in Duxbury, MA and wintered in Sarasota, FL. He was a member of Plymouth, MA Country Club and Sarasota University Park Golf Course.
Rabideau died on 20 May 2003 in Tampa, FL and was later buried in Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree Cemetery, MA.
Raymond Francis Swanson
1st Lt. Raymond Francis Swanson (O-768747) was the tail gunner. He was born on 6 July 1924 in Chicago, IL, son of Louis and Florence V. Swanson. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 12 May 1943. He was married to Charlotte Mary. For his service and the events which occurred on 25 February 1945, he was awarded the Purple Heart and POW medal.
Swanson died on 15 July 1999 in Cibolo, TX and was buried in section 26, site 552 of the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX.