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Crash of B-24 Liberator 44-48966 MACR 12105
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Mission to Vienna rail yards
The 460th Bomb Group, 760th Bomb Squadron of the Fifteenth Air Force was based at Spinazzola, Italy which was located in the south eastern part of the Italian boot. This temporary airfield was built in an olive grove and was home to the Consolidated B-24 Liberators and a base for strategic bombing of the eastern front.
On 13 February 1945, pilot 1st Lt. Roland Louis Guerin, Jr. and his crew of the B-24J-20 aircraft 44-48966, nicknamed “Jane,” began their ninth mission to the railroad yards at Vienna, Austria. Lt. Guerin was piloting Blue “C” in the #6 position of the lead group. During the bomb run, Lt. Guerin’s ship was hit by intense flak. Engine #1 was lost and later engine #2. Guerin struggled to keep the shaking plane level but the aircraft lost altitude and dropped back some 10 miles falling below the clouds. The entire crew bailed out. After a spiraling decent, the plane crashed about two and one half kilometers northwest of Sklkoeveskut near Vasasszonyfa, Hungary. When the crew failed to return to base, Missing Air Crew Report 12105.
All of the crew were captured and sent to the interrogation center at Oberusal. When the POWs were being transferred from Dulag Luft Wetzlar to Nuremburg, the boxcar they were riding in was strafed by an American P-51. 1st Lt. Guerin and Sgt. Henry G. Gebhardt were standing in the open boxcar door. Gebhardt was wounded in the thigh and later died on 2 March 1945 and buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in France.
- Vasasszonyfa, Hungary
- 13 February 1945
George Adolph Comiskey
Staff Sgt. George Adolph Comiskey (17110240) was the engineer. He was born on 7 April 1922 in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Adolph and Mary M. Comiskey. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 6 October 1942. He married Adriene Myra Dille. In 1977, Comiskey founded Pioneer Mobile Homes, Inc. in Blaine, MN. He later sold the mobile home sales and service dealership to his son Jeffrey. Comiskey died in 1988 in Minneapolis, MN and is buried in plot Deovotion 187 of the Morningside Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Coon Rapids, MN.
Abelardo Herman "Herm" Febles
Staff Sgt. Abelardo Herman Febles (32902065) was the radio operator. He was born on 31 October 1924 in New York City, the son of Carlos and Consuelo (Brocep) Febles. He married Susan E. Matava (1927-2009) who died in 2009. They lived in Vero Beach, FL. He was a carpenter and owned and operated C & F Store fixtures in Brooklyn, NY.
Febles died on 16 February 2013 at his home in Riverhead, NY. He was 88 years old. He was later buried beside his wife in section 34, site 956 in the Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, NY.
Staff Sgt. Fritz Loewenstein (32088343) was the intelligence officer. He was born on 31 January 1907 in Germany and was of Hebrew heritage. He was a clerk and at 27 years old, immigrated to America. He left Hamburg, Germany aboard SS. Washington and arrived in New York City on 18 October 1934. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 25 April 1941 at New York City. He married Florence A. and they lived in Hoboken, NJ. He died in May 1981 in North Bergin, NJ.
After his capture and photo being taken, Loewenstein received special interest by the German interrogators. German records state “Loewenstein is a jew, he emigrated from Freiburg 1/3 in 1938 to the USA and speaks better German than English. He is willing to make a statement and would make a good subject for an investigation. The other crew members are not frank and would not be good subject for an investigation.”
Robert Louis Schleret
Staff Sgt. Robert Louis Schleret (32938402) was the ball turret gunner. He was born on 15 November 1924 in Syracuse, NY, son of Louis Schleret. After his military service, Bob returned home to Syracuse to join the Syracuse Fire Department. He retired in 1980 after 33 years of service. In 1948, he married Shirley M. Brien. He was a communicant of Christ the King Church. Schleret died on 6 December 2011 at his home in Liverpool, NY and was buried in Assumption Cemetery, Syracuse, NY. Bob was a NY Yankees fan, and was an avid fisherman and hunter.
Louis Barnabas Szendrey
Sgt. Louis Barnabas Szendrey (42100481) was the assistant armorer/gunner. He was born on 18 February 1923 in New Jersey, the son of Regina Szendrey of New Brunswick, NJ. He graduated from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 19 November 1943 at Newark, NJ. After being liberated, he returned to the States. Szendrey graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts in 1951. He later earned a master's degree in Fine Arts from Cornell in 1953 with his thesis being "A Painting and Notes on a Theory of Painting."
Szendrey died at age 56 on 24 April 1979 in Manasquan, NJ.