Sgt Disher completed a full tour of duty with the 92nd Bomb Group, 407th Squadron 29-May-1943 thru 25 Feb-1944. As a member of The 1st Lt. Frederick T. Presse crew, shown after returning to base in the crew picture above. (Disher is front row middle)
Disher participated in the ill fated mission to Stuttgart on 6 - Sept - 1943, where the Eighth AAF suffered it's highest losses to date, due to poor planning and communication problems., Ditching their damaged aircraft and out of fuel in the Channel on September 6,1943. They ditched 6 miles off the French coast, North of LeHavre while returning from Stuttgart. The crew and three other crews that had been forced to ditch in the Channel were rescued by Air Sea Rescue.
Upon completion of his tour Sgt Disher returned to the United States as was promised all air crew upon completion of their tour. Sgt Disher then volunteered for a second tour of duty and was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group.
On 18-March 1945 421 1st Air Division B-17's attacked two Rail Marshalling Yards in Berlin, Germany. Seven B17's were downed by heavy enemy Flak concentrations. Six B17's including A/C 43-38861 (Sgt Dishers ac) by ME-262's attacking en masse. March 18th was the first attack by ME-262's in Gruppe (Group) Strength. According to Roger Freeman in his book "The Mighty Eighth" "Near Salzwedel some 20 minutes from the target, four ME-262's came out of clouds and attacked the 100ths low squadron which was badly strung out aind in poor formation. Coming in from 75 yards to point blank range before firing, the enemy pilots could hardly miss and left three B-17's in a sorry state. One dived away on fire and crashed behind the Russian lines. The port wing of the lead machine was also in flames and the crew parachuted. Soon three ME-262's returned for a second pass in which they shot the complete tail section off a B-17" (Dishers A/C). "Bomber calls for fighter help went largely unheeded as there was difficulty in making contact. Fighters were also hampered by poor visibility".
This mission was one with Fighter Escort all the way into the target and back, Six of 425 VIII Fighter Command fighter aircraft were also shot down. The heavy loss of bombers was attributed to heavy concentrations of flak and one of the first mass attack of ME-262's.
A/C 43-38861 was attacked by the ME-262's causing a fire in the mid section of the A/C, the radio room. This is where Sgt Disher was positioned as Radar Controller (Sgt Disher). He and the Radio operator were burned very badly. As the A/C fell away from the formation the ME-262's continued to attack. Damage to the A/C was so severe that the tail section broke away from the fuselage. The Tail gunner was able to bail out from the opening where the fuselage had been severed. All crew were able to bail out of the A/C, with the exception of the Radio Operator (T/Sgt Danielson), Radar Controller (Sgt Disher), and Ball Turret Gunner (Sgt Uhler), who was trapped in the Ball, ("He apparently rode the ball all the way to the ground" was a comment made by one survivor).
The last account of the status of Sgt Disher was witnessed by S/Sgt Heilbuth (Waist Gunner) who saw Sgt Disher right before Heilbuth bailed out of the A/C. Disher was crawling out of the radio room with blood all over himself, but he did not have time to help him as the A/C was below the clouds which were not much over 500 ft, so he had to jump. Disher probably never got to the door to jump as the plane must have hit only a few seconds later.
Pilot (Lt Gwin), managed to bail out of the A/C and his chute was seen to open. Witnesses on the ground heard gunfire as the pilots chute was desending. Gwin was apparently killed in his chute. Germans told the POW's that he was killed.
Air War Europa Chronology 1942-1945, Eric Hammel
The Mighty Eigth, Roger Freeman