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Hello To All,

 

76 years ago today the 384th Bomb Group took off from Grafton Underwood UK, Station 106 on a mission to the Ball Bearing Factories at Schweinfurt Germany.

On this mission between the time of 13:54 and 13:57, 6 out of

7 B-17's from the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squadron were shot down.

My Uncle, TSgt Joseph Rachunas was a Tailgunner along with my dear friend TSgt. Phillip Chaperon who was the Left waist gunner was on one of those B-17's, The "Mrs Geezil" and became POW's at Stalag 17B for the rest of the War.

 

This is Ben's story!!

 

http://squawkin-chicken.384thbombgroup.com/page2.html

 

 

I was very fortunate to become friends with Dewayne "Ben" Bennett. The pilot of the only B-17 from the 545th Bomb Squadron to make it back to base that day.

Ben had helped me with all the information about the day my Uncle was shot down.

He also pointed me in the direction of the 384th website. Where I have become a member and entered combat crews from the original loading list to the database.

While speaking with Ben about this day, he told me that he wanted the memory of the men who lost their lives that day to be remembered.

I told him I would do that for him. He passed away in March 10th 2011.

I am Keeping My Promise to him. I miss ya Ben!!!!! I have attached Ben's list of the men that died that day!

 

While I have posted those names for years, It wasn't until recently that someone posted a photo of Lt.Bedsole that I realized I have never seen these men's faces. So this started my journey into finding them all. I still need to find more, But here are the faces of the men who I have found and who's names appear on that list! This is the second and third attachment.

 

The 4th attachment is also something Ben had given me. It is the flight formation before and after the attack.

 

I would like to thank Corrine Samuel for the pic's from the Lavin crew and also to Al Brady who Corrine had called and he sent me a picture of his Father SSgt Lloyd Brady. I just got the second attachment photo's last night and will try to get the sizes correct next year and hopefully find more photo's of those I still need to find.

 

They say you die twice! Once when you take your last breath, Then when the last person says your name for the last time!

 

Say Their Names. Keep their memories Alive!

Always Remember, Never Forget!

 

I hope this message finds you all well during these difficult time. Stay Safe!

Semper Fi and as Ben would sign off,

"Your Fren"

Phil

 

 

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Awesome tribute! I knew at least 2 local vets that were in the 384th.

384th BG "Keep the Show on the Road" and 547th BS patches:

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Phil - Outstanding tribute to these American heroes. Thank you for keeping their memory alive. May they All Rest In Peace. Bob

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Hello To All,

 

76 years ago today the 384th Bomb Group took off from Grafton Underwood UK, Station 106 on a mission to the Ball Bearing Factories at Schweinfurt Germany.

On this mission between the time of 13:54 and 13:57, 6 out of

7 B-17's from the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squadron were shot down.

My Uncle, TSgt Joseph Rachunas was a Tailgunner along with my dear friend TSgt. Phillip Chaperon who was the Left waist gunner was on one of those B-17's, The "Mrs Geezil" and became POW's at Stalag 17B for the rest of the War.

 

This is Ben's story!!

 

http://squawkin-chicken.384thbombgroup.com/page2.html

 

 

I was very fortunate to become friends with Dewayne "Ben" Bennett. The pilot of the only B-17 from the 545th Bomb Squadron to make it back to base that day.

Ben had helped me with all the information about the day my Uncle was shot down.

He also pointed me in the direction of the 384th website. Where I have become a member and entered combat crews from the original loading list to the database.

While speaking with Ben about this day, he told me that he wanted the memory of the men who lost their lives that day to be remembered.

I told him I would do that for him. He passed away in March 10th 2011.

I am Keeping My Promise to him. I miss ya Ben!!!!! I have attached Ben's list of the men that died that day!

 

While I have posted those names for years, It wasn't until recently that someone posted a photo of Lt.Bedsole that I realized I have never seen these men's faces. So this started my journey into finding them all. I still need to find more, But here are the faces of the men who I have found and who's names appear on that list! This is the second and third attachment.

 

The 4th attachment is also something Ben had given me. It is the flight formation before and after the attack.

 

I would like to thank Corrine Samuel for the pic's from the Lavin crew and also to Al Brady who Corrine had called and he sent me a picture of his Father SSgt Lloyd Brady. I just got the second attachment photo's last night and will try to get the sizes correct next year and hopefully find more photo's of those I still need to find.

 

They say you die twice! Once when you take your last breath, Then when the last person says your name for the last time!

 

Say Their Names. Keep their memories Alive!

Always Remember, Never Forget!

 

I hope this message finds you all well during these difficult time. Stay Safe!

Semper Fi and as Ben would sign off,

"Your Fren"

Phil

 

 

attachicon.gifSchweinfurt dead 4-13-09 corrected.jpg

 

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Hi Phil. great post, really enjoyed reading it and your family connection to the 384th.

 

The 384th was a particular favourite group for a bunch of friends and myself, we regularly went over to Grafton Underwood for monthly film-shows about the group by the co-ordinator for the veterans association. In the 1980's and 90's we would put on uniform and equipment displays each year that the veterans returned and made friends with many of them. It was very sad to see each year the dwindling numbers of returning veterans of the 384th.

 

Below a similar display we did for a returning USAAF 398th veteran reunion at Duxford air museum. . . . . . .

Received this photo three weeks ago from Tudor ( 1st left standing ) which I have never seen before. Taken at a 398th USAAF reunion at Duxford air museum ( no date, possibly late 80’s early 90’s ). Front row kneeling Fleming, Lewis, Khristian, Perry. Eight of us had taken a display of WWII uniform and equipment to display for these veterans, as the coaches rolled into the car park I was tasked by the museum director with giving an unrehearsed speech for the veterans & wives. . . . . . . . . . . a memorable day for us collectors.

regards lewis.

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Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

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Thank you All.

MattS, those are great patches. I have the same and the complete set. Now mine are remakes. My Friend I mentioned above, Phil C. was attached to the 547th, but got frostbite and was put on medical hold, Then his original crew were shot down while he was in the hospiyal and when he reocvered he was attached to the 545th.

 

UScollector. I am an a memeber on FB with the 8thAF Historical Society, I have posted this on the 384th FB page ,But have not posted it on their page yet. There is a plaque outside the museum and the crew of the Damned Yankee II are listed on it. Now that is the same crew who was shot down on this date , But they were flying the "Mrs Geezil" this day. My Cousin whose father was shotdown has donated some items from him to the Museum. She was going to donate it to the USAF museum in Ohio until I told her about the Mighty 8Th museum in Georgia. She agreed and made contact and has sent them some items..

 

Thank you Bob!

 

Lewis, I very glad to hear you are a fan of the 384th. I would have loved to play there as a child. I also would love someday to make it over to Grafton Underwood to walk what is left of Station 106. Its on the Bucket list!!

 

Thank you for the kind words Old Crow!!

 

Just to Note, I spoke with Phil Chaperon yesterday to wish him a Happy Easter. I told him it was 76 years ago. He said he was proud of me for doing this. I feel it an honor to those who gave their all for this Great nation! He is 99 and is still sharp as a tack. He also has been a treasure for my research into what happened that day they were shot down and also what their lives were like in Stalag 17B. They are keeping him safe and happy at the Oregon Veterans home.

 

Semper Fi

Phil

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I just noticed that I made a mistake on the rank of one of the men I am honoring and I feel it a disservice if I left it unchanged. This is 2ndLt Louis Beldon. I had him as SSgt. He was the Co Pilot of the Lavin crew.

Semper Fi

Phil

 

 

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