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G.  N.  Baccash


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Excerpt from Stars and Stripes
dated Thursday February 18, 1943

These were the stories that came out of the homecoming of Eighth Air Force bombers that returned to their bases in Britain today after dropping hundreds of tons of explosives on St. Nazaire, one of the biggest Nazi U-boat bases, in a daylight attack. For the Liberators it was their second raid in 19 hours, following Monday's visit to Dunkirk.

Good-naturedly ribbing the Forts, the Navigator of "Miss Dianne", a Liberator piloted by Captain Clyde Price, of San Antonio, challenged the B-17s to match their record of five enemy planes shot down.

The Navigator, 2nd Lt. J. A. Augenstene, Jr., of Pittsburgh, also recounted the engagements:

"As we were flying in the tail-end formations, the Germans would attack the Fortresses flying ahead and below us from the front, circle around, and then come at us from behind."

"The first plane that we got," Lt. Augenstene continued, "was blasted from 200 yards away, exploded and went all to pieces in the air. The second stalled when it was hit, plummeted straight into the clouds below, leaving a trail of smoke behind."

Dalton L. Snell, of Marked Tree, Arkansas, top turret gunner; and Sgt. I. C. Wyer, waist gunner from Clarksburg, Virginia, each got two of "Miss Dianne's" victims. Sgt. Lewis J. Fleshman, of Virginia, the tail turret gunner, got the fifth.

Fleshman's bulls eye was scored on a plane that made the fatal mistake of exposing a vulnerable underside as it turned.

The rest of Captain Price's crew were 2nd Lt. Robert E. Forrest, of Columbus, Ohio, co-pilot; 2nd Lt. Morton P. Gross, of Denver, Colorado, bombardier; Sgts. Kenneth Laughton, of Pine Grove, California, radio operator; Kenneth L. Erhard, Clearfield, Pennsylvania, waist gunner; and Earl W. Holton, Mulliken, Michigan, rear hatch gunner.

Note: Crew Chief of "Miss Dianne" is M/Sgt. George Baccash of the 67th Bombardment Squadron. Aircraft #41-23784.
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