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The Air Crew

The members of crew #4008 were:

Lt Paul Steel (A/C)
1/Lt Gayle W. Newman (Pilot)
1/Lt James T. Jones (Navigator)
2/Lt Jack P. Keeve (Bombardier)
2/Lt Ambrose F. Van Dyke (Engineer)
Sgt Peter J. Thomas (Radio)
Sgt Frank K. Ostberg (Radarman)
Sgt Charles S. Lyczko (CFC)
Sgt Daniel J. Lucarini (R Gunner)
Sgt Charles R. Albert (L Gunner)
Sgt Angel M. Ocasio (T Gunner)

Cpt Forrest R. Johns (Group Navigator) and Cpt Robert S. Miller (Group Bombardier) were substituting for 1/Lt James T. Jones (Navigator) and 2/Lt Jack P. Keeve (Bombardier) on the night the crew was lost.

On Mar 13, their aircraft crashed on take-off.  Sgt Charles S. Lyczko and Sgt Charles Albert entered the burning plane to look for crewmen.  They both received commendations for their actions.  The narrative for Sgt Charles Albert reads as follows:

From General Orders no. 90 (19 May 45)

Sergeant Charles R Albert, 32817811, 40th Bombardment Squadron, 6th Bombardment Group, Air Corps, United States Army. (Missing in action) Next of kin: Mrs Catherine Albert (Mother) 301 West 259th St., New York City, New York. For heroism on an island in the Marianas on 13 March 1945. The B-29 aircraft to which Sergeant Albert was assigned as Left Gunner crashed at takeoff causing the left wing gasoline tanks to rupture and the plane to burst into flames. Despite the eminent danger of possible explosion of the remaining fuel in the tanks and ignition of the incendiary bombs in the bomb bay, Sergeant Albert, with complete disregard for his own safety, re-entered the wrecked and burning plane and searched the entire rear compartment for the tail gunner before leaving it. His courage reflects great credit on himself and the Army Air Forces.

The narative for Sergeant Charles S Lyczko reads the same as Albert’s.

Mission 16. Night Mining, Shimonoseki Straits (Mar 27)

The entire crew was lost on the night of March 27.  This was one of the early mining missions:

Five minutes after “Bombs Away” Lt Steel’s crew sent a distress message telling of “one engine out”, but this was the last report received. Twelve search sorties were flown by the Sixth with only negative results.  [Pirate’s Log, pp. 34-35]

The Airplanes

This crew flew “Bad Penny” on their last mission.