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TSGT Ralph O.E. Butzmann
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Birth: Jul. 18, 1915
Death: Jul. 5, 1944, England

T/Sgt. Ralph O. E. Butzmann Killed
Squadron: 576th BS 392th Bomb Group
Service #
Awards: Purple Heart.
Pilot 1st/Lt. Robert L. Reese

Target: Practice Mission
Date Lost: 5-Jul-44
Serial Number: #41-28731,
Aircraft Model B-24H
Aircraft Letter: "V"
Aircraft Name:
Location: near the village of Foxley, Norfolk England
Cause: Accident Crew of 5 Killed

A practice mission involving the 14th, 2nd, 20th, and 95th Combat Wings was scheduled for this day. According to the 2nd Air Division teletype, "New crews and element leaders needing formation practice will be used. Emphasis will be placed on formation flying and timing. A Group commander or air executive will monitor each formation." The "target" was the center of the airfield at Suttonbridge; "bombing" was to be done visually by squadrons at 14,500 feet and an "actual run will be simulated including open bomb doors." The 392nd provided 36 planes for this practice mission--9 planes from each squadron. During this practice mission, two 392nd planes collided, resulting in five deaths from 1/Lt Reese's crew and six deaths from 2/Lt Fidel's crew. The circumstances leading to the collision are unknown.

Since this was just a local training mission to practice formation flying, S/Sgt Donald Schumaker recounted that he, the other three gunners (Sgt Wayne Blackham, Sgt Chester Ellis, and Sgt Henry DeKeyser) and bombardier 2/Lt John Walters did not have to fly. Instead they went to a movie at a local theater and on their return to base found out that their crew and airplane were involved in a mid-air collision. S/Sgt Schumaker did not witness the crash as it occurred before his return to base. However, base personnel must have thought he was aboard the plane as his locker had been cleaned out.

The Reese, crew
1st/Lt. Robert L. Reese Pilot
2nd/Lt. Joseph S. Iannotta Co Pilot
Fl/Of. William O. Minzenberg Navigator
S/Sgt. Marion Thornton Jr.
T/Sgt. Ralph O. E. Butzmann

Crew not aboard the mission.
S/Sgt. Wayne R. Blackham Gunner
S/Sgt. Chester Ellis Gunner
S/Sgt. Donald H. Schumaker Gunner
S/Sgt.Henry A. Dekeyser Gunner
Saint Marys Cemetery
Winona County
Minnesota, USA
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: ShaneO
Record added: Jun 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38667959
TSGT Ralph O.E. Butzmann
Added by: Rebecca Kaldunski
TSGT Ralph O.E. Butzmann
Added by: John Dowdy
TSGT Ralph O.E. Butzmann
Added by: John Dowdy
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Remembering you on this Memorial Weekend 2014
- Lazer
 Added: May. 25, 2014
- ShaneO
 Added: Jul. 9, 2013

- Tom Mauer
 Added: Sep. 16, 2012
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