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2LT Donald Merrel Bahling

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2LT Donald Merrel Bahling

Birth
Kansas, USA
Death
10 May 1944 (aged 21)
Texas, USA
Burial
Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Memorial ID
23496429 View Source

Donald Bahling was the son of Merrel Edward Bahling and Daisy Fern Niemeir of Fresno CA. He had siblings Doris Louise (Bahling) Pontius and Geraldine Joyce (Bahling) Bennett. His father Merrel was a Postman.


2nd LT USAAF WWII
3017th AAF Base Unit
Hobbs AAFB NM
CoPilot/Pilot

Weather was clear with unlimited visibility but with light rain showers in the vicinity 10 May 1944. B-17F #42-31006 took off from Hobbs Army Air Force Base at Hobbs, NM on a routine formation training flight to El Paso, TX and then a return back to base. The aircraft was flying in formation at an altitude of 25,000 ft on the right wing with another aircraft, piloted by 2nd Lt. Troy M. Deal, Instructor Pilot, ASN O-482967 and which was in the lead position. Captain Thomas' ship, the No. 12 aircraft, was accompanying the formation on the left wing of Lt. Deal's lead aircraft. A short time into the flight, positions switched, as Capt. Thomas took the lead, and Lt. Blackner took his left wing, and Lt. Deal took the right wing. They made their destination of El Paso and turned for a heading to Salt Flat.

Lt. Blackner's ship veered sharply to the right towards Lt. Deal's ship and disappeared through the overcast layer. No further contact was made with any of the crew. The instructor pilots thought that Lt. Blackner's aircraft had gotten into the prop-wash and at some point would reappear. A local rancher spotted the ship coming straight down. The aircraft was said to have seemed to level off, and then head back straight down. The eyewitness was approximately eleven miles away when he saw the aircraft hit and catch fire. The investigative opinion is that the probable cause of the crash was due to material failure in the oxygen system. All five airmen were killed in the crash.

The crew members were:
2nd Lt. James B. Blackner, Pilot, O-747373, from Beaver Co., UT
2nd Lt. Donald M. Bahling, CoPilot/Pilot, O-771269, from Fresno, CA
2nd Lt. Charles J. Carter, CoPilot/Pilot, O-771664, from Monroe Co., NY
SSgt Eldwyn E. Huse, Asst. Flight Engineer, 19170127, from Adams Co., WA
Pvt Edward E. Hogan, Radio Operator, 32447839, from Albany Co., NY


Other eyewitnesses on board Capt Thomas' aircraft and Lt. Deal's aircraft were 2nd Lt. Seth L. H. Clare, ASN O-771309 (Officer Student), 2nd Lt. Max M. Derry, ASN O-771339 (Officer Student), and PFC Everett H. McGhee, ASN 19114005 (Radio Operator).

Donald Bahling was the son of Merrel Edward Bahling and Daisy Fern Niemeir of Fresno CA. He had siblings Doris Louise (Bahling) Pontius and Geraldine Joyce (Bahling) Bennett. His father Merrel was a Postman.


2nd LT USAAF WWII
3017th AAF Base Unit
Hobbs AAFB NM
CoPilot/Pilot

Weather was clear with unlimited visibility but with light rain showers in the vicinity 10 May 1944. B-17F #42-31006 took off from Hobbs Army Air Force Base at Hobbs, NM on a routine formation training flight to El Paso, TX and then a return back to base. The aircraft was flying in formation at an altitude of 25,000 ft on the right wing with another aircraft, piloted by 2nd Lt. Troy M. Deal, Instructor Pilot, ASN O-482967 and which was in the lead position. Captain Thomas' ship, the No. 12 aircraft, was accompanying the formation on the left wing of Lt. Deal's lead aircraft. A short time into the flight, positions switched, as Capt. Thomas took the lead, and Lt. Blackner took his left wing, and Lt. Deal took the right wing. They made their destination of El Paso and turned for a heading to Salt Flat.

Lt. Blackner's ship veered sharply to the right towards Lt. Deal's ship and disappeared through the overcast layer. No further contact was made with any of the crew. The instructor pilots thought that Lt. Blackner's aircraft had gotten into the prop-wash and at some point would reappear. A local rancher spotted the ship coming straight down. The aircraft was said to have seemed to level off, and then head back straight down. The eyewitness was approximately eleven miles away when he saw the aircraft hit and catch fire. The investigative opinion is that the probable cause of the crash was due to material failure in the oxygen system. All five airmen were killed in the crash.

The crew members were:
2nd Lt. James B. Blackner, Pilot, O-747373, from Beaver Co., UT
2nd Lt. Donald M. Bahling, CoPilot/Pilot, O-771269, from Fresno, CA
2nd Lt. Charles J. Carter, CoPilot/Pilot, O-771664, from Monroe Co., NY
SSgt Eldwyn E. Huse, Asst. Flight Engineer, 19170127, from Adams Co., WA
Pvt Edward E. Hogan, Radio Operator, 32447839, from Albany Co., NY


Other eyewitnesses on board Capt Thomas' aircraft and Lt. Deal's aircraft were 2nd Lt. Seth L. H. Clare, ASN O-771309 (Officer Student), 2nd Lt. Max M. Derry, ASN O-771339 (Officer Student), and PFC Everett H. McGhee, ASN 19114005 (Radio Operator).


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