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 John M. McCaslin, Jr

John M. McCaslin, Jr

Birth
Death 5 Aug 1991 (aged 71)
Burial Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio, USA
Plot 124-7
Memorial ID 86862187 · View Source
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USAAF WORLD WAR II
Co-pilot 1st/Lt. John M. McCaslin Jr.
Hometown: Cincinnati Ohio
Squadron: 506th Sq. 44th Bomb Group
Service# 0-727956
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Pilot William M. Duffy Jr.

Target: Frankfurt, Germany
Mission Date: 29-Jan-44
Serial Number: # 42-7509
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter: V
Aircraft Name: GALLAVANTIN’ GAL
Location: Returned to base
Cause: FLAK

Again, due to poor weather conditions, our bombers had to drop their bombs via PFF method. Flak and enemy aircraft attacks were moderate but no enemy fighters were claimed by our gunners. However, the Group suffered two planes and crews lost; one each by the 66th and 67th squadron.

Although not lost in combat, the airplane piloted by 1st Lt. William Duffy was badly damaged and limped back to base. Later it was repaired. Lt. Duffy explained, “We had gone to Frankfurt – in the last echelon, of the last flight, of the last squadron of the last group of the last Division in the 8th Air Force. We came home alone and landed with one propeller feathered, no brakes, one flat tire, and the ball turret down. “My crew had gotten us back to the base and I could do no less than put the thing down. Victor Chopp, great and brave man, survived a direct hit on the rear turret, but he lost an eye, and yet never a word of complaint during the flight or in the 38 years that he lived thereafter. “In some way or another, the ball turret gunner was taken out of that damaged turret before the landing. He, too, managed to survive his wounds.” (This was William D. Scott.) Lt. Duffy and his co-pilot demonstrated exceptional skill in landing their craft in a tricycle landing without even touching that lowered turret on the runway! Simply amazing!

GALLAVANTIN’ GAL Crew
William M. Duffy Jr. Pilot
1st/Lt. John M. McCaslin Jr. Co Pilot
1st/Lt. James P. Callaway Navigator
S/Sgt. Frank L. Rodriguez Gunner
T/Sgt. Harold J. Vickers Engineer
T/Sgt. Richard Hershey Radio Op.
S/Sgt. William D. Scott Gunner
S/Sgt. John H. Stewart Gunner
S/Sgt. William E. Drumel Gunner
S/Sgt. Victor J. Chopp Gunner
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Target: Airdrome, Langenhagen, Germany
Mission Date: 8-Apr-44
Serial Number: # 42-7509
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter: V
Aircraft Name: GALLAVANTIN’ GAL
Location: Returned to base
Cause: Fighters

The month of April cost more plane losses and casualties of the entire war so far as the 44th Bomb Group was concerned! More so than the August 1943 disasters of Ploesti and a later mission to Foggia, Italy. The 8th of April was the worst single day. For the first time in the war, the 44th BG was led by 389th BG aircraft equipped with PFF (Pathfinder equipment). With them as Command Pilots were Col. Gibson, Group C.O., and Captain Robert Lehnhausen, 68th Squadron C.O. They flew with 389th Bomb Group personnel and airplanes. It was not a successful endeavor.
The primary target, Brunswick, as well as the secondary were obscured by a successful smoke screen, so a target of opportunity, Langenhagen Airdrome, was bombed instead. Enemy aircraft attacks were numerous and severe, with our
gunners claiming 12 destroyed, 6 probables and I damaged. But the 44th Bomb Group’s formation was subjected to concentrated attacks and lost a total of eleven aircraft! This, compared to the nineteen other B-24s lost by all other Groups. This was the worst loss of the war for one mission by the “Flying Eightballs"

Finally, one other 506th Squadron aircraft returned to base with a co-pilot killed in action. Although there is no official information in either the 506th Squadron or the 44th BG, the pilot of that plane, lst Lt. John M. McCaslin, Jr. sent his recollections of this tragedy.

Lt. McCaslin stated that, “My crew had not been together very long. We were, including myself, former members of other crews. I think some of the gunners came from Bill Duffy’s crew (as I did), but I’m not sure of it. Possibly, they included Richard Hershey, John Stewart and William
Drumel.
“Stockton had flown quite a number of missions with another pilot. Shortly before he was killed, I had checked him out in the left seat and he was in line to get a crew of his own. Stockton entered the Army Air Corps after completion of his freshman year at Princeton University.
Note: Stockton Bartol had flown quite a number of missions with another pilot. In fact, he had flown 30 missions
in all with three pilots, from 9 September 1943.
“The plane that we were flying was GALAVANTIN’ GAL, with a bottle of ‘Old Crow’ painted on the other side of the nose. This old plane had flown the low level Ploesti mission.
“My impression now is that on the mission of 8 April 44, the 506th was leading the 44th, and the 44th was leading the 2nd Air Division. Stockton and I were flying on Col. John Gibson’s left wing, and the deputy commander, Lt. Col. Robert Lehnhausen, was on Col. Gibson’s right wing.
“Shortly before reaching the target area, we were raked pretty severely with head-on attacks by Me 109s. We took a hit in the leading edge of the left wing between number one and number two engines which, unaccountably, seemed to do no serious damage. “Hannover, I believe, was our secondary target. I think this was the reason for the unusually long
bomb run (straight and level for about four minutes); and hence the god-awful flak. I don’t recall how many planes we lost, but I do know it was one of our very bad days.
“Because we were on the Colonel’s left wing, I had to fly cross-cockpit when in formation. Stockton, in the right side seat, could more easily keep us in tight, and hence flew during the bomb run. He was at the controls when he was hit. “This happened almost exactly on ‘bombs away’. Some flak came through the windshield and hit him in the head. Despite my proximity to him, I wasn’t even scratched, nor was anybody else on the crew. Our plane, though considerably riddled, did not suffer any extensive functional damage, and I had no undue difficulty in flying it back to England.

GALLAVANTIN’ GAL Crew
1st/Lt. John M. McCaslin Jr. Pilot
1st/Lt. Stockton R. Bartol Co Pilot KIA
1st/Lt. Allen N. Williams Jr. Navigator
1st/Lt. Robert E. Gutknecht Bombardier
T/Sgt. Maurice G. Hall Engineer
S/Sgt. Melvin P. Peterson Radio Op.
S/Sgt. Perl R. Rush Gunner
S/Sgt. Coley W. Richardson Gunner
S/Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez Gunner


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  • Maintained by: John Dowdy
  • Originally Created by: Joan Shoffner
  • Added: 16 Mar 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 86862187
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John M. McCaslin, Jr (29 Apr 1920–5 Aug 1991), Find A Grave Memorial no. 86862187, citing Graceland Cemetery, Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .