Recorded memoir of Hervey Stetson (MC 371/882/35)
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Recorded memoir of Hervey Stetson


MC 371/882/35

1 audio cassette (Sony HF90)

10 Feb 1986

392nd Bomb Group

Hervey Stetson

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[00:00-05:00] Remarks on joining Army Air Force, June 1942, and call to active duty, January 1943. Describes classification as bombardier and training: Ellington Field, Houston, Texas; advanced and navigation, Texas; graduating as 2nd Lieutenant, 15 July 1943 and B-24 phase training, Casper, Wyoming. Describes journey to United Kingdom, flying the southern route [usually via Trinidad; Brazil, South America; Dakar, Marrakech and Morocco, Africa, arriving in Scotland or Wales]. Remarks on radio training in Northern Ireland and base at Wendling, Norfolk. Comments on seeing little of the local people, visiting Norwich and London, and the relationship between the British public and Americans. [05:00-10:00] Relationship continued. Anecdote about visit to London and buying a battle jacket, Piccadilly. Remarks on brevity of service before becoming prisoner of war [hereafter POW] in Stalag Luft 3. Comments on crew assignment, 576th Squadron and names crew: Donald Prell (pilot); Daniel Weiss (co-pilot); DeMur Edwards, Wilbo Simila; John Dreher; Harvey Byler and Brian Pearson. Comments on assignment to operations and flying as bombardier with lead crew. Mentions Ray Mitchell, POW, and unsuccessful mission to Friedrichshafen [Germany]. [10:00-15:00] Comments on memorable missions: twenty-first, Brunswick, Germany, shot down; thirteenth, daylight mission to Berlin, 29 April 1944; first mission and fifth mission, awarded Purple Heart. Comments on not flying specific aircraft; not remembering notable crews in 392nd Bomb Group and there being few extraordinary happenings on missions, apart from a German fighter attack. Describes release as POW, 29 April 1945, return to United States, 6 June 1945, returning to civilian life and entering Air Force reserves. Describes mission, 19 May 1944: all crew killed except nose-gunner Albert. T. Riley (from another crew) and himself. [15:00-20:00] Mentions crew member Donald Bachus/Backus (engineer). Comments on how rest of the crew were killed and his capture by German troops. Remarks on his marriages and post-war work as a professional fundraiser. Recorded on side A only. For tape insert, see MC 376/431/4.