Vladyka - #36R
Photo courtesy of Vahl Vladyka
Standing L-R: Hanel, Clifford C. (Arm/BG); Johnston, George R. (NG); Benso, Ralph J. (AsstE/TT); Rota, Ernest A. (E/WG); Oakley, Donald, S. (RO/WG); Noll, Walter E. (TG)
Kneeling L-R: Curland, Robert (N); Vladyka, Vahl (P); Mc Donald, John R. (CP)
We arrived at the 765th Squadron on 19 December 1944, where we were ushered to a tent with bunks almost still warm from those who previously occupied them - they had been lost at Odertal two days earlier. (I never heard that mission referred to around the squadron area as anything but "Blechhammer".)
I flew 19 missions plus the first voluntary food drop on VE Day, and my crew members about the same, with variations caused by individuals flying with other crews (e.g. our radio operator was with Major Baker the day they were shot down and landed in Hungary) and by an illness or two. We luckily were selected to fly #27 (YOU BET) back to the States after VE Day, but I don't recall whether we ever flew it on a mission. As I understand it, this was the second #27.
Anyway, here is our crew photo, taken in the late winter of 1945, as evidenced by snow on the ground.
Vahl sent in the following photo taken by Stan Staples of Vahl's aircraft during a mission.
Vahl Vladyka, the primitive tented officers area and toilet facilities including a wind sock and sign that told users to "plan your approach".
Photo of Vahl to be given to Partisans to make papers.
Donald "Annie" Oakley, Ralph "Moose" Benso and Ernest "Ernie" Rota next to #27.