Begin the Beguine -
Serial #42-31372 OR P
Back Row - Left to Right:
Sgt. Ernesto Kretchmer, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner; Sgt. Benton Lowery, Radio Operator; Sgt. Arnold Hovey, Right Waist Gunner; John Gustafson, Ball Turret Gunner; S/Sgt Terrell, Left Waist Gunner.
Front Row - Left to Right:
1st Lt. E. R. (Rusty) Reid, Pilot; 1st Lt. Richard (Dick) G. Morgan, Co-Pilot; 1st Lt. John (Jack) B. Haus, Navigator; 1st Lt. George (Shorty) Marghita, Bombardier.
**Note 1: S/Sgt Terrell, Left Waist Gunner who came down with appendicitis the first time they left Grand Island, Nebraska. They diverted to Des Moines, Iowa where Sgt. Terrell went to the hospital for the operation. They returned to Grand Island, and Melvin P Stoddard replaced Sgt. Terrell.
**Note 2: This picture was made at Dyersburg, Tenn. The B-17 pictured was not A/C 42-31372
**Note 3: After this picture was taken, S/Sgt. Anthony W. Czamecki was added to the crew in the Tail Gunner position.
**Note 4: The name of B-17 42-31372 was never officially recorded as "Harass Dragon" / "Malayan Lady." I didn't take part in the discussion about the name.
Dragon Factoid - Edwin R. Reid was the pilot of the
crew of Harass Dragon/Malayan Lady. There is a question as to which name
the crew used for this B-17 42-31372, OR-P, 323rd Bomb Squadron. This B-17
was assigned to Reid's crew and had a very short combat career being lost on its
fifth mission. It was lost on the Oschersleben mission of January 11, 1944,
to bomb the Focke Wulf 190 plant at that location. Harass Dragon was one
of five B-17s lost that day by the 91st Bomb Group. The 91st was a part of
the 1st Division of the mighty Eight Air Force and was the lead Group that day.
The entire 1st division was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for this
mission. The following quote is taken from that citation. "The
1st Bombardment Division (H), is cited for extraordinary heroism, determination,
and esprit de corps in action against the enemy on 11 January 1944."
On this raid, the Luftwaffe
mounted the most intense attacks on the Eighth Air Force since the costly
Schweinfut mission. The attacks started as the bomber stream crossed the
Dutch/German border. Most of these attacks were frontal attacks with four
to ten FW 190s and ME 109s abreast flying right through our formations.
Edwin Reid and his crew were crewing the first B-17 to be lost. As the
Group approached the target, Harass Dragon's #3 engine was knocked out and would
not feather so Edwin Read was forced to drop behind the formation. The Luftwaffe
then attacked this single bomber. In the attacks, the main oxygen system
caught fire and a hole was blown in the left side of the fuselage. The
right stabilizer was shot off. The bail out order was given just as the
B-17 went into a hard right spin. Only three of the ten man crew survived
and became POWs.
Following is a list of the crew
members: (Killed: buried in the Evangelical Church Cemetery at Bad
Munder/Deister. Re-interred in Ardennes; initial plot numbers listed.)