Thursday, May 19, 2011

21 May 1944: Missing Air Crew Report and Composite Pilot Encounter Report

On 21 May 2011 we will post a comprehensive article written by Char Baldridge, entitled "Atrocity Site Visited by Family of Lt. Arlen R. Baldridge, a Pilot with the 359th Fighter Group."

That article pertains to the 359th Fighter Group's 21 May 1944 mission and was published in the March 1994 issue of
The Outer Circle, the newsletter of the 359th Fighter Group Association.

Below you will find transcriptions of two documents related to Char's article that were transcribed and archived by her from documents at HQ USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

The first report is the witness statment attachment to the Missing Air Crew Report #5113, made by one of the witnesses to the last sighting of the missing pilot. This MACR report was filed on 22 May 1944 by Lt. Olin P. Drake. The second report is the Composite Pilot Encounter Report to claim items destroyed and damaged by this flight of pilots.


R/T = radio telephony
Vis = visibility
Tgt = target
F/S = fighter squadron
Flt = flight
Flt ldr = flight leader
Gp = group
RR = railroad
Dam = damaged
Dest = destroyed
A/D = aerodrome
NYR = not yet returned
A/C = aircraft
RDS = rounds

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C O N F I D E N T I A L
C E R T I F I C A T E

22 May 1944

Lt. A. R. Baldridge had taken over lead of B1ue flight after we lost sight of flight leader.

After we had used all of our ammunition on various targets, he pulled up to approximately 2,500 feet and flew; straight and level.

We passed over an airdrome and they began firing. I called Lt. Baldridge and broke as the tracers and flak bursts were very close.

We all hit the deck but the intense tracer fire and flak continued.

I was not paying any attention to what the other two members of the flight were doing until I heard Lt. Baldridge say on the R/T "They got me."

I looked over and he was tailing glycole smoke and soon after he crash landed.

After making two dry runs on the plane and observing Lt. Baldridge running away from the crash, I fired on it and Lt. J. B. Hunter who was following behind me reported that it was on fire when he left.

I believe he went down about 3 miles northeast of Wismar and was uninjured.

OLIN P. DRAKE
2nd Lt., Air Corps

C O N F I D E N T I A L

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PAGE IS UNCLASSIFIED

C O N F I D E N T I A L

COMPOSITE REPORT

a. Combat
b. 21 May 1944
c. 368th F/S
d. 1245-1330
e. Wimar – Rostock Area
f. Tgt Area – 1-2/10 low stratus 5,000 ft vis on deck good
g.
h. 1 loco dest, 2 dam (shared), 1 radar tower, 1 power line, 1 flak installation, 1 grain storage bldg, 1 RR bldg dam and 1 telegraph line dam.
i. The Gp arrived at assigned area at 1235, 19,000 ft. We hit the deck 1245, S of Wismar. The flt became separated from flt ldr after first pass on Radar tower but continued on with No 3 man, Lt. A. R. Baldridge (NYR) leading. We stayed on deck in Wismar, Rostock area firing on various tgts, bldgs, trains, flak installations and power lines for 45 min. Lt. J.B. Hunter exhausted his supply of ammo and followed Lt. Baldridge (leading) and I, taking pictures of attacks. Lt. Baldridge flew across well defended A/D, firing, and I went across firing at He 111 and Gotha 242. We were all practically out of ammo and Lt. Baldridge pulled up and we (Lt. Drake and Hunter) followed. We passed over an A/D and hit the deck again when fired upon. It was very heavy flak of various types and Lt. Baldridge suffered a hit in the coolant and had to crash land. After he had cleared the crash, I set fire to his plane. Lt. Hunter and I then climbed up to altitude over water and returned home.

CLAIMS: I make the following claims for three pilots of Blue flight – Lt’s Drake, Baldridge, and Hunter.
1 Locomotive dest and two dam – shared
1 Radar tower dam, 1 power line dam, 1 flak installation and RR bldg dam, 4 freight cars dam – Lt. Hunter
1 He 111 dam and 1 Gotha 242 dam – Lt. Drake
RR Bldgs and installations dam, Radar tower and telegraph line dam – Lt. A.R. Baldridge (NYR)

j. Ser No of A/C: A/C Markings: Ammo Exp:
Lt. Olin P. Drake 6995 CV-Q 1150 rds
Lt. A.R. Baldridge (NYR) 6962 CV-Y
Lt. J.B. Hunter 6702 CV-X 680 rds

/s/ Olin P. Drake
OLIN P. DRAKE,
2nd Lt., Air Corps,

/s/ Glen E. Wiley
GLEN E. WILEY,
1ST Lt., Air Corps
Intelligence Officer

A TRUE COPY:

Signed
JESS N. GITTINGER,
Captain, Air Corps,
Asst A-2, 67 FW.
(D-3)

C O N F I D E N T I A L

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