The 492nd Bomb Group were assigned to the 8th Air Force in April 1944. They flew 60 missions over occupied Europe from 11 May 1944 until 7 August 1944. ...
Nemesio Mena joined the Army Air Force in 1943. He enlisted at Fort Bliss, TX. He took his technical radio training at Scott Field, Il. In late 1943, he was assigned to Crew 103 of the 331st CCTS. (Combat Crew Training School). In early 1944, they were designated to the newly formed 492nd Bomb Group (H) and were designated Crew 713. They took more training in Alamogordo, NM.
The group flew to the ETO in April of 1944 via The Southern Route. The bomb group participated in their first mission on May 11, 1944. Crew 713 flew this first mission. The 492nd would go on to have the worst experiences of any bomb group in the ETO. They became the first and only heavy bomb group disbanded due to heavy losses. They were disbanded on August 7, 1944. Had only been in operations 89 days and had lost 55 liberator bombers, 270 airmen interned or Prisoner of War (POW)'s. and the worst of all-228 airmen Killed in Action (KIA).
Through all of this loss and carnage, Crew 713, (flying their 'Irishman's Shanty' S/N 44-40166) persevered and became the first crew from this ill-fated bomb group to successfully complete a 30 mission combat tour. They flew their final and 30th mission on July 31, 1944. 7 days later the 492nd was no more.
My father later served his country in both the Korean and Viet Nam wars as a member of the United States Air Force. We are justifiably proud of his accomplishments.
The first crew to complete 30 missions. Dave O'Sullivan was the pilot. The group was disbanded 6 days later. Gen. Gerald Johnson gave all the crew a DFC. RTD 29 May 1944 B-24J #44-40173 'Ernie's Beavers'.
AM w 3/Oak Leaf Cluster; DFC; American Campaign Medal; EAME Medal; WWII Victory Medal; Aerial Gunner's Badge.
Few 20 missions with the 492nd BG Flew 80+ missions with the 453rd BG Operation Home Run #35 (466th BG) May have been named "Ernie's Beavers" with the 492nd BG, however no photographic proof of this has yet been found.
|Born||El Paso Texas||31 October 1923|
|Died||27 December 2007|
|Buried||Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso, Texas|