Captain Dean Strain Crew
Standing, from left to right, Captain Dean Strain (Pilot), 1st Lt. Joe Blair (Co-Pilot), 1st Lt. Mike Delaney (Navigator) and 1st Lt. Franklin Roberts (Bombadier). The names of the other airmen on the plane that went down are John E. Turner (Engineer), William E. Neigh (Radio Operator), Arnold Jackson (Tail Gunner), John A. Hudson (Right Waist Gunner), and Theron S.Wimett (Left Waist Gunner). I am guessing those are the names of the guys kneeling, but I have know way of being sure.
Also on the plane were Captain Justus M. Schwenson, Command Pilot, 2nd Lt. David A. LePitre (Pilotage Navigator) and 1st Lt. Joseph E. Willoughby (Mickey Navigator).
The plane (-V 481) was leading the 14th Combat Wing on January 17th when it was knocked out by Flak during a mission over Hamburg/Harburg Germany. All of the crew members were killed. Some additional information and a picture of the officers can be found on page 158 of the "Ringmasters"
(Photo - Mike Delaney/Kevin Godar)
An pathfinder B-24 Liberator of the 853rd Bomb Squadron, 491st Bomb Group goes down after a direct flak hit during a raid on Harburg, 17 January 1945. Handwritten caption on reverse: '853rd BS, 491st BG, 17 Jan 1945. Harburg Refinery - Germany. Lead ship going down, pilot [illegible] strain.'
Second handwritten on reverse: '17-1-45, 334.' "On 17 January (1945) a single shell dealt the 491st another severe blow. B-24 #42-51481, the Wing Lead aircraft for the mission, took a flak burst between the #3 and #4 engines. The wing broke off immediately and the bomber spun down carrying seven officers and five enlisted men to their deaths. The pilot, Capt. Dean B. Strain, was one of the last original Group pilots still flying missions. Cameras being readied for the strike photos followed the spinning aircraft down to the hard ground of Harburg."
Dean in High School Koshare Boy Scout trooop Photo
Killed in Action (KIA) at Meckelfeld (Harburg, Luneburg, Niedersachsen, Lower Saxony Germany) in B-24 #4251481. Buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas, USA. A collection of pictures from local artists was dedicated to the La Junta Koshare Museum in memory of Captain Strain.
Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 392nd Bomb Group
Served as a co-pilot to Thomas M. Sisson during the war. Walt kept a diary during his time as a pilot and published it as My Combat Diary: 26 Jan - 6 Jun 1945 by Walt Cranson (Compiled and produced by Mike Hyde and Doreen Hibbert 2000).
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 392nd Bomb Group
Entered service at Denver, CO 19 February 1943. Joined 392nd BG 1 March 1945. Rank at end of WW II was 1st Lt. Rank at retirement from service was Lt. Col.
Units served with
The 491st Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators in bombing missions over northern France and Germany from June 1944 until April 1945. Missions over Germany included bombing the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen. The Group was awarded a DUC...
||La Junta, Colorado, USA
||20 May 1920
|Killed in Action (KIA)
||17 January 1945
||17 January 1945