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Bernard J Komasinski

Civilian

Bernard Komasinski was on his 6th mission, piloting B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He and seven other crew members managed to evade with the help of French patriots. Komasinski, his Co-Pilot Winfield Gippert and Top Turret Gunner Nelson Brott were taken in charge by Eugène Pommier of Montmirail, chief of the local underground and his wife Marcelle. As the Gestapo was on Pommier’s track, the men were handed over to underground fighters of the FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur.) The three men and other Allied airmen were hidden in woods in the Epernay area with Maquis fighters. When they heard that US troops had liberated the nearby village of Montfort, they drove there on 27 August 1944 and met the liberators. Sent back to US 3rd Army HQ via Reims, Komasinski, Gippert, Brott and their fellow crew members Navigator Edgar Michaels, Bombardier Charles Lain and Tail Gunner Stanley Hulewicz left Laval, France, by air in a C-47, landing in Grove, England on 31 August 1944. Escape & Evasion Report E&E 1296.

Service

People

  • Walter Bohenko

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner/Armorer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Walter Bohenko was a graduate of McKeesport High School, Class of 1940 and worked as an electrical apprentice before enlisting in the Air Corps in August 1942. Sent overseas after training as an aerial gunner, he was ssigned to the 44th Bomb Group...

  • Nelson Brott

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    On his 6th mission, Nelson Brott was Top Turret Gunner on B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He and seven other crew members...

  • Winfield Gippert

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    On his 6th mission, Winfield Gippert was Co-Pilot of B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He and seven other crew members...

  • Stanley Hulewicz

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    A machinist when he enlisted in the Air Corps in August 1943, Stanley Hulewicz was sent overseas in 1944 and was assigned to the 44th Bomb Group/506th Bomb Squadron in Shipdham, England. On his 4th mission, he was Tail Gunner on B-24 # 42-100415 when...

  • Charles Lain

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    On his 6th mission, Charles Lain was Bombardier of B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. Cut over his left eye by his parachute...

  • John McKee

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator/Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Born and raised in Illinois, John McKee moved to Michigan City in 1941 and worked in the refrigeration service industry. He enlisted in the Air Corps in July 1942. After training, he was sent overseas and assigned to the 44th Bomb Group/506th Bomb...

  • Edgar Michaels

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Edgar Michaels enlisted in the Air Corps in September 1942. He trained as an aerial navigator on B-24s at Ellington Field, Texas, in San Marcos, Texas, Harlingen, Texas and Pueblo, Colorado. Sent overseas,...

  • Coley Richardson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Coley Richardson wasn’t a regular member of the Bernard Komasinski crew. As the usual Ball Turret Gunner of the crew, Sgt Frank LaFazia, had been assigned guard duty that day, 8 August 1944, Richardson volunteered to take his position on board B-24 #...

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    S/Sgt Frank N. Schaeffer was Engineer/Top Turret Gunner on B-24 "My Peach", Serial 42-100415. On a mission to bomb the La Perthe airfield in France on 8 August 1944, he bailed out of the burning plane and landed near Orbais-L'Abbaye (Marne Department),...

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Units served with

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 506th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-100415 My Peach

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 "My Peach" Serial 42-100415 encountered little to no Flak up to the point of the target area [Primary target for the Squadron: the airfield at La Perthe, NE of the other target for the Group, the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine.] ...

Missions

  • 530

    8 August 1944

Associated Place

  • Shipdham

    Military site : airfield
    Shipdham was built in 1941-1942, the first US heavy bomber airfield in the English county of Norfolk. It was a standard design, with T2-type hangars and a domestic site dispersed to the south east. Improvements were carried out to increase the number...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Michigan City, Indiana, United States 23 May 1920

the son of Louis and Lottie Komasinski

Enlisted La Fayette, Indiana, United States 17 August 1942

as a Private in the Air Corps

Evaded Marne, France 8 August 1944 – 27 August 1944

Landed 1 mile North of Vauchamps (Marne), France. Helped by French patriots and underground fighters of the FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), he was liberated on 27 August 1944 by advancing US troops. He was back in England on 31 August. Escape & Evasion Report E&E 1296.

Died Michigan City, Indiana, United States 7 August 2001
Lived in Michigan City, Indiana, United States
Buried Saint Stanislaus Cemetery, Michigan City, Indiana, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2015 12:38:50 ED-BB Changes to events
Sources

Added Escape report number

Date Contributor Update
13 October 2015 12:04:17 ED-BB Changes to nickname, biography, events and person associations
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment Records
US 1940 Census
Escape & Evasion Reports

Date Contributor Update
14 September 2015 14:24:38 ED-BB Changes to firstname, service number, biography, events, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Error in name : he is Bernard J. Komasinski
MACR 8080
E&E 1296

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:08:28 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 8080 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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