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Frederick W Castle


Commanding Officer of 94th Bomb Group at Bury St. Edmunds from 19-Jun-43 to 16-Apr-44. Overseas with General Eaker's staff to organize 8th AF, February 1942.

A comprehensive Biography may be viewed on Wikipedia Excerpt below:
'On December 24, 1944, Castle flew as co-pilot on the lead aircraft of the 487th Bomb Group, RAF Lavenham, England, on his 30th combat mission. The mission fell fifteen minutes behind schedule because of problems assembling the massive force, and the 487th missed its rendezvous with escorting P-51 fighters because the fighters were late in arriving due to the weather. The lead bomber also experienced an intermittent problem with one of its four engines and was attacked by German ME-109 fighters while still over Allied-held territory in Belgium.

Castle's bomber fell away from the formation almost immediately and he instructed the deputy commander by radio to take over the lead. The B-17 struggled with control and moved some distance away from the protection of the bomber force, where it was again attacked. The pilots attempted to return to the bomber column but a third attack set both engines on the right wing on fire. Castle ordered the bomber abandoned but it spun into a dive. The pilots recovered from the dive and seven of the nine crewmen parachuted. The pilot was observed in the nose of the airplane hooking on his parachute, with Castle still at the controls, when the fuel tank in the burning right wing exploded, putting the B-17 into a spin from which it did not recover, crashing near Hods, Belgium. Of the nine crewmen, five survived the crash.

Frederick W. Castle was interred at the American Cemetery and Memorial at Henri-Chapelle, province of Liège, Belgium.

Growing up as a resident of Mountain Lakes, NJ, I didn't take proper note of Gen. Castle's heroism. The General was from Mountain Lakes and his name is on the plaque in Memorial Park, honoring residents of the borough that paid the ultimate price.'

Was Killed in Action in B-17G 44-8444 'Treble Four' while serving as Mission leader on a mission to bomb the airfield at Darmstadt, Germany. This was his 30th mission. The aircraft was attacked by German fighters over Belgium and crashed near Xhos, Belgium. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on this aircraft. The CMOH citation may be viewed at:

Article on Frederick Castle by Landis McGauhey, former Operations Officer of the Castle Air Museum posted here:

MOH/ DSC/ LOM/ SS/ DFC w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster/ AM w/ 4 Oak Leaf Cluster/ PH/ Belgian Croix De Guerre w/ Palm/ French Legion Of Honor/ Soviet Order Of Kutuzov 2nd & 3rd Degree/Polish Silver Cross Virtuti Militari Class V


Units served with

  • 4th Combat Bomb Wing
  • 487th Bomb Group

    487th Bomb Group

    The 487th Bomb Group began operations as preparations for D-Day were reaching their crescendo and played their part by bombing airfields in northern France. Like the 486th Bomb Group, the 487th switched to B-17 Flying Fortress for missions from 1...

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Activated 15-Jun-1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organisation and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29-Jun-1942; Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28-Aug-42 to 31-Oct-42 than at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas from...

  • 836th Bomb Squadron


  • 44-8444 Treble Four

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 14-Sep-44; Hunter 29-Sep-44; Dow Field, Bangor, Maine 16-Oct-44; Assigned 836BS/487BG [2G-N] Lavenham 20-Nov-44; battle damaged Darmstadt 24-Dec-44 with Bob Harriman, Brig Gen Fred Castle, Larry Swain, Lt Claude Rowe tg (4 Killed in...


Associated Place

  • Bury St Edmunds

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was purpose-built for American bomb groups and as such had a 2,000 yard main runway that lain in concrete with a tarred and wood-chipped surface. The scale of bases such as this meant that very often the technical, administrative and...

  • Lavenham

    Military site : airfield
    Lavenham was built as a standard USAAF bomber airfield, with fifty hardstandings, T2 hangars and 2,000 and 1,400 feet runways. John Laing and Son Ltd. carried out the work in 1943, and the airfield opened in April 1944. The 487th Bomb Group occupied...


Event Location Date
Born Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines 14 October 1908

Son of 2Lt Benjamin F. Castle. First child born to a graduate of the West Point Class of 1907. Among his godfathers in the Class of 1907, also stationed in the Philippines, was 2nd Lt. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, who would go on to become General of the Army, as well as the first and only General of the Air Force to date.

West Point Class of 1930 United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, USA 1 July 1926 – 12 June 1930

Graduated 7th in a class of 241 graduates. Commissioned as 2Lt US Army Corps of Engineers.

Earned Pilot Wings March Air Reserve Base, CA, USA 22 December 1931

Accepted for pilot training at March Field, California and awarded pilot's wings on 22-Dec-1931.

Pilot Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Harrison charter Township, MI 48045, USA January 1932 – 1933

Served as a pilot in the 17th Pursuit Squadron at Selfridge Field, Michigan

Civilian Conservation Corps 1933 – 17 February 1934

Assigned to a staff assignment with the Civilian Conservation Corps but resigned from the Army on 17-Feb-1934 to take a job with Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation

Allied Chemical & Dye Corp Morristown, NJ, USA February 1934 – September 1938

Employed at Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation at Morristown, New Jersey.

Assistant to Company President Brooklyn, NY, USA September 1938 – 18 January 1942

Served as Assistant to the President of the Sperry Gyroscope Company, Brooklyn, New York. Sperry was a military-related industry, and its work in developing both electrically powered gun turrets for bombers and the Norden bombsight brought him to the attention of his godfather, General Arnold, by then the Chief of the United States Army Air Corps.

Recalled to Active Duty High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK 19 January 1942 – 1 January 1943

Recalled to Active Duty as a Captain by Brigadier General Ira Eaker and ordered to England as part of the Gen Eaker's staff to begin organising bases and supply depots to be used by the 8th Air Force. Promoted to Major after one month in the assignment.

Air Chief of Supply (A-4) High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK 1 February 1943

Promoted to full Colonel and was assigned as the Air Chief of Supply for the 8th Air Force.

Commanding Officer 94th Bomb Group Bury Saint Edmunds, Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk IP33, UK 19 June 1943 – 16 April 1944

In two of the new groups losses had been so severe at the outset that Eaker replaced their commanders with two members of his staff, one of whom was Colonel Castle. On June 19, 1943, Castle was given command of the 94th Bomb Group at Rougham (Bury St. Edmunds), and while the morale crisis in the 94th was not as severe, the situation was very similar to one earlier that year in which Colonel Frank A. Armstrong had taken command of the 306th Bomb Group (a situation which was the basis for the book, film, television series and comic book Twelve O'Clock High).

Awarded the Silver Star Oschersleben, Germany 28 July 1943

He led the 94th Bomb Group in an attack on the Focke Wulf aircraft factory at Oschersleben, Germany. Poor weather conditions broke up the bomber formation, leaving the 94th Group and a few stragglers from other groups to attack the target alone. The incident was fictionalized in Twelve O'Clock High, and Castle was awarded the Silver Star.

Commanding Officer 4th Combat Wing 14 April 1944 – 24 December 1944

Became Commanding Officer of 4th Combat Wing which included 94th Bomb Group; 447th Bomb Group, 486th Bomb Group and 487th Bomb Group. Promoted to Brigadier General 20-Nov-44. On 24 December 1944 4th CBW was selected to lead the 3rd Air Division, which in turn was to lead the entire 8th Air Force in a massive despatch of 2,046 heavy bombers to airfields, marshalling yards and industrial areas of 33 German cities. He assigned himself to fly with the 487th Bomb Group on this mission

Killed in Action (KIA) 4163 Xhos, Belgium 24 December 1944

Killed in B-17G 44-8444 'Treble Four' when the aircraft was shot down by enemy aircraft.

Buried 1945

Buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Plot D, Row 13, Grave 53.


Date Contributor Update
05 January 2016 12:55:51 Lucy May Changes to biography

Added link to Landis McGauhey's article after correspondence with the author:

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 16:05:05 Lucy May Changes to biography, unit associations and media associations

Combined with another duplicate entry for Frederick W Castle.
Sources: Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Freeman, MOH Citation, Who's Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45
MACR 16126 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 09:50:34 Emily Changes to biography and media associations

Associated Media from Freeman Collection and copied wikipedia excerpt added to images by Marpar from Image caption

Date Contributor Update
20 February 2015 20:41:22 Lee8thbuff Changes to events

Lee Cunningham 20-Feb-2015. Edited dates on Sperry Event.

Date Contributor Update
20 February 2015 20:39:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to events

Lee Cunningham 20-Feb-2015. Edited dates on Pilot event.

Date Contributor Update
20 February 2015 20:35:53 Lee8thbuff Changes to service number, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 20-Feb-2015. Added SN per MACR 11552. Crafted Biography timeline per Wikipedia:; Other sources used: "The Mighty Eighth War Diary" Roager A. Freeman and "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey.

Date Contributor Update
02 November 2014 21:13:07 jmchristel Changes to events

Date Contributor Update
02 November 2014 21:10:58 jmchristel Changes to awards and events

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:10:29 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 11552 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / roster