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B-17 Flying Fortress

(GH) Delivered Denver 4/10/43; Grand Island 19/10/43; Romulus 26/10/43; Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-Z] Molesworth 18/11/43; Missing in Action Dessau 30/5/44 with Doug Van Weelden, Navigator: Bob Saumsiegle, Bombardier: Ron Vincent, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Phil Olander, Ball turret gunner: Urban Raterman (5 Prisoner of War); Co-pilot: Bill Sysel, Radio Operator: Ralph Ledogar, Waist gunner: Bill Forsythe,Tail gunner: John Barry (4 Killed in Action); flak KOd #2, dropped behind and crashed Rennau, six miles NW of Helmstedt, Ger; Missing Air Crew Report 5341. PISTOL PACKIN' MAMA.



  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 359th Bomb Squadron


  • John Barry

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 May 1944 in B-17 42-31213 'Pistol Packin' Mama'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • William Forsythe

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Ralph Ledgar

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Philip Olander

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 May 1944 in B-17 42-31213 "Pistol Packin' Mama", Prisoner of War.

  • Urban Raterman

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Harry Rothrock

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator/ Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Harry Rothrock was from New Albany, Indiana. He flew 33 missions with the 303rd Bomb Group; 359th Squadron. He flew every mission except 1 with 1st Lt. Billy M. Goolsby. After the war he returned home and opened an auto garage, he never married. He...

  • Robert Saumsiegle

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group

  • William Sysel

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Ronald Vincent

    Military | Flight Officer | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 May 1944 in B-17 42-31213 'Pistol Packin' Mama. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Douglas Weelden

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group


  • 8th Air Force 250

    6 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Berlin and Genshagen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A combined force of 730 heavy bombers are despatched from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. The despatch from 3rd Air Division bombs Targets of Opportunity in...

  • 380

    30 May 1944
    Mission #3. Same target as before. A piece of flak broke the pilots windshield. No-one hurt.


  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...


Event Location Date
Delivered Denver, CO 4 October 1943
Assigned Molesworth Airfield, UK 18 November 1943
Shot down by flak Rennau, Germany 30 May 1944


Date Contributor Update
10 July 2020 17:50:22 466thHistorian Changes to production block number, nicknames, markings, events and mission associations

B-17 Flying Fortress Story - Roger Freeman

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:37 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 5314 / MACR 5341 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database