Stanley William Vitkavage

Military

Object Number - UPL 33775 - Stanley William Vitkavage

My father, Stanley William Vitkavage, was assigned to the 701st Bombing Squadron of the 445th Bomb Group flying out of Tibenham, England. He was flying a B-24J Liberator (tail number 42-51506) when the aircraft was lost on 27 Feb 1945. There is a MACR #12778. http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbmpilot.asp?Pilot=vitkavage&Sub…
We have various first-hand reports of the events of the day of his last mission. One such report states that Lt. Koupal was the navigator on the last flight my father piloted before being shot down and captured by the Germans. They departed from England on a bombing mission to Halle, Germany, that day. The bomber was last sighted at 2:45 p.m., South of Koblenz, Germany. At this time, the plane was observed to be having difficulty and was lagging behind the formation, however it appeared to be under control. My father's oral history given to me after the War includes his recollection of the plane having been struck by enemy fire. Upon ejection from the plane, my father was reported missing in action over Germany in both a telegram and a letter sent to his sister, NOK, Antoinette Hicks, by J. A. Ulio, Major General, The Adjutant General, from the War Department in Washington, D.C. on 23 March 1945. In fact, my father recalled to me that one member of his crew was killed instantly upon ejection and another who - during the time of their capture - they had not known his whereabouts, was later discovered to have been shot and killed by a German soldier. Upon landing on the ground in the Black Forest, my Dad told me he and the other crew members who survived were taken captive by the Germans. The official documents and records we have concur with his description of conditions as a POW. He also recounted that on the night before their return to US military control, he and the other POW's were taunted by the German soldiers who had been telling them they would be killed in the morning. In fact, when they awoke the morning of 29 April 1945, they discovered the camp (Stalag 7A, Moosburg) had been abandoned by the Germans, who he presumed fled so as not to face charges or trial for War crimes.
Prisoner of War (POW) crashed on 27 Feb 45 in B-24 #42-51506 at Betzenhausen.

Connections

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Units served with

A pathfinder B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-51681) of the 453rd Bomb Group flies in formation with a fellow Liberator of the 453rd and and a pathfinder Liberator of the 445th Bomb Group. Image via Alan Rowsell.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 445th Bomb Group 701st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 39911604
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Nose Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 445th Bomb Group 701st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 33728946
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 445th Bomb Group 701st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 35331002
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 445th Bomb Group 701st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-2072788
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator / Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 445th Bomb Group 701st Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 36758482
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Unit: 445th Bomb Group 701st Bomb Squadron

Missions

Places

Signal Squares on the airfield at Tibenham, B-24 Liberators of the 398th Bomb Group are visible in the background. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Tibenham Signal Squares.'
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Tivetshall

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Carbondale, PA 1922-08-03
Kings County, New York

Enlisted

1942-10-12 as a Private in the Air Corps, in New York City, New York

Other

captured

1945-02-27 in the immediate vicinity of Freiburg, Germany, after he baled out of B-24 42-51506

Other

Prisoner of War (POW)

1945-02-27 - 1945-04-29 PW#10996. Interned in Germany; ended up in Stalag 7A in Moosburg, Germany. That camp was liberated by Gen. Patton’s troops on 29 April 1945.

Died

1993-12-03 Queens, New York

Buried

1993-12-05 Stanley Vitkavage rests at the Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, Suffolk County, New York

Revisions

Date28 Mar 2019 15:08:26
ContributorED-BB
Sources

MACR 12778
NARA WWII Enlistment records
VETERANS’ BIRLS files
> Corrected a few typos and the Navigator's name in Biography : Koupal instead of Kopel.

Date28 May 2018 17:22:21
Sources

Original Military Record and Report of Separation, Certificate of Service

We believe he also received other awards/medals, but are currently searching for this information.

Date28 May 2018 17:12:41
Sources

Various original documents, telegraphs, letters from War Department and official military records and reports given to us by my father and his family members after the War.

Date28 May 2018 17:06:00
Sources

Various original documents, telegraphs, letters from War Department and official military records and reports given to us by my father and his family members after the War.

Date28 May 2018 17:03:19
Sources

Various original telegraphs, letters from War Department and original military records and reports given to us by my father and his family members after the War.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:25:22
ContributorAAM
Sources

Birsic / MACR 12778 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 12778 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Stanley William Vitkavage: Gallery (7 items)