Lt. Frank Burgmeier Laon/Athies Airfiled around December 16, 1944. Lt. Foster took this photograph of his good friend and tent buddy, "Burgmeier", just before Lt. Foster left Laon to head home. Lt. Burgmeier still needed one more mission. The two had shared a tent in perfect accord since arriving at Lessay in August. Although both attended Syracuse University immediately following their return to the States, both earning their degrees (Frank-Jounalism and Walt-Accounting) in three years, they never saw each other again. They reconnected through correspondence in 2008. Putting their war lives behind them was difficult as they tried to adjust to civilian, peacetime life. LT. Foster had a new bride and expectant mother to support, and Frank was tring to become reacquainted with his bride, Tedi.
Their existence had been a struggle for survival in Laon during a bitterly cold winter with meager supplies and scavenged wood for heaitng fuel. . Much of their time was spent cutting wood , preparing for scrubbed mostly missions or training other officers in a hectic schedule. The food at Laon was lousy---they cut up turnips and onions acquirred locally to give it flavor. The two shared the unique, dry and very funny 456th sense of humor,. They had a great deal of respect for each other, both having carried the burden of significant responsibility flying box leads after they had become experienced and proven their leadership. As leads, both were required to serve as "floaters" and flew with most of the lead pilots, who were highly skilled. Both flew several missions with with Helton and Stirling.
The Foster/Burgmeier tent was always set up next to the Guldemond tent and the Lt. Robert Smith's tent. At Laon, Frank and Walt had a tent mate named Sam, who apparently never said much, preferring to read quietly on his own. Their pets, Pat and Oscar were a source of love and warmth during a cold, wet winter.
The 323rd Bombardment Group operated with B-26 Marauders, American medium bombers. They were the first Eighth Air Force Group to fly a medium level bombing mission with this aircraft on 16 July 1943. After flying a total of 33 missions with the Eighth,...
Selected Bibliography of Publications:
Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator - B-26 Marauder
Lt. Burgmeier grew up in Upstate New York. He married his wife, Tedi, in July 1943, just days before he left for his tour of duty as a navigator for the 323rd Bombardment Group. He kept a diary, which has been invaluable to historians studying the...