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Part of the "Lady Stardust II" crew. From left to right: F/O Harold Eastman Jr (Co-Pilot); SSgt Merl D. Orcutt (Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner); SSgt Sam N. Fain (Ball Turret Gunner); 2nd Lt Milan Marecek (Pilot); 2nd Lt Cornelius A. Kohlman (Bombardier). This photo was taken on 11 May 1944. The next day SSgt Orcutt was KIA over Brux, Czechosolvakia.



  • 452nd Bomb Group

    452nd Bomb Group

    The 452nd Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deopham Green, Norfolk, from January 1944. The air crews hit strategic sites in Germany but also supported the movement of ground forces across Europe after D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group...

  • 728th Bomb Squadron


  • Harold Eastman

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot
    Harold Eastman served as a pilot with the 452nd Bomb Group. ...

  • Sam Fain

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42-31345 'Lady Stardust II'. Plane ditched in Channel. Returned to base.

  • Cornelius Kohlman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier

  • Milan Marecek

    Military | Captain | Pilot
    30 missions ETO DFC/ w/ Oak Leaf Cluster/ Air Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster/ ETO Ribbon w/ 3 Battle Stars/ WW II Victory Medal

  • Merl Orcutt

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
    On his ninth mission on 12 May 1944, he was killed in action over Brux, Czechoslovakia when his aircraft, B-17 42-31345 'Lady Stardust II', was attacked by fighters before the formation turned onto the bomb run.


  • 42-31345 Lady Stardust II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/10/43; Walla Walla 6/11/43; Assigned 100 Thorpe Abbotts 7/1/44; transferred 728BS/452BG Deopham Green 8/1/44 KICKAPOO JOY JUICE; Missing in Action Brux 12/5/44 with Milan Mareck, Co-pilot: Harold Eastman Jr, Navigator: Larry Defeo...


  • 353

    12 May 1944


  • Deopham Green

    Military site : airfield
    Deopham Green was another air base constructed after America's entry into the war to Class A standards for use by the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber. When the 452nd Bomb Group arrived in January 1943 they found a main runway of 2,000 yards, two...


Date Contributor Update
01 May 2016 09:42:08 Merle D. Eastman Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations

MSgt Merle D. Eastman, USAF, (Ret'd) eldest son of Harold Eastman Jr

Date Contributor Update
01 May 2016 09:28:27 Merle D. Eastman Created entry with collection, caption, unit associations, person associations and place associations

MSgt Merle D. Eastman, USAF (Ret'd) eldest son of Harold Eastman Jr