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KRMitchell

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
I am seeking information on my wife's uncle, Otis Samuel McCullers.  He was a S/Sgt with the 773rd Bomber Squadron.  My wife remembers him speaking of being shot down.  We think he might have been a ball turret gunner.  She would like any information that might be available concerning his service.

Found some information stating that he was originally assigned to A/C #42-97536. Crew list: Maury Jannek - pilot; Bill Hoffman - copilot; Elmer BEtz - navigator; Howard McCord - bombardier; George Alletsee - crew chief; Al Gleitsman - waist gunner; Larry Fornia - waist gunner; Otis McCullers - ball turret gunner; Eddie LaHiff - tail gunner; and ? Bertrand - radio operator.

This aircraft was badly damaged on a Ploesti raid on April 24, 1944 and taken out of service to be repaired. Crew was then assigned to other aircraft.  Some of the crew were shot down on April 30, 1944 returning to Foggia from a raid on Varese.
Swindy

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Posts: 254
Reply with quote  #2 
I will gather as much info as I have for you regarding your wife's uncle, Samuel McCullars.  And yes, their plane did go down due to loss of power in all four engines and they ditched the plane in the Adriatic Sea in very heavy seas.  Five of the men were in one life raft and eventually sighted some British Spitfires on patrol.  They signaled the fighters and about two hours later were picked up by a British flying boat.  Your wife's uncle was among those rescued.  The other life raft only had 3 men in it and they were trying to reach the radio operator who was floating in the sea with his Mae West life jacket inflated but they could not reach him and he apparently drowned.  Those three men were eventually taken prisoner by the Germans and interned in a POW camp.

I have a copy of the Missing Air Crew Report which provides some information regarding your wife's uncle.  It appears that on this particular mission, he was flying as tail gunner with only a 9-man crew that day.  I can attempt to resurrect the other sorties he may have flown before his plane went down and any afterward, if he was returned to flight duty.  I'll check to see.

If you would like a copy of the transcribed Missing Air Crew Report, just let me know the format you prefer......Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) or MS Word and I'll email it to you.

P.S.  The aircraft he was on the day they went down was 42-31805, "Fargo Express", with John Donner as pilot.

__________________
Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
KRMitchell

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
Joel,
Thanks so much for taking the time to do the research on my wife's uncle, Otis McCullers.  If it would not be too much trouble, we would like a copy of the MACR.  Either format (.doc or .pdf) would be fine.

My wife remembers that he was in the hospital after the crash but does not know if he was able to return to duty.  Any information on his previous and post missions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for your help.

Regard,
Ken Mitchell
kenrmitchell@bellsouth.net

Swindy

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Posts: 254
Reply with quote  #4 
I'll see what I can come up with before I send the MACR.  That way I can send it all together if I find more information.

Joel

__________________
Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
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