Orian Thomas Wynn - Bombardier (MIL-Downed In Austria-1a)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ORIAN THOMAS WYNN START HERE SUMMARY Orian was my great-uncle whose B-17 Army Air Force aircraft was hit by Germans in World War 2 during critical targeting raids. They encountered a good number of German planes. He was listed missing in action (MIA) on April 2, 1944. He had entered Italy in January 1944. Conflicting sources have suggested the nose, cockpit or right wing was hit. His plane and squadron were targeting German ball bearing and aircraft production sites in Austria and Germany from Italy including Steyr and Regensburg. He was listed as having been missing in action in Italy and then in southern Austria, but upon closer inspection, Steyr is in the more northern tier of Austria. Later material suggests another location in Austria - Großraming - giving a more specific area within the general Steyr area. Left: Orian center, sister with hat right Right: Großraming More Information This section on Orian Wynn started out as an overall Memorial section; later, it was decided to create a Commemorative section for the entire crew, but also in mind the squadron formation flying with this downed plane, other planes downed that day and the hardships and large number of losses of the flying crews of the entire Army Air Force, with that in the European He and several others from his crew went missing in action early on the day their plane was attacked by Germans and went down, with their true whereabouts and status left hanging and uncertain. At one point early on, the military indicated he was downed and missing in Italy. Several of his fellow crew members did survive and became POWs in German camps. It looks like information in the family was varied. At some point, my grandmother, Thelma Lucille Carson, did hear he was not missing in Italy, but in the Steyr region of Austria. The first report was he was downed in Italy and news articles came out with that. Surprisingly, when I spoke with my mother in the past two weeks, she too was still under the impression he had been downed in Italy and gone missing there! She did not know the information had been updated at some point to Steyr! She had been a very little girl at the time and had not met Orian. Her memory input was that the loss of Orian had a devastating effect on both her her mother Thelma Orian’s younger sister by two years, and her grandmother, Anallene (my great-grandmother, who I did meet and was around a few times). My mother indicated that Anallene kept hoping and waiting for Orian to come home. Upon reading through the letters, we can understand why. Photo Right: Orian uncertain age; Orian in center, Thelma his sister on right, uncertain female on left, likely taken near bluffs in Farmington, New Mexico. A male’s shadow can be seen taking the photo of the three. Orian’s story deserves to be told, along with many other Army Air Forces persons who fought the Nazis or one of their collaborators and were killed or made MIA* by them. By reading first hand the primary sources of those actually involved, we can get into the overall history as novices or from a different angle. *caused to be put in a long-term or permanent missing in action (“MIA”) status Check these resources first Air Force Together We Served https //airforce togetherweserved com/usaf/servlet/tws webapp WebApp?cmd=ROHSBV&type=Person&ID=209490 “The Austrian Study” (as referred to here informally at PF) Bundesheer Members of the American and British Air Forces Killed in the Air War Over Present-day Austria (1939–1945) A Memorial Book https //www bundesheer at/download_archiv/pdfs/missing_in_action pdf Fields of Honor https //www fieldsofhonor-database com/index.php/en/american-war-cemetery-lorraine-w/82471-wynn-orian-t- lor-b-13-62 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost, the credit must be given to my great grandmother Anallene Vogel-Johnson-Wynn, grandmother Thelma Lucille Wynn-Carson, and mother Sherald Kay Carson-Butler for not only keeping the records in such good condition over many years, but just simply holding onto them. God bless them for that. I would also like to thank Budesheer for the online Commemorative Memorial and critical research on this subject as it relates to Orian’s time fighting Nazis over Austria, as well as his disappearance and likely death there. Much of this info came from the website Airforce Together We Werved; on Sept 15, 2022 I became a member and began adding our own family document information to Orian’s page there. The Death Location-Großraming, Austria was first brought to my attention at the website Fields of Honor database An individual or individuals from the 419th Bomb Group project were unquestioningly responsive and helpful, giving some good advice and offering critical insights. (https://449th.com/) Reenactment Group - Living History Army Nurse Corps WW2 dot com: in Poland and Czek https //wwwarmynursecorpsww2 com/en The above group has been very helpful in finding useful information on Nurse Corps Lt. Norma Campbell, later Capt. Sherman, and her unit where it served across Europe including France before and during Normandy D-Day and Austria. Peter Zuidema - voluntary helpful information, photos *See more at Annalene Wynn in Wynn3a MILITARY INFORMATION (SPECS) Unit, Number ID, Plane, MACR, MOS, DOB 15th Air Force (patch on top right of this page - obvious with “15”) 301st Bomber Group, Heavy (patch seen on top right of this page - second from left-only bird there) 419th Bomber Squadron-Service (patch top of page - shield) Plane: B17 or B-17G # 42-31639, not named, mentioned in Stuart/Stewart testimony; Flying Fortress Heavy=four engines assigned to the 419th Bomb Squadron. The 42-31639 is being found with and without the G. No G at American Air Museum dot com. Likewise, it is without a G as B-17 Flying Fortress 42-31639 on The Austrian Study (at Bundesheer on p. 234) MACR: 3707 Plane Data. One place it is listed as 3707 is on American Air Museum dot com. MOS: AAF MOS 1035-Bombardier Number assignment was O-677000, Air Corps or Air Forces DOB: Sept 20, 1916 The Death Location-Großraming, Austria was first brought to my attention at the website Fields of Honor database enlisted in the Army Air Forces as a private on April 14, 1942 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to his NARA enlistment form. (was found on Air Force Together We Served before I took over the page) Wynn enlisted in the Army Air Forces as a private on April 14, 1942 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to his NARA enlistment form. (Another source indicates he entered military service from Colorado; ABMC shows ) Personal Information Birth 20 Sept 1916; age 27 or 28 upon time of aircraft crash; likely was living and working with Ute youth in Ignacio, Colorado at time of joining military, but was associated more with Farmington, New Mexico where he was born and graduated from high school. He apparently had been a principal of a (likely tiny rural) school in Flora Vista., New Mexico before that. There are a few letters and telegrams in family possession from that time period. They include those from Orian to his mother and sister Louise; letters as comments from returning soldiers both from the aircraft and from his squadron; letters from his girlfriend Normal Campbell; from other family members, friends, and family of the downed, POW and MIA soldiers. Telegrams from the government over Orian to his mother. Schooling - Military Training Graduated 43-6 Big Springs Texas April 22, 1943 Also went to Washington and Kansas. See photo right. Circled photo is in his graduated class book see more in Wynn-3 Comments/Preserved Docs Letter showing approval for Bombardier School: August 25, 1942, from Headquartes, Gulf Coast Air Corps Training Center, Randolph Field, TX, Orian was currently an Aviation Cadet at the time of this letter, signed by H.R. Harmon, Major General, US Army, Commanding School locations Texas Big Springs, TX 1943 Flight D, Class 43-6 Ellington Field, TX seems to be October 1942 to January 1943, still working on it Kelly Field, TX - San Antonio, seems to be Aug-Sept 1942 Washington Walla Walla Army Air Base, Washington State 399th Bomb Squadron, Swah Prov. Group Stop-Overs or Temporary Hill Field, Utah Herrington, Kansas Death Location, Burial Site Orian T Wynn is buried at Plot B Row 13 Grave 62, Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location. https://www.abmc.gov/decedent-search/wynn%3Dorian https://www.abmc.gov/print/certificate/504292 Death Location-Großraming, Austria (from Fields of Honor database, Bundesheer.at)) Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart (from Fields of Honor database) *Großraming, Austria is about 40 minutes away from the city of Steyr in modern transportation/road terms. Death site also listed elsewhere as Steyr, Steyr Stadt, Upper Austria (Oberösterreich), Austria. Nazis had referred to an upper and lower Danube in other contexts. Platform After this his training in the US, he was assigned to a bomber unit located in Italy. According to at least one source, he flew at least 25 missions. The information below from Faces beyond the Graves corresponds with the letters from Orian to his family. He is known to have targeted Regensburg and Steyr via information in a letter from Morris Silberman whom he called “Mo” in his letters. One telegram from his mother to Orian shows Algiers in Africa. Faces beyond the graves - North Africa and Italy 301st Bomb Group [left is patch] Assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in November 1943, moved to Italy in December, and afterward directed most of its attacks against European Theatre of World War II strategic targets such as oil centers, communications, and industrial areas. Received another DUC for a mission to Germany on February 25, 1944 when, in spite of vicious encounters with enemy fighters, the group bombed aircraft production centers at Regensburg. http://www.facesbeyondthegraves.com/301st%20bomber%20group.html#:~:text=The%20301st%20Bombardm ent%20Group%20was%20a%20highly%20decorated,of%20the%208th%20AF%2C%20Bomber%20Command%2 C%20in%20England. [extracted from Internet on Sept 15, 2022, but site has been visited several times before that] Input on What Happened to Orian Wynn also see Testimonies On April 2, 1944, he flew as part of a crew assigned to bomb facilities located at Steyr, Austria. As the aircraft turned from the IP, it was attacked by several enemy fighters (from Air Force Together We Served before I took over page) Lt Wynn was killed and buried somewhere in Austria. After the war, he was recovered and moved to the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France where he lies in Plot B, Row 13, Grave 62. https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ROHSBV&type=Person&ID=209490 [found and extracted from Internet on Sept 7 2022] Crew The following is from: https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ROHSBV&type=Person&ID=209490 Missing Air Crew Report 3707 was issued, but is not available in 301st Bomb Group records. Another source, plus witness statements, was found. Mission loading lists show the crew as: 1 Lt Albert S. Zuidema p 2 Lt Walter E. Luft c-p 2 Lt Edward O. Bailey, Jr. nav 2 Lt Orian T. Wynn bomb TSgt John P. Petschauer eng/tt gun SSgt Albert N. Blackman r/o SSgt Bernard R. Masonheimer btg Sgt Walter A. Miller wg Sgt Jack L. Ferguson tail gun Sgt William Jones photo https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ROHSBV&type=Person&ID=209490 [found and extracted from Internet on Sept 7, 2022] TESTIMONIES OF WHAT HAPPENED, PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE Found on Air Force Together We Served before I took over the site Observer statements vary. One observer says a BF-109's 20 mm shells hit engine #1, disabling it. The aircraft rolled over, lost the wing, and plunged toward the ground. (Maybe this is John E Stuart, see below) One of the crew made the statement that a rocket blew the wing off, and several of the crew were wounded. As the aircraft rolled, the crewmen that were able to do so bailed out. Seven were captured; three were killed. Family Records Pilot Albert Zuidema’s letters See Silberman’s letter Second-hand accounts: Marion Zuidema, Ms. Bailey MACR www 301bg com/Missions_Macrs cfm Stuart or Stewart, John E. S/Sgt John E. Stuart: Excerpt: I was flying tail gunner of the plane in 1-2 position of the High Flight Squadron. I saw the reserve plane of the second element A/C # 42-31639 move into the 2-1 position. Shortly thereafter the plane was attacked by an M E 109, which came in from about ten o'clock. It was hit near #1 engine in left wing and as it slid away, the B-17 turned on its back. 1 saw no chutes come from the plane, then lost sight of it. https://www.fieldsofhonor-database.com/index.php/en/american-war-cemetery-lorraine-w/82471-wynn-orian- t-lor-b-13-62 [extracted from Internet on Aug. 25, 2022] STILL ALIVE AFTER CRASH OR MIA? Update: See https //www bundesheer at/download_archiv/pdfs/missing_in_action pdf For years, Orian’s situation in reference to the attacked aircraft and subsequent crash has been a mystery; however, on August 24, 2022 an article was found on an almost centurion veteran who was on Orian’s plane that suggests everyone survived except the flight engineer. Update: see below It is important to question whether the information was misquoted, whether it was due to a faulty memory as senility or some other issue, or if something was found out later and not reported to the Air Force, or did not get updated in their files. Most sources say he was missing in action; an earlier letter from Zuidema indicated he felt Orian was dead along with two others. However, this was article with its deviation from earlier information (on August 24, 2022)- see red bold below. UPDATE: the son Peter has since indicated any errors on that might be his in this matter of everyone surviving except the engineer. Washington Post 2017/08/01 Albert Zuidema, wartime pilot who survived POW camp, dies at 98. By Bart Barnes https //www washingtonpost com/local/obituaries/albert-zuidema-wartime-pilot-who-survived-pow-camp- dies-at-98/2017/08/01/e6cff282-7638-11e7-8839-ec48ec4cae25_story html Excerpt: Mr. Zuidema was the pilot of a B-17 Army Air Forces aircraft that had its right wing shot off by a German fighter plane over Steyr, Austria, in April 1944. With the exception of the flight engineer, all of the crew members survived the crash. Mr. Zuidema lost consciousness and was either pulled from the wreckage of the plane by civilians or thrown clear of the plane before it crashed. He was relieved when German soldiers arrived to take him prisoner, his son said, because the area had been heavily bombed and there had been reports of farmers bayoneting Allied airmen with pitchforks. He was taken to a German hospital, which was subsequently bombed, causing an infection of his already- injured left leg, his son said. Without anesthesia, the leg was amputated above the knee, and he was sent to a prisoner of war camp, where he remained until Germany surrendered in May 1945. Back in the United States, he underwent further leg surgery and was fitted with a prosthetic leg. In 1946 he accepted a job with what then was the Veterans Administration. He served in Springfield, Mass., Boston and Columbus, Ohio, before being posted to the Washington area in 1965. Albert Sidney Zuidema was born in Sutton, Mass., on Sept. 18, 1918, and was the son of immigrant dairy farmers from the Netherlands. As an Army Air Forces pilot during World War II he was stationed in North Africa and then in Italy. He was on his 38th mission when he was shot down. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/albert-zuidema-wartime-pilot-who-survived-pow-camp- dies-at-98/2017/08/01/e6cff282-7638-11e7-8839-ec48ec4cae25_story.html [extracted from Internet on Aug. 24, 2022] POW List Sources American Air Museum https //www americanairmuseum com/aircraft/5754 In discussing [Orian’s downed plane] Excerpt: 42-31639B-17 FLYING FORTRESS Delivered Denver 30/11/43; Paine 2/12/43; Gt Falls 5/12/43; Kearney 23/12/43; Atlanta 30/12/43; Morrison 6/1/44; Assigned 419BS/301BG Cerignola 16/1/44; Lucera 1/2/44; Missing in Action {21m} Steyr, Aus. 2/4/44 with Albert Zuidema, Ed Bailey, Walter Luft, Albt Backman, Bill Jones, Bernie Masonheimer, Walt Miller (7 Prisoner of War); Orlan Wynn, John Petschauer, Jack Ferguson (3 Killed in Action); enemy aircraft, crashed Grossening, Aus; Missing Air Crew Report 3707. https://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/5754 [extracted 2022/08/26 from Internet] Wynn, Orian Correspondence Date: 1944/April 1 - the day before he went missing; he sent much of his circle of family gifts. War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, Washington, DC Correspondence Dates: 1944/06/17; 11944/04/21 Correspondence material: 1944/06/17-mentions Coppedge as POW; says Douglas O. Whitaker and Carleton J. Downes and Silberman, Maruice (aka Morris) not reported as casualties SCHOOLING LIST and letter dates, and pre-assignment locations and dates For now, it’s based on addresses he handwrites, and secondly letterheads when addresses are not readily available, but he could have been using old letterheads from a previous school location at times, so this will have to be sorted out later Here are the school locations: Ellington Field, Texas; so far see letters showing seems to be October 1942 to January 1943, still working on it Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas seems to be August-September 1942 Big Springs, Texas 1943 Walla Walla Army Air Base, Washington state Stop-Overs Hill Field Utah Oct 10 1943 A stop-over/hold location before overseas assignment being shipped overseas: Herrington, Kansas 11/1/1943 postmark date on envelope, probably next stop is Virginia before being sent by boat to North Africa. Looks like his crew left from Virginia to North Africa Here are some dates on letters 1943 Walla Walla Army Air Base, Washington State he didn’t always put dates for Walla Walla Sqdn X, 88th Bomb Grp Thursday no other date orig letterhead “United States Army” on top with e pluribus unum insignia bird on top 399th Bomb Squadron, Swah Prov. Group Thursday no date gold embossed letterhead wings with “Walla Walla Army Air Base Washington” at top Swah Prov Group 9-8-1943 72nd Airdrome Squadron Big Springs, Texas 2-1-1943 2-12-1943 2-28-1943 3-15-1943 4-11-1943 4-16-1943 postmark date December 1943 Post-Schooling 12-1-1943 Back on Dry Land - Likely North Africa. APO 12516 PM NY NY 6 cents Air Mail stamp, V Mail, passed by army examiner stamp on front envelope 1942 Kelly Field letterhead Oct 2 1942 Sept 23 1942 Sept 17 1942 Ellington Field, Texas 1-12-1942 copy Aviation Cadets Army Air Forces [Advanced Flying School portion crossed out] copy - older - unkjnown copier presumable Thelma Carson Squadron 13, Flight C, AAFPS, ASN 18120007 Oct 15 1942 Army Air Forces Pre-FlightSchool letterhead 12-11-1942 1943 Herrington, Kansas Nov 1, 1943 “Sunday evening” Swah Prov Grp got there a week previously, per letter To Grandpa, in this letter, he came thru Denver from Walla Walla and is awaiting orders on where his overseas assignment will be.he talks about colored enlisted people doing his bed and such, which shows signs of the era’s discriminatory practices. He refers to himself as an officer in that context. His envelope address says Lieutenant, ASN 0-6777000. The letter is sent to Mr. J. Alen Johnson, Broomfield, Colorado, and free postage. UPDATES: 2023/02/09; 2022/11/05-added some to Start Here Section, reorganized content/shifted some photos; 2022/09/25 added to Acknowledgements: Reenactment Group - Living History Army Nurse Corps WW2 dot com; 2022/09/14 301st Bomb Grp assignment area in Nov-Dec 1943 added; ; 2022/09/07; 2022/08/31; 2022/08/27-started adding scanned documents and photos; 2022/08/26; 2022/08/25;2022/08/24--PAGE STARTED-Orian T. Wynn
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MIL-DOWNED WW2 1-Crew, Pilots, Others o 1a-Bombardier OT Wynn o 1b-Pilot Albert Zuidema o 1c-Crew o 1d-Key Others o Squadron, Relations o Input on Crash 2-Background Info o 2a Austria, History o 2b Downed, Found 3-Nurse Corps 4-Docs-all o 4a-Orian o 4aa-Orian Schooling o 4b-Zuidema o 4c-Crew Docs o 4d-Key Others 5-Comments 6-Resources