Standing Left to
Right: Pilot 2nd Lt Otis A. Loose, Co-Pilot 2nd
Lt Harry Mosher, Navigator 2nd Lt Francis R.
Bannick, Bombardier 2nd Lt John Clark. Kneeling
Left to Right: Turret Gunner Cpl. Martin J.
Kaufmann, Nose Gunner Cpl Gerald Crotty,
Engineer S/SGT Clifford Brace, Tail Gunner Cpl.
Jack Snider, Ball Gunner Cpl Richard Sheraski,
Radio Operator Cpl. Taffy J. Williams (picture
courtesy of Taffy J. Williams)
After a mission to
Munster on March 17, 1945,
Otis Loose (pilot) and Francis Bannick
(navigator) left the crew to make up a Lead
crew. Lead crews were experienced members of the
Squadron that were to fly the lead plane and
lead the bomber units to their targets and back.
2Lt Theodore F. Bartlele, from Kansas and
1Lt Trenton E. Gard from Houston, Texas, were
also replacements on this crew for the mission.
Lt Clark and S/Sgt Brace weren't on the crew
either. Brace was substituted by T/Sgt John
On March 24, 1945 the Allies launched Operation
Varsity, the attack across the Rhine river. The
assault was started by the 17th US Airborne
division which was dropped east of the Rhine
river near the German city of Wesel. Shortly
after the infantry divisions would cross the
river by boats.
The mission of the
389th Bomb Group was a re-supply mission for the
troops crossing the Rhine. Planes flew at very
low level, sometimes as low as 100ft. Lt. Mosher
had been assigned to the “Old Veteran” to
replace Lt Loose. The crew were to fly B-24H
42-95240 "Old Veteran".
Veteran" gets another credit painted on her
nose. The plane survived over 100
combat mission with the 389th Bomb Group and was
shot down on 24 March 1945.
(Picture courtesy of Mr. Taffy Williams)
The "Old Veteran" crew tried Lt. Bannick to fly
with them to get another mission in. Bannick
could not get permission from the CO and did not
fly that day.
Lt. Leesburg flew also on the Varsity Mission
and was in formation along side of the Mosher
crew. He joked with Mosher asking him "do you
think you can get us there and back".
The "old Veteran"
was hit by small arms fire, just as it left the
drop zone. Witnesses saw the plane make a nose
dive and crash into the ground. Lt. Leesman saw
the ‘Old Veteran’ get hit by small arms fire and
stated to the formation “Mosher is hit, Mosher
is hit”. He said the plane nosed down just on
the other side of the Rhine and went down. The
whole crew died in the crash. All are buried at
Margraten, except Lt Gard (in Texas), Lt Bartele
(in Kansas) and Sgt Kaufmann (in New York)
S/Sgt Richard Sheraski is buried at Margraten American Military
Cemetery, Plot E Row 4 Grave 5.