Secret of World War II: B-17 Lady Jeannette – Part 4

“Lady Jeannette” - B-17G, SN: 42-97904. (Credits: Via B-17 Flying Fortress Rescue)
“Lady Jeannette” – B-17G, SN: 42-97904. (Credits: Via B-17 Flying Fortress Rescue)

A series of articles, laying out the true events behind the creation of: “The Best Kept Secret Of World War Two!” In December, 1945, when it became known that General Patton had told his staff, he was quitting the Army so he could speak freely and after New Years, 1946, he was going to tell the American public the truth about what those who were attempting to destroy him had done. He was positive, once that truth was known, he could live freely and it was their careers that would be destroyed.

A series of day by day articles beginning on 9 November, 2015, which is the 71st anniversary of the crash of the “Lady Jeannette.” B-17G, SN: 42-97904, on 9 November, 1944. Today and tomorrow, I will describe the shooting down and the crash of two American bombers in France. One was the “Lady Jeannette” and the other was a top secret B-24J, which was flying a top secret night mission, while attached to the top secret 100th Group Royal Air Force. The B-24J also crashed in France, early on the morning of 10 November, 1944, 138 miles from the crash site of the B-17.

I am writing these articles, at this time, to complete the article for the next day’s publication and 98 percent is being created from memory. I do fact check some dates and occasionally, I do check in my files to insure I am writing as honestly as I can. However, from here on, it becomes interesting, at both crash sites the Americans had released the sites to the French civilians and removed their guards.

B-17 Lady Jeannette

In the Woods of Hattonville, the four large broken-apart pieces of the “Lady Jeannette” were beginning to sink into the clay floor of the woods. Up at Tincourt-Boucly, the farmer had his plow, pulled horses, re-plowing the damaged field, so the direction of the plow helped insure falling water during the winter would be absorbed as much as it be and he would have little wash when it was time to plant in the spring. For hundreds of years, generation to generation this was drummed into the children of every farm. The soil was their real fortune and it was what they would be able leave to the future generations. And, even though their own names would be lost to history, their conservation would be remembered and appreciated.

The day of 12 November, 1944, began very early for S/Sgt. Robbins and 2nd Lt. Gerald Collins, the Gott crews normal copilot. When the author interviewed Lt. Collins at his home in Washington, DC., accompanied by T/Sgt. Gustafson, it was the first time the men had seen each other since they departed the briefing for their 9 November, 1944, mission. 

Lt CollinsCollins was deeply asleep, when all of a sudden someone was shaking him. He woke and in the dim light, he recognized S/Sgt. Robbins. He quickly realized that Robbins was very disturbed as Robbins told him, we have to talk, we have to talk.

We know the commander at the Etain air base had told Robbins he was going to call his group and tell them he was safe and where his B-17 crashed. And, that both Robbins and Harland had checked in at transit barracks for transit back to the group, and the hospital personnel had told Harland, Robbins and Fross, that they would send a message to their group, that the four at the hospital were alive and in the medical transfer line back to England. Collins had not been given any information by his Squadron Commander. Collins had visited their HQ the past two days, asking if there was any news about the Gott crew and each time, he was given a negative answer. Of course, it is possible that each location that had told the survivors their unit would be notified ASAP, each failed to follow through on their promises. Or, one can suspect, that the Squadron and Group had already been contacted by a Colonel on Eisenhower’s staff and told to say nothing and do nothing, until he could visit them and fill them in on the situation.

Collins told the author and Gustafson his story. After Robbins had woke him up, he first attempted to get Robbins to go to the HQ and check in because Robbins had come straight to Collins instead of directly reporting to the HQ. After a couple of minutes, Collins realized it was going to be a long talk, so he got up, and they moved to the Squadron Rec. Room where they could talk without disturbing others and make some coffee.

Robbins slowly settled down and at Collins request, he started over from the very first burst of FLAK. Over the next few hours, they covered and recovered Robbins’ story. The squadron mess hall opened early every day, if they did not have a mission, the maintenance people often worked twenty-four hours day, to keep their B-17’s ready for their B-17’s next mission, where it would be assigned to an air crew that would get on board, risk their life on their B-17, then if all went well, bring their B-17 back, get out, bitch at the maintenance men about anything that was not perfect and often walked away from their B-17, leaving it full of holes and damaged equipment, while the maintenance again, worked as long as it took to get their B-17 ready for the aircrews and Germans to mistreat it again during the next mission. When, as the B-17’s arrived from the east, the maintenance crew would scan the sky for their B-17, hoping it would have returned from the east with little or no damage to their B-17 and the aircrew that had borrowed it that day.

Many missions that their B-17 had departed on, returned with other maintenance crews realizing their B-17 and the aircrew that had borrowed it, were not going to return. The worst, was when all the returning bombers had reported to their hard stand and loving care of its maintenance crew, their B-17 was not among those that had landed. For a short time, one could continue to hope that a call would soon arrive telling them, their B-17 had landed elsewhere. Then, the wait began, would their B-17 arrive to be loved again, or did they have to accept a new B-17 to love and prepare, their new B-17 for the next day’s mission, to be borrowed by a new air crew and thus, it continued until the combat missions ended. There was some worry, each time their B-17 took off with food to drop over Holland or left to carry back returning POW’s, however, each mission, each day, was not taking a thousand hours, for soon, they would pack up their tools, turn them in, pack up their belongings and head for a port and boat ride home.

Some, considered extremely lucky, were able to ride their B-17 as it was flown home and sadly for most, to be prepared for one last flight to a airplane junk yard and be torn apart and recycled to become kitchen utensils, cars, radios and so much more for the returning military as they re-established their old lives or began new ones as they took up the offers of new education at colleges and universities and in the new vocational schools opening across the country. Where they could learn more than making a bomb fall in garbage can or shooting a 50 cal machine gun while attending a school that taught him how to design and create high end jewelry for the returning and merging men to purchase for their old or new wives, as new growth spread throughout the country, especially in the number young children appearing everywhere. One such airman, was the original left waist gunner on the Gott crew, Sgt. Irvining Hersh had been removed from the crew upon arrival at the 452nd and shipped to Italy, where he ended the war, as a belly turret gunner aboard a B-17. The author visited Irv at his business in Chicago and spent an evening, learning about the Gott crew enlisted men, a team he was forced to leave, but remembered well. Well enough, he attended a 452nd Bomb Group reunion at Savanna, in 1997.

”The Last Flight Of The ‘Lady Jeannette’” consists of over 450 pages of the author’s original research proving the “Lady Jeannette” crashed at Tincourt-Boucly, where he later proved in did not. It contains biographical information for all the involved WWII personnel, helping the reader understand who these men were and, if they survived the war, what they had become in their younger years after their service during World War Two.

After Collins and Robbins had finished eating, Collins convinced Robbins that he was going to escort Robbins to the HQ, to report in and insure, that Robbins would tell his story about what happened aboard the Gott B-17, before he bailed out, and what he saw, after he had bailed out. When Robbins was done and dismissed by their Squadron Commander, Collins asked their Squadron Commander to go to the Group Commander’s office to meet with the Group Commander, where Collins repeated Robbins testimony and ended, by asking the two Commander to put Gott and Metzger in for the Silver Star.

Neither, acted as if they had any knowledge of the “Lady Jeannette” at that time and both told Collins, they would investigate and perhaps, his request may become a fact. For the next three weeks, Colllins visited their HQ every day, to ask about the award of the Silver Star to Gott and Metzger. Each day Collins was told, they were still investigating what happened.

When Robbins was dismissed by his Squadron Commander, the Commander told him to wait outside until he and Collins were finished. As they were leaving for the Group Commanders office, his Commander had talked to the Executive Officer for a couple of minutes, turned, told Robbins to enjoy himself and walked off with Collins.

The XO told Robbins that he was going to be sent to a rest camp for a couple of weeks, so go to his barracks, pack what he would need and report back for transportation to the rest camp. By that afternoon, he was gone from the 452nd and when he returned, he was given orders to return to the USA and sent to a transit barracks until he could leave. Robbins never saw any of the other survivors until the author arranged to have the “Lady Jeannette” to be honored at the Group’s, 1997 reunion, in Savanna, Georgia. Robbins and his wife, Shirley, attended several more reunions, until Shirley died. The last conversation the author had with Robbins, Robbins told him, I really miss Shirley and I am just waiting around to join her.

When the Colonel and driver landed in England, they were met at the hatch of their plane and taken to a staff car parked nearby.  The officer greeting them, handed the drive a group of open travel tickets, blank where required and filled in where necessary. He told the Colonel, they had not been given any destinations, but were ordered to have the car ready for their arrival and in the trunk, they would find thermos bottles of coffee, fresh sandwiches and some maps they may need. The Colonel completed his discussion with the officer, as the driver grabbed their bags, opened the trunk, checked the contents and put the bags inside, picked up the maps, closed the trunk door and walked around and opened the rear door and held it until the Colonel had entered and sat down. He asked the officer, which way was the gate and took off in that direction.

As they approached the gate, the Colonel told the driver, their next stop will be the base where the top secret B-24 was stationed. The driver told him, he had the map and had a good idea of where that base was, from his earlier trips to various air bases.

In due time, they arrived at the 36th Bomb Squadron (RCM) and the Colonel told the driver to go to the mess hall and he would call when ready to leave. During the next couple of hours the Colonel and the 36th BS Commander discussed the situation. Both agreed it was very hairy. Eisenhower had declared the B-24J crash site was to disappear. The only way for that to happen, was to remove almost all the information concerning the B-24J, already recorded had to be destroyed and new official records created. The Colonel agreed completely with the Commander, that the hardest thing to hide, would be the three dead crew members.

The Colonel told the Commander, he had been Eisenhower’s expert on Graves Registration for over a year. He had attended as Eisenhower’s representative, at the conference investigating the problems with identifying the dead during the Africa campaign. Before it was over, a strict set of regulations had been set up, to control very step of handling the dead, from the instant of their death until they were correctly identified and buried. The first step taken was to create a regulation that truly made a military person was a true Government Issue item of inventory. The GI was to be treated exactly as any Government Issued item was to be treated, under the control of strict regulations ONLY!, ONLY, was the instant the GI inventory item became damaged or inert. Instead of becoming a supply officer’s problem, in that instant all control over that GI item was removed from the unit commander and transferred to the medical unit attached to every military organization. It had been decided at that conference, by removing instantly the control of the GI inventory item and transferring it to the medical unit, the Commander could not request a replacement GI item immediately. This prevented a Commander from requesting GI Inventory Items (replacements) be ordered, which could actually become excess inventory, if the original GI inventory item had not been damaged enough to prevent it from returning to its carry on its’ intended purpose.

Upon taking control of the improperly working or inert GI inventory item, the medical unit had to make a decision. Would they perform maintenance on the GI inventory item locally, or did they have to pass it up the line to the next maintenance level. If, they made the decision to send the GI inventory item up the line, they had to contact the GI inventory item’s Commander and give him a report concerning that item. Would the item be refurbished there and returned within a reasonable period, or would that item be held longer for a full rebuild, or perhaps, passed further up the line to another medical unit that had to make the decision, whether the GI item would be working within a set period of time, when it would be issued back to a major inventory supply organization for reassignment to another unit, or would they send the GI item even higher to another maintenance organization.

This organization received GI inventory items, that had been damaged so badly the item would not be able to function correctly for a set period of time, or perhaps, never! If the set period of time would not be met, then that level made arrangement to ship the GI inventory item back to the USA, where it would be maintained in a rebuilding organization until it could be returned to its original supplier.

If an extended repair period was required, the medical unit would issue a replacement order, so they could request an equal replacement GI inventory item to replace the item that had been damaged so badly it had to be replaced at once. In the situation, the GI inventory item had been damaged so badly that it became inert, the medical unit would take possession of the inert item until it could be recovered by the inert GI inventory item, or Graves Registration, for temporary disposition. Upon proof that the inert GI inventory item was absolutely inert, the unit’s commander would be notified and he could immediately request an equal fully operational GI inventory item, with the same programmed operating system, from the human inventory supply organization.

As the Colonel explained, the serious and supposable very strong regulations were then put in place in such a manner, to prevent the American military doing what the French were well known to have done during the Grand War, the failure to account for over 500,000 Government Issued Human Items Of Inventory after the Grand War had ended. However, the Colonel told the 36th BS Commander, they were extremely lucky, in that he had been able to break the required line of transit of the dead at the B-24J crash site and hide the fact, that two recoveries had taken place. By getting the first recovered inert GI inventory items sent out of France and the additional recovery of the remaining bits and pieces of those dead, hidden before they had to be officially recorded or placed in the transit line. They could account for the three crew dead in the unit’s reports in the shortest manner possible. Which turned out to be four lines of type on a page containing other information, that indicated they had died over 60 miles from where they did die. More importantly, due to their being attached to the top secret 100th Group RAF, the Colonel could get the medical report covered with those few lines and the 36th Bomb Squadron (RCM) could, very soon, order the required GI inventory replacements.

When they had finished, the Colonel asked for a secure telephone, so he could report in and while he was doing that, the Squadron Commander could contact the mess hall and have his driver bring the car over, so he could leave. Having completed his report to, whom else but the only person who could possibly have the rank and power to make what was happening, happen, General Dwight Eisenhower. The author realizes, hundreds of other authors have based books, thousands of books on the story of this man’s success during World War Two. Any who wishes to dispute are welcome to do so. All I, as the author request, is that they do not use a lot of book references, based on other book references. Get to their end reference, swap it with the evidence the author will present. Allow the author to place both before a group of people, basically a jury and allow that group to decide. Who would have the power to pick a destroyed B-24 out of the ground in France, move it to England and turn it over to the RAF, without the RAF having any record of the exchange?

The author can think of a few men other than Ike who could have done that. However, only General Eisenhower to verbally order honest commanders and enlisted men in the field to do something that those men knew, absolutely, if what they were doing became public knowledge their lives would basically be over, no matter what Eisenhower ordered. That is, unless those verbal orders were passed on by the Colonel, with a promise that General Eisenhower had promised him personally, that he would stand up and protect the entire line of involved men, if any whiff of the truth ever arose.

Then, the world learned President (General) Eisenhower was dying and/or heard, he had died. Instantly, the Colonel and all those who made what President (General) Eisenhower had ordered had to happen, happen, realized they were naked and during that period of time, the death of General Patton had began to re-enter the media. If some fool out there, searched hard and far enough they could be certain, out there someplace, were documents that proved or disproved what protection they had been depended on before, would no longer pass the smell or jury test.

This series is based on evidence, both hard and circumstance, that provides a solid foundation based on what was happened, did happen. The book author’s book, “The Best Kept Secret of World War Two!” does exactly that, not bouncing back and forth as these articles must, but following a time line with a fictional creation of the Colonel with his almost unbelievable ability to speak perfect, regional French and German. As well, as having the knowledge broad knowledge required to be able to skirt and break hundreds of American military regulations along the way.

After leaving the 36th BS, the driver took him to the 452nd Bombardment Group’s base and after dropping the Colonel off at the HQ, he followed the Colonel’s advice to get the car they were driving serviced and enjoy the night, as he thought the trip so far, had achieved exactly what he need to have happend. If, his stay here resulted in achieving his goal here, they could leave England earlier than he had planned and get back to their HQ tomorrow.

That afternoon at the HQ, he did achieve that goal.  First, none of the crew were to be allowed to meet with any of the other survivors of the Gott crew. They were all to be sent to separate R&R centers to insure, they could not meet. Upon their return, each was to be given orders to return home and be sent to separate transit quarters to wait for the transportation home. None of them were to leave, before the Colonel released them for shipment. When he heard about the copilot’s constant requesting the application for the Silver Star, he was to be told, to wait a while, something was in the works. Then, when released by the Colonel, he was to be sent home. It was imperative, that the survivors and the copilot were gone before what was being planned was carried out.

He ended the meetings, telling the two Commanders, they had a choice, either they continued to do what had been verbally ordered by General Eisenhower, or they would be gone the next morning and sent to the most isolated outposts the Colonel could be arranged. The two talked it over for a minute and agreed. (How does the author know this happened? Just think about it, would the Congressional Medals of Honor ever been awarded with the included false descriptions of the crash and death of the two men, if anyone along the line that required it all to fall in place, had refused? We know of no one disappearing overnight at any of the units involved, after the war and into President (General) Eisenhower’s time in office, the relatively small group of officers involved made amazing career advancement. Have you ever heard of Vandenberg Air Force Base, if you question how they were awarded, do an internet search to find out who was in command at the units involved, then check their military career after the war ended. You may be surprised, even the author was, until he realized, going along meant in the future, you would get along.

The Colonel spent that night at the base’s officer’s club with the command officers and saw, how men who might not return from their next mission were permitted to act in ways, that would never be permitted in a non-combat situation. After hearing some of the stories he heard that night, the Colonel came to really appreciate the Karma that led from his birth in the United States, to his current position in the United States Army and serving on General Eisenhower staff in his current position, especially at his young age.

At the 109th, Fross continued to help with the German POW’s. When visited by the author and T/Sgt. Gustafson at his home in McAllen, Texas, Fross told the author, “I really enjoyed those couple of days and if, I had known that, I would have joined the medics, instead of the Air Corp.” As the author was very familiar with what Fross had gone through, we were able to talk as if the crash had happened a few days before. His wife, Mary and daughter, Kimberely, told us as we were leaving, he had not communicated with anyone and our visit had brought back, if only for a short time, the husband and father they had known for years.

Gustafson, being Gustafson, was still on the trail to Cherbourg. He said, the nurse was a looker and he winked and asked her to scratch a location he could not reach. The nurse told him, she would not be able to do that, but she knew a medic that she knew, would be happy to scratch him there! When he was done laughing he laid there, unable to scratch himself and diverted his mind to a constant review of past couple of days. That night, they spent the dark hours, parked on a siding at Saint-Lo, France. We visited there in the early 1990’s, when Gustafson and the author toured France and visited all the important locations in the book and these articles. We walked along the rail line and talked with a French rail worker and very close to the hotel were we were staying, we found the place Russell had stayed at in France, while seeing nothing of the place he stayed. This time, we toured the town and recommend it to tourists who have trouble finding a place to stay or do not want to pay the higher expenses of staying very near the Normandy beaches. It is as easy drive for Saint-Lo to all the beaches and as they are actually tens of miles apart, in one way such a visit is easier than staying on one of the beaches.

The Hornsby, B-24J, crew were kept in tight control. All they knew, when they were put in a covered truck to leave the B-26 base, was they had crashed at Boucly, as the French who two of the men had visited their home, had told them how to say the name of their village. After some time in the back of the truck, it stopped, they heard a gate open and when the truck stopped again and they got out, they were sanding in the courtyard of a large and fancy Chateau.

They were taken inside and told, that transportation back to their base was being prepared. However, they would be staying at the Chateau for several days. So, make themselves at home and understand they were not to talk to any of the French they may see and certainly, they were not to go outside the gate. Until the author visited the pilot, Hornsby, at his home in Dothan, Alabama, it was hard to understand why they had not known where they had crashed in France. When the author met Stephen Hutton, the author of “Squadron of Deception,” had not known the crash location.  He had been interviewing the survivors for some years and none of them, nor any official documents he could find anywhere, gave a crash location for the B-24J.  What happened to the survivors, are based on Hutton’s collection of interviews and personal interviews by the author at the survivor’s home, if at all possible. By personally visiting the survivors and/or their families at their homes, they realized the author was truly serious in learning all he could of this event in their lives. They also realized, he was not the normal armchair author, who did little real research and depended on information contained in other book and telephone interviews, when he did use real interviews. During a personal visit, tens of minutes of a telephone call interview turned into hours with personal souvenirs and even all the communications of several of the dead, that had been kept in boxes for years. Every family has opened all their saved communications, their memories of the men and event and the survivors all became good friends, until they completed their final transfer.

Of all the men, interviewed over the years, only a couple could not be personally interview, this was due to their health which had deteriorated to a point, where they did not want to be visited. However, none refused, when telephoned to spend hours on the telephone, talking with the author and revealing to tell the author all they knew, some of which the author had to promise, no one will ever read.

As the day advanced toward evening, at each of the units and villages involved, the subject was still fresh and was still discussed, at the orchards across the road from th 109th, where the enlisted men would gather to enjoy some time off, talk and work to finish off the large loads of booze they had freed from the German depot at Le Mans, as them pass through. It had taken two or three 6×6 trucks that they had found sitting by the side of the road, or so the author was told, opening a couple of locks to insure no Germans were hiding in the warehouses and as the joked, Liberated from captivity a large amount of captive French specialty houses product. We know that is true, as you will read tomorrow. Each of the personnel of the 109th Mobile Hospital had received their piece of the aviator’s parachute, some would lose it soon and some, would keep theirs for many years.

One, PFC Lindsey, saved his until he visited France with the author and his wife to dedicate the Memorials to both bombers and PFC Lindsey presented his souvenir to the author. As chance often happens, T/Sgt. Gustafson and his latest lady, passed through Seattle on their way to an Alaska cruise a year later. At that time, Russell W. Gustafson, autographed that small piece of the parachute that had saved his life on 9 November, 1944, as well as signing a large photograph of the Memorial placed the year before at the south end of Hattonville. Later, in that decade, Russell and the author returned to France and visited the location in France where he had landed and the site of the crash of his “Lady Jeannette.”

Thus ended the 12th of November, 194 4, as the reader obviously realizes, extremely important telephone calls were passing back and forth. And, as it was now underway, the dance could not be stopped, until the music ended!

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At the Limey Temporary Cemetery, the Graves Registration Company Commander verified the Burial Records filled out by the Sergeant. The author contacted the Limey Cemetery Commander many years later to learn, as did another Graves Registration officer, 2nd Lt. Charles D. Butte, whom the author had met during his research, had done to advance his military career after the war and the permanent cemeteries were completed, they both transferred to the Airborne service, as during the war both had learned Airborne service gave them the best possible chance of promotion. Both later retired as Lt. Colonels. Lt. Colonel Butte wrote one of the introductions to “The Best Kept Secret Of World War Two!”

When he was done, he had to insure that any personal effects recovered with the remains were transferred from his company’s official possession to that of the transportation service that would ship the recovered personnel effects to the personnel effect organization in the State of Kansas. There, it would be checked for items that were not to be forwarded the dead’s family. Upon receipt and inspection, the items would be forwarded to the family. Some times, there may be an item that might disturb the family if received. Then, they would send a letter to the family with a description of the item’s condition and ask, does the family want it sent or would they prefer it be discarded.

It so happens, the crash at Hattonville provided an excellent example of this situation. When the doctor was removing T/Sgt. Dunlap’s flight jacket, which Major Byrne took for his own use, the doctor found a wallet, slightly singed, it contained some money, one $5.00 bill was what was called a “short snorter” bill. They were often created when the night before an aircrew left to fly across the ocean to England. This bill, upon review, had been signed by two of the men who had died with him. Also included was a pass, and some other items that could be used for identification. Later, Venar had placed wallet in the man’s ditty bag, not realizing the wallet no longer matched the condition of the items collected from the man that had been placed in the fire to match up with the verbally ordered condition of the torn-apart remains to be buried in the man’s official grave, while his complete body was going to be hidden at the crash site.

Over the year’s the author came to know the Dunlap family and visited with T/Sgt. Dunlap’s youngest sister. She decided that “short snorter” would be given to the author in honor of his research.

As the four official graves of the four men killed during the crash of the “Lady Jeannette” were now complete, I am going to skip ahead to 1947 and 1948, when the final processing of our World War Two buried dead took place.

In 1947, the Legal Next Of Kin of the identified buried dead, received a letter requesting they complete a form, creating a Final Disposition Directive for their deceased husband or family member. They could request that the remains be returned to the USA for burial in a cemetery of their choice, a National Cemetery, or burial in an American Permanent Cemetery in the country where the remains were currently buried. A third option was also available for those killed, whose LNOK lived in another country. For example, a Washington State airman had married while stationed in the Philippines before the war began. He later died in a B-17 crash in Europe. His parents had never accepted the truth of his wedding and when they insisted his remains be returned to their control in the USA, they were told his wife was his LNOK and she had the legal authority to request his remains transfer to the Philippines, where he is buried in the American Manila National Cemetery.

When each grave was disinterred, as licensed Mortician inventoried the remains and verified the identity given the remains upon burial, was still correct. During that process, he listed all the human remains in each grave. Different Morticians worked side by side during the process of removal and re-directing the remains for their Final Disposition. Thus, none of them realized, if all the remains had been placed on one inspection table, there was no duplication of any human skeletal remains. With such disrupted remains, based on four dead, there should have been several duplications. There are several skeletal bones that will survive almost anything that happens to the human skeleton during death. For instance, the hip balls, the elbow balls and the shoulder balls.

If any reader, can explain how a proven crash site with three complete bodies were recovered, with the recovery witnessed by many French citizens, with a fourth torn-apart man’s remains recovered that none of the French knew about, could end up two days later as the four remains inventoried four years later, please do so.

Krimminger SkeletonIn the document to the left, the author has taken the listed inventory found in S/Sgt. Krimminger’s official Disinterment Directive. This inventory was created when a licensed Mortician was present when the remains in the grave were disinterred, the remains in the grave inventoried and placed in a temporary casket for shipping to a re-casketing location for preparation placement in the final casket, then shipped to the location provided by the Legal Next Of Kin for the Final Dispostion/Burial.

Note: How little of the total human remains of S/Sgt. Krimminger that should have been located in his official grave when disinterred and how little was identified.Those who do not want to believe, will point to the unidentified remains. Please think about how he died, torn-apart by the tree limbs of the forest and scattered ON the forest floor. Do note, neither leg was listed as identified.

Many French eye witnesses saw the complete body, especially the two Frenchmen who helped recover his body and place it on the canvas.

When Dunlap’s sister sent the “short snorter” to the author, she told him, that the wallet had been worn out over the years, as the family looked at it, to remember their son and brother.

The wallet did smell a bit of smoke when they received it, after telling the effect’s depot to forward it to them, instead of destroying it.

First note, his right had been cut off just above the wrist, but they were able to locate an elbow as part of his remains?

Does any sane person believe, that his wallet that was always in his left shirt pocket survived what had happened to these remains with so little damage.

Dunlap SkeletonWhen Metzger’s temporary grave was opened and the contents inventoried by a licensed Mortician, he found no, not one, identifiable human remains.

The reader needs to think about what happened to Lt. Metzger. He was sitting in the cockpit about 18 inches to Lt. Gott’s right.

Note: again, there is no duplication of any item found in the other graves.

Are all the French eye witnesses and the existing evidence still at the crash site, for every reader to visit, if they wish.

How can this be, when you look at the next document, Lt. Gott’s identified remains.

Lt. Gott and Lt. Metzger were sitting about 18 inches apart in the cockpit. Their complete bodies were found, still sitting in their seats.

The two Frenchmen helped remove their complete bodies, yet when the Colonel and Venar were done, Gott official Burial Package had the most identifiable bones and Metzger’s had no identifiable bones in his official grave.

Dunlap Short Snorter

We know from the French citizens, that the cockpit was not in the flash fire and that the two bodies had no fire damage, while Dunlap’s complete body did show some singeing.

Metzger SkeletonOne has a hard time, wondering why the Untied States continues the sham of stating, the remains of the three men were destroyed in their crash. Even the remains that were found in all four graves, screams for a jury to force the government to find out, just were are the real remains of two Medal of Honor awardees?

They have known, absolutely, since late May, 2000, that the remains in the official graves of the three men cannot be their true remains.

If enough of you out there who have read this set of articles continue to forward and share, in due time, the weight of the WORLD public will help force the United States to do what so much is made of, instead of “leave no man behind” the truth is“they left these three men behind” and continued to do so, even after they knew the truth!

There are so many problems showing up, when one combines all four official remains into one combined skeletal remains chart.

When these charts were received by our accounting organizations, they stated the medal citations show the men’s aircraft had exploded twice and that explains how little skeletal remains were present in all four graves. They also stated, since the burial records state their remains had been exposed to a fire, the situation can be explained by the cremation of the remains. The author contacted cremation organizations. Showed the what we were researching and asked their opinion. The fire at both locations was an open fuel fire, which lasted only a short time and there was no way either fire would have reached the high temperature required to begin to cremate torn-apart remains, let along complete bodies.

Combined SkeletonsNote: with all the identified remains in all four graves, not one duplicated bone was identified. Yes, two did contain partial pelvic remains, however, with the damage suffered by the torn-apart Krimminger body, it easily accounts for that. However, note, only one upper leg knee ball. When at the least, there should have as many as eight.  The same situation, is present throughout the total inventoried remains. Only one man’s remains are accounted for in all four graves.

Note: Where are the three complete remains observed at the crash site? To date, thanks to the current accounting organization, the French will not issue a permission to deeply search the site.

All we can do, is conduct deep, instead of shallow research, as most authors have done, in my own opinion! And, place the evidence before our audience.

What you the reader can do, is look at the simple evidence in this article and realize, without any doubt remaining, the Congressional Medal Of Honor Citations were based on the two Congressional Medal Of Honor applications that contained a false description on the B-17’s crash and the death of only three of the crew dead.

Among the additional evidence that will be presented in this series of articles is a letter from the 452nd BG Awards Officer, who wrote the author concerning the information contained in the application. In his letter to the author, he states, “I wrote the entire application, except for the description of the crash and the three crewmen. I was given the description by our commander and told, you will use these exact description and you will not modify one word.” Later when talking to the person who wrote the letter, he told the author that was very interesting, because by the time the applications were written, he had heard Lt. Collins story several time and Collins had never mentioned any diving crash or two explosions. As the application writer, Collins had often visited him and discussed his drive to get Gott and Metzger the Silver Star. By the time I began writing applications for the Congressional Medal of Honor, Lt. Collins had already left the Group. He was gone for some time, before I was told to create the applications and ordered to use the exact description of their crash and death, that I was given to follow!

If you have enjoyed these articles, please share them on Facebook, your other social media outlets and pass them on to all your friends interested in this type of military research. The more they are shared each day, the more people will learn the truth and in the end, that is what will be done to finally solve the question of “where are the bodies?”

We really need some German historians, who would be willing to work with us to solve the mystery of a B-17G crash site at Luvigny, France, which is supposed to be a captured KG200 B-17F. The crashed bomber cannot be a B-17F, we found a relic proving it was a model B-17G. We need help in the German department in Berlin that has the files concerning the German miliary dead. We have names and grave locations, that are supposed to be KG200 personnel, but we have not been able to tie the actual crashed B-17G to any of the known captured B-17G model. A B-17G, named “Punchboard” of the 452nd Bombardment Group was captured, but appears to have disappeared, or blew up after take-off several months before the supposed shoot down of the B-17F at Luvigny. According to all the history we have been able to locate, the claim is that B-17F was shot down when returning to its base near Stuttgart, Germany, on 3 March, 1945.


  • Willis S. Cole, Jr. “Sam”, Executive Director & Curator of Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum – Found at 13444 124th Ave NE in Kirkland, WA  98034, USA.

Read also:

External links:

All are memorials put in place by author’s organization and French citizens.


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