The crew of Maynard Frey, who completed another 13 sorties in the "Chow-hound", followed the Newquist Crew. This included one on D-Day, June 6th.
The Newquist Crew completed 22 missions in the "Chow-hound". They finished their tour of duty and most were on a convoy home the morning of the Normandy invasion.
The B-17 "Chow-hound" was ferried to the United Kingdom in December 1943. It was initially assigned to the 9th Air Force in Belfast, Ireland before being transferred to 8th Air Force in Bassingbourn, England.
The Newquist Crew was the first crew assigned to this B-17. They christened it "Chow-hound" in May 1944 because “…we fight to eat and eat to fight”. Tony Starcer painted the nose art - a Pluto-like cartoon hound riding a bomb.
The final crew of the "Chow-hound" was the Thompson Crew. The Thompson Crew was assembled in Salt Lake City, Utah. The crew drew an assignment of delivering a new B-17 to Ireland. After completing the delivery, the Thompson Crew continued to their new duty station, Bassingbourn, England on June 4, 1944.
The Thompson Crew completed 13 missions in the "Chow-hound". Their 14th mission, on August 8, 1944, ended in the loss of the nine-member crew. It is believed the ‘Chow-hound’ was the oldest operating B-17 when it went down.
This is the only known photo of the crew
On August 8, 1944, the nine-member Thompson crew was flying over occupied France (Normandy) and was 10 minutes from its target when it was hit by anti-aircraft flak. The bomber broke apart in the sky and the fuselage landed in a farmer’s field in Lonlay l’Abbaye (approximately 100 km southwest of Caen). One of the wings landed in an adjacent farm field belonging to Mr. Pierre Lehec and remained there until 2011.
Two eyewitnesses, who were 16 years old at the time, watched the plane descend to the ground. Residents of Lonlay l’Abbaye came to the crash site, but were soon rousted by the Germans. The bodies of four crewmembers were found at the site by French villagers and temporarily buried. They were later transferred to U.S. cemeteries in France. Advancing U.S. troops recovered the bodies of two additional crewmembers. The remaining three crewmembers were not found and were listed as missing in action until 2004.
The landowner, believing the search for the missing was over, collected the debris from the crash and buried it in the largest crater caused by the crash. The hole was filled and covered with fresh soil. The land continued to be used as a cattle farm for six decades.
2004 Excavation of Crash Site brings closure for the families of the Thompson Crew after sixty years
In June, of 2004, a Department of Defense team began work on the crash site. The remains of the three missing crew members (2nd Lt. David J. Nelson, Tech Sgt. Henry F. Kortebein and Tech Sgt. Blake A. Treece) were recovered from the crash site. Personal effects of the crew were also found.
The site also contained two engines from the plane, parts of the wings, a portion ‘of the Nose Art and a 50-caliber machine gun. The "Chow-hound" was identified by the serial number on the machine gun. There were also six, 250- pound live bombs.
Picture of the "Chow-hound" crash site taken by Pat Mailey in October 1944
Crash Site Located in 2001
The Association Normande du Souvenir Aerien 35/45 (ANSA) contacted the Department of Defense Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in 2001 with information regarding the "Chow-hound" crash site. ANSA searches for WWII crash sites, assists with excavation, and establishes memorials to the crewmembers at the crash sites.
The crash site was 42 feet by 39 feet.
August 8, 2004 Ceremony
Mass was held in the Abbey and ceremonies held in Lonlay l’Abbaye town square for the Thompson Crew of the "Chow-hound" on the 60th anniversary of the crash. Members of the Collins and Bacigalupa families were in attendance along with Joe Bentzel, member of the Newquist Crew.
The Nose Art recovered during the excavation shows part of the dog and Tony Starcer’s signature.
Lonlay l’Abbaye dedicated a memorial to the Thompson Crew in the town square.
Military Funeral with Full Honors for the Thompson Crew - Arlington National Cemetery August 24, 2006
More than 75 family members, as well as representatives of ANSA and the 91St Bomb Group Memorial Association attended services.
Mesa Arizona – November 11, 2007
A display was dedicated to the "Chow-hound" at the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona Museum in Mesa, Arizona. Leon Chevallier, member of the French Resistance, donated a propeller of the "Chow-hound", which he had kept in his barn since the war.
August 8, 2008 Ceremony
Members of the Treece and Kortebein families visited the crash site and attended ceremonies in Lonlay l’Abbaye.
September 2011, repatriation of wing
In 2008, family members of the Thompson crew began efforts to retrieve the "Chow-hound" wing, which has been on the farm on Mr. & Mrs. Pierre Lehec since the crash. Those efforts culminated three years later when approximately 40 Airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing (Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.) flew to Caen, France on September 23, 2011, to retrieve the wreckage of the "Chow-hound". ANSA delivered the wing to the Caen Airport where it was loaded into a C-17.
Teresa Pellerin placed flowers at the crash site in memory of the crew for over 60 years. She was just 10 years old at the time of the crash.
Col. Duffy greeted Mr. and Mrs. Lehec at their farm as the 514th AMW proceeded from the crash site to the town square.
August 8, 2014 – 70th Anniversary
Members of the Collins and Treece families, together with the 732nd Air Squadron from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakewood attended the 70th Anniversary ceremonies in Lonlay l’Abbaye.
Family members and Mayor Derouet followed the procession of French war veterans and the 732th AS from the Abbey to the town square for the ceremonies. A wreath was place at the memorial to the "Chow-hound" crew.
A visit was made to the crash site, where roses were placed around the American flag for each member of the crew
August 8, 2015 - Memorial Dedication
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) in New Jersey dedicated a memorial to the Thompson Crew of the "Chow-hound". The "Chow-hound" wing is the centerpiece of a permanent display at JBMDL air passenger terminal honoring the crew.
A section of the wing, and a propeller blade are on display. These remnants are the tangible reminders of the high price of freedom paid by nine members of the "Chow-hound" crew in 1944.
Thousands of military service personnel will pass through the JBMDL air passenger terminal every month for deployment and see the memorial to the "Chow-hound".
Sometime after the 15th mission, Starcer added a Purple Heart medal on Pluto to mark a flak patch were a flak splinter or machine gun bullet penetrated the nose.
Copyright 2011 www.davidsankey.com
Sgt. Gerald F. Gillies, Tail Gunner
1st Lt. Jack R. Thompson, Pilot
Tech Sgt. Henry F. Kortebein, Engineer
2nd Lt. Frank Bolen, Bombardier *
2nd Lt. Charles Sherrill, Bombardier
2nd Lt. David J. Nelson, Co-Pilot
Tech Sgt. Blake A. Treece, Radio man and Gunner
2nd Lt. Charles F. Bacigalupa, Navigator
Sgt. Warren D. Godsey, Lower Ball Turret Gunner
Sgt. Richard R. Collins, Waist Gunner
*2nd Lt. Bolen was the regular Bombardier with this crew, but did not fly on the last mission.
Congressional Proclamation from the Honorable Tom MacArthur, Representative of the Third Congressional District of New Jersey
Presentation of the Colors
The families of the "Chow-hound" Thompson Crew thank Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) for dedicating the memorial to the "Chow-hound".
Col. Frederick Thaden - Commander, JBMDL
Col. Michael Underkofler, Commander, 514th Air Mobility Wing
Col. Dennis Duffy, Vice Commander, 514th Air Mobility Wing
Col. John Price, Commander, 305 Air Mobility Wing
John Collins (nephew of Richard Collins) reading the Eulogy from mass celebrated in 2004 in Lonlay l'Abbaye on the 60th Anniversary of the downing of the "Chow-hound".
Virginia Dimon (sister of Blake Treece), Marion Burkhardt (sister of Henry Kortebein) and Mary Ronnenburg (daughter of Charles Bacigalupa)
Col. Price, Col. Underkofler, and Col. Duffy
Col. Duffy recounting the trip to Lonlay l'Abbaye by the 514th AMW in 2011 to bring the wing home.
Col. Price discussing the significance of the Chow-hound Memorial to current military personnel as they leave for deployment.
Mark Dimon (nephew of Blake Treece) presenting the "Chow-hound" Plaque to Col. Price and Col. Underkofler on behalf of the family members of the Thompson Crew.
Presentation of Congressional Proclamation from office of Honorable Tom MacArthur, 3rd Congressional District of New Jersey.
Virginia Dimon (sister of Blake Treece) and family
William & Ardis Brittain (nephew of Gerald Gillies)
Pat Bentzel and Linda Mackay (daughter of Frank Bolen)
Collins Family (niece and nephews of Richard Collins)
Marion Burkhardt (sister of Henry Kortebein) and family
"Chow-hound" Display at the 514th AMW Headquarters