History of the
B-17 #42-39901 / Star Dust

Delivered Long Beach 3/10/43; Gr Island 31/10/43; ass 551BS/385BG [HR- ] Gt Ashfield 24/11/43; battle damage Pas De Calais 15/2/44 Pilot: Leon Swedlund, Co-Pilot: George Guscatt, Navigator: Rex Cantrell, Bombardier: Fred Berlinger{wia-leg amputated}, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Jackson Osborne, Radio Operator: Chas Day, Ball Turret Gunner: Ernest J. Mayer Jr., Waist Gunner: Chas Thompson{wia}, Waist Gunner: John Brutenback, Tail Gunner: Grendell Hawes (10RTD); losing engines and power on return, crash-landed RAF Detling, Kent, UK. Hitting concrete pillbox. STAR DUST.

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  1. von Ernest J. Mayer III am 06. October 2019 20:38 Uhr

    Just to let you know my dad was Ernest J. Mayer Jr. Please just get the spelling right. Not Mazer. Thet the last neme is Mayer. thank you. please make the right last neme.


    • von b17flyingfortress.de am 06. October 2019 20:42 Uhr

      Thank you!
      I have updated the name of your father.


      • von Ernest J. Mayer III am 12. November 2019 1:38 Uhr

        Sorry for the typ-o. It was the Bombardment Group 8th. Air Force.


  2. von Ernest J. Mayer III am 10. November 2019 23:20 Uhr

    First thank you for the update. My dad passed away in 2004. Had a good life and we all miss him. Monday is Vertens Day and I hope everyone remembers what they all did for us. It is unforunate that the last member of the crew of the Star-Dust passed away a little more of a year ago. His name was Grendell Hawes. After all the years I was finally able to keep in touch with him thanks to the son of the pilot Len (The Swede) Swedlund. His goal was to publish a Memoriam of his dad “Pop” “Swede” and the whole Star-Dust crew. You can get a copy from Blurb a 10 by 8 hard cover book. Anyway sorry to bother you with this long comment. If you wish to concact me my cell phone is (570)-357-2184. My e-mail is ejmayer3@comcast.net. It’s a shame not too many records were keep back than. As you know he attaned the rank of Staff Sergeant with the 551st. Bombardment Squadron, 385th. Bombardment Group 9th. Air Force. He was the ball-turret gunner, not a nice place to be with a 60% kill rate. Thank God he had him on his side. The whole crew had some of the worst mission including the first daylight mission over Berlin March 6th. 1944. He never talked about it but he recieved many citations. Bronze Star, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, He proudest passion was his Distinguished Flying Cross which was engraved “For extraordinary achievement” He also recieved his Flyings Wings. two of the famous names that signed his citations were Maj. Gen. Doolittle, Maj. Gen Curtis LeMay, Masters, and VanLuvender. Like he said he never talked about the war but I am sure he has much more to tell. I wish I could get all of his records.

    Sincerly Ernie Mayer III


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