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Bill’s blog archive: Daily Posts

2nd LT Robert L. Schanen

Lt. Robert L. Schanen, Navigator of “Ascend Charlie”

Yesterday, I received this email from the relative of the navigator on Ascend Charlie's final mission. Ascend Charlie was a B-17 Flying Fortress (tail #42-5903) from the 390th Bomb Group, 571st Bomb Squadron. You can read my full article on "Ascend Charlie's" last mission here.. Dear Mr. Beigel, I just want to thank you for the piece you wrote about the "Ascend Charlie'" crash. Lt. Schanen was my grandmother's cousin and she speaks so fondly of him. I had always known he was killed in...
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”
The Crew Of The “Ascend Charlie” Also Known As “The Turner Crew”

The “tail” of Ascend Charlie

The desperate last mission of the Turner Crew of the 390th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force Hikers in the Black Mountains of Southeast Wales might come across a small monument near coordinates N51 53.955, W003 06.829, about 8 north-northwest of Abergavenny and three miles from the village of Crickhollow. It honors the crew of “Ascend Charlie,” B-17 Flying Fortress tail # 42-5903, of the 390th Bomb Group. “Ascend Charlie” is a play on “Ass-End Charlie,” the nickname for the plane at the...
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew

“Presumed Deceased, Remains Not Recovered”

It was Tuesday, May 30, 1944.  Memorial Day. 83 B-17’s of the 1st Bombardment Division were in the air. Their target was the aircraft industry factories at Dessau, Germany, where the Elbe and Mulde rivers converge in Saxony. According to Squadron records, the crew of B-17 tail # 42-39975, nicknamed “Just Plain Lonesome”, of the 1st Bombardment Division’s 91st Bomb Group, had averaged 16 missions flown each.  A tested, veteran crew. But at about 11:15 AM, the ‘Flying Fort’...