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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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robert koper
100 BG. 349 Sqn U.S.A.A.F. B-17. 42-31051 2nd. Lt Koper

Operation: Berlin, Germany.

Date: 6th March 1944 (Monday 12.13hrs – last sighted)

Unit: 349 Squadron (100 Bomb Group)

Type: Boeing B-17G (“Goin Jessies”)

Serial No:42-31051

Code: EP – K

Location: North of Hannover

Base: Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk.

Pilot: 2nd Lt Robert C. Koper 0-804460 Killed

Co Pilot: 2nd Lt Gordon C. Lien 0-755584 P.o.W.

Navigator:2nd Lt George H. Wing. Air Medal, Purple Heart. 0-692122 Killed

Bombardier: 2nd Lt Thomas O. Drinkwater 0-682066 P.o.W.

Radio/Op:S/Sgt. Michael J. Tanowigch Air Medal with Oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart.18058006 Killed

Engineer: Sgt. Charles P. Corea 32144962 P.o.W.

Ball Turrett: Sgt. Charles J. Luquette. Air Medal, Purple Heart. 18226230 Killed

Right Waist: Sgt. Ralph V. Zarzecki. Air Medal, Purple Heart. 33425880 Killed

Left Waist:Sgt. Arthur Frankel 12191378 Killed

Tail: Sgt. Bernard Sundin 39202524 Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Transcriber’s Notes Regarding This MACR: When this crew joined the 100th 24 Feb 44 the ROG was T/Sgt Weston H. Rodkey. On 6 MAR 44 T/Sgt Michael J. Tanowigch, Original 100th from the Sammy Barr Crew #4 was flying in place of Rodkey. The crew with the exception of Tanowigch (On his second tour) had flown four (4) missions. Koper ordered the crew to bail out, remaining to fly the aircraft during the bail out and was alone in the aircraft when it exploded. Crew was flying “Goin Jessies” from the 351st Bomb Squadron on the Berlin Mission.

An un-identified eyewitness reported as follows: “At 1213 hours north of Hanover an aircraft which may have been No: 051 was attacked by enemy fighters and was shot down. Four or five chutes were seen. This sighting is not definitely identified as No: 051 – it could have been No:170.”

                                  

                                  B-17 “Goin Jessies” (courtesy 100th Bomb Group Foundation)

              

Above left: Robert Koper with his wife. Right: Part of the crew, Robert Koper centre with Wes Rodke and Charles Corea (courtesy 100th Bomb Group Foundation)

             

                      

Burial details:

2nd Lt Robert C. Koper  No details, probably body returned to U.S.A. for family burial. From Wisconsin U.S.A.

2nd Lt George H. Wing. Ardennes American Cemetery, Nr Neupre, Liege, Belgium Plot A. Row 20. Grave 4, From New Hampshire, U.S.A.

S/Sgt. Michael J. Tanowigch. Ardennes American Cemetery, Nr Neupre, Liege, Belgium Plot B. Row 35. Grave 33, From Michigan, U.S.A.

Sgt. Charles J. Luquette. Ardennes American Cemetery, Nr Neupre, Liege, Belgium. Plot B Row 31 Grave 41. From Texas, U.S.A.

Sgt. Ralph V. Zarzecki. Ardennes American Cemetery, Nr Neupre, Liege, Belgium. Plot B Row 31 Grave 46. From Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Sgt. Arthur Frankel. No details, probably body returned to U.S.A. for family burial. From New York, U.S.A.

Sgt. Bernard Sundin. Ardennes American Cemetery, Nr Neupre, Liege, Belgium. Plot C Row 8 Grave 3. From Washington, U.S.A. 

Further information on American War deaths. 

Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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