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United States Army Air Crew
Lost In Germany - 19 May 1944
Courtsy of Brian H. Mahoney
President, Heritage League of the Second Air Division (USAAF)

When  young Enrico Schwartz, a businessman originally from the old East Germany, was asked in the mid 1990s by an American colleague to place a wreath in the Netherlands American Cemetery (Margraten) at its Wall of the Missing, he became intrigued at the notion of an air crew shot down over land but somehow never found. His curiosity and good spiritual motivation, along with an amazing amount of persistence and luck, allowed stunning closure, 58 years later, for the families of Crew #802of the 858th BS of the ill-fated original 492nd Bomb Group.

Enrico and his partner Swetlana Reimer founded the Missing Allied Air Crew Research Team, and to date, through diligence and adversity, have discovered the remains of two different crews from the 492nd. The positively identified remains of the Lloyd Herbert crew were laid to rest in two shared caskets on November 18, 2002, at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, following a service in the Old Post Chapel of adjoining US Army Fort Myer. (Remains of the other crew, that of Lieutenat Dave McMurray, are in the U.S. Army Mortuary Affairs' identification process, and will likely have similar ceremonial closure in the next year or so. Also of the 858th, they went down on the July 7, 1944, in the vicinity of Westeregeln, Germany.)

All of the families of the Herbert crew  were represented at the funeral home visitation (Sunday, November 17th), the funeral and the burial. While some of the family survivors have been in contact in the recent years since the initial discovery of the remains, most of the 100 relatives who gathered had never heard of the other families, none had met. The Army, to which branch of service all of these heroes belonged when the were KIA on May 19th, 1944, provided great logistical, spiritual and cer emonial support, while a handful of interested friends in the 492nd Bomb Group Association, the 2nd Air Division Association, and MAACRT were resources for quiet support and historical information at this unusual and very emotionally laden reunion. Most of the family members were unaware that active associations had sprung up among surviving veterans of the lethal air war over Europe some 60 years ago, and few knew that their fallen relatives were in the vanguard of the singularly horrific losses of the group that had the highest sustained three month loss record for the Eighth. The Army sponsored transportation to Washington for three from each family and accommodated them at a hotel in Arlington, which became the informal meeting ground starting on the afternoon of Saturday the 16th. No one knew what to expect under the circumstances, but a palpable sense of family arose over the weekend, warm in proportion to the artifice of the historical fact that united them, deep in proportion to the the sacrifice they endured.

On Sunday afternoon, 492nd BG Association leader Bill Beasley headed an informal ceremony to bring the relatives together and present MAACRT with a memento of appreciation. The plaque beneath the pewter B-24 bore this Old Testament passage (rendered in German for Enrico and Swetlana, and symbolic of healing peace): ?...and the young men shall utterly fall:  but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.? [Isaiah 40, v. 30-31]

At the visitation on Sunday evening, Kathy Nursall Jensen spoke extemporaneously about her very real relationship with the father she never knew. A young Master Sergeant humbly welcomed the families with the simple observation,
from his experience in these matters, that 58 years would disappear in a heartbeat at graveside the next day. The collected mourners warmly acknowledged the woman from Mortuary Affairs who had shepherded the DNA identification process, and Enrico and Swetlana.

The funeral and horse-drawn caisson through the cemetery, on a glorious crisp fall day, indeed brought the older generation back, and made time stand still for the rest.  All four siblings of one of the gunners were present, and one of the sisters remembered receiving 'the telegram' at age 16 as if it had been yesterday.  One could not look at the Honor Guard and Marching Band personnel and not think of their youth, their availability to make the supreme sacrifice today, or imagine, as we heard three volleys of seven shots, that they were  as  keenly  conscious  of  the  felt
presence of pilot Lloyd Herbert, co-pilot William Covington, bombardier Harold  Bachman,  navigator Timothy Tarpey, engineer Joseph Powell, radio operator  Lawrence  Nursall, and gunners Marshal Johnson, Vincent Kalata, and Louis Brooks.


Posted: 24 August 2003  Updated: 2 August 2005
Harold M. Bachman
Second Lieutenant, United States Army Air Forces

O-699111
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New York
Died: May 20, 1945
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

New York State Flag
Louis W. Brooks
Sergeant, United States Army Air Forces
Purple Heart Medal
William L. Covington
Second Lieutenant, United States Army Air Forces

O-816245
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: North Carolina
Died: May 20, 1945
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

North Carolina State Flag

Air MedalPurple Heart Medal

George F. Guy, Jr.
United States Army Air Forces
Purple Heart Medal
Lloyd H. Herbert
First Lieutenant, United States Army Air Forces

O-811381
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Maryland
Died: May 20, 1945
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart 

Maryland State Flag
 
 

Air MedalPurple Heart Medal

Marshall W. Johnson
Sergeant, United States Army Air Forces
Purple Heart Medal
Vincent J. Kalata
Sergeant, United States Army Air Forces

16145063
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Illinois
Died: May 19, 1944
Buried at: Plot A Row 29 Grave 10
Ardennes American Cemetery
Neupre, Belgium
Awards: Purple Heart

Illinois State Flag
 
 

Purple Heart Medal

Laurence H. Nursall
United States Army Air Forces

39549573
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: California
Died: May 19, 1944
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

California State Flag
 

Air MedalPurple Heart Medal

Joseph C. Powell
Sergeant, United States Army Air Forces

18198212
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Texas
Died: May 19, 1944
Buried at: Plot D Row 14 Grave 31
Ardennes American Cemetery
Neupre, Belgium
Awards: Purple Heart

Texas State Flag
 
 
 

Purple Heart Medal

Timothy N. Tarpey
Second Lieutenant, United States Army Air Forces

O-696273
858th Bomber Squadron, 492nd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: May 19, 1944
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

New Jersey State Flag
 
 

Air MedalPurple Heart Medal

US Army Air Crew: 19 May 1944 Gravesite PHOTO June 2003
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003