The Marvin Ehrenberg Crew, 514th Bomb Squadron
by Stuart Young
(San Antonio, Texas)
The Ehrenberg Crew, 514th Squadron: Kneeling from left to right: Pete Trombetta, Ball Gunner; William Walter, Flight Engineer; Jim Merrill, Tail Gunner; Albert Johnson, Nose Gunner; Frank McKeeman, Radio Operator; and Ed Lethcoe, Upper Gunner. Standing from left to right: Marvin Ehrenberg, Pilot; Hal Heist, Navigator; and Robert Kolb, Copilot.
The bombardier, Frank N. Kautzman, Jr., missed the photo and was later shot down on Christmas day 1944, while flying a mission with the Lt. Donald D. Williams crew to bomb the Hall, Austria, Main Marshalling Yards. He became a POW. With the loss of Kautzman, Hal Heist took over the bombardier’s job in addition to his navigator duties. My father, Alfred W. “Brigham” Young, Jr. replaced Frank McKeeman as the radio operator. McKeeman had a close call with a flak hit and took a job as a truck driver. Young flew 17 missions with the Ehrenberg crew beginning on February 22, 1945, after his original crew, the McGlynn crew, was shot down on February 7, 1945, and was declared MIA. He then flew on three missions as a spare until joining his new crew. Jim Merrill, the tail gunner, was hit in the arm by flak on April 11, 1945, while throwing out chaff during a mission to an Isarco River Railroad Bridge six miles NE of Bolzano in northern Italy. He remained in the hospital while the rest of the crew, except for Young, flew north to Torretta, Italy, to the 484th Bombardment Group (H) after the 376th Bombardment Group (H) ceased operations following their last combat mission on April 15, 1945. The crew flew three missions out of Torretta with the 484th before flying home in a B-24 via the Azores and Saint Johns, Newfoundland. Their B-24 landed at Bradley Field, Connecticut, and was the first one back after combat in Europe ended. As for my father, he was directed to return home and on April 19, 1945, joined hundreds of other 376th personnel aboard the USS West Point in Taranto Harbor. They were welcomed aboard by the comedian Red Skelton and safely arrived back in the United States on April 29, 1945, docking in Norfolk, Virginia. (Photo and crew identification courtesy of Hal Heist and family).