Carl B. Yerian, Mission July 12, 1944

Thomas Hyduke and Carl Yerian

photo from John Toth

See bottom story of this picture.

Our mission on July 12th was to bomb a bridge over the Var River near Nice in southern France. The intelligence briefing indicated that the enemy only had nineteen heavy guns in the target area and it should be an easy target. There was cloud cover over the Mediterranean, but the coast was clear and the bomb run was successful with direct hits on the bridge. While over the target our plane received a direct hit from flak in the leading edge of the left wing. The gas lines and all the electrical wiring was severed which caused both engines on the left side to stop. Due to the cut electrical wires we were not able to feather the props which left two inoperative engines windmilling and causing additional drag. The vacuum pumps which operated the gyro flight instruments were on these engines which left only basic needle, ball, and airspeed to control the descent through the clouds as we headed toward the island of Corsica. I landed on a French fighter base with the two remaining engines that were running.

Upon landing and surveying our situation, we found that another B-24 had crash landed on this base previously and it appeared that we could salvage parts necessary to repair our plane. The entire crew worked steadily on this project. We removed the leading edge of the damaged wing and I used my experience as a cable splicer to trace and splice each of the electrical wires together. Fuel lines were removed from the plane which we found and used to replace the damaged ones on our plane. One of the control cables which we replaced had to be shortened and we had a turn buckel welded at a French shop to make it fit.

On the evening of July 14th we had everything working except the left landing light and two minor instruments so we took off for our home base at San Pancrazio. We arrived after dark arid the runway was closed for repairs in preparation for a mission the following day. We were directed to a neighboring base, but since no one was flying at night, the Navy personnel at Taranto thought we were the enemy but we made it safely and were taken back to our base.

There was some discussion of a court martial for flying an aircraft that was not airworthy, but the maintenance officer was dispatched to inspect the plane and returned saying that we had done an exceptional job. As a result I was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.


I have a story that may be of interest in recording the history of the group.

A few years ago my employer [AT&T] was sponsoring the foundation of a web page for seniors. It included a memories gallery for WWII stories and I was asked to provide a story. The attached Var River Bridge story was provided and was carried on senior

A young man from Tucson read the story and was going through his late father's papers and discovered a note that his father was on a rough mission on the same date and had landed in Corsica. He called me and we determined that his father was the bombardier on this mission. His name was [John] Toth.

The young man and his mother drove from Tucson to Columbus Ohio to meet with me and gave me the attached picture that his father had taken of the engineer [Thomas Hyduke] and I installing the leading edge of the wing after the repairs had been made.

That is the rest of the story.


The website is NOT our site nor is it our endowment fund.

At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.

Also, the board approved a $5,000 donation to add to Ed Clendenin's $20,000 donation in the memory of his father. Together, these funds begin an endowment for the preservation of the 376 archives.

Donate directly to the 376 Endowment

To read about other endowment donation options, click here.

My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


NOTE change in month !!!

DATES: Oct 26-29, 2023

CITY:Tucson, AZ

HOTEL: Double Tree Suites Airport hotel

7051 South Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85756


Click here to read about the reunion details.

previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid

The Broken Wings of Zlatibor

The Liberandos

Three Crawford Brothers

Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior

376th Bomb Group Mission History

The Last Liberator

Full Circle

Shadows of Wings

Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War

I Survived Ploesti

A Measure of Life

Shot Down In Yugoslavia

Stories of My Life


Born in Battle

Bombardier's Diary

Lost Airmen

Langdon Liberando