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John Milton Martin, 387BG 558BS

S/Sgt John M Martin s/no xxxxx470

Lt Robert L Taylor and his crew were assigned to the 558th Bomb Squadron in September 1944, actual date not given.

Sadly the 387th BG records do not include full crew manifests and only the first pilot name is recorded on each mission. Typically a new pilot would fly as co-pilot on one or two missions to get a feel for combat flying before flying with his own crew.

I have pieced together all the missions that Lt Taylor flew as first pilot, I cannot guarantee that S/Sgt Martin was on board each of these missions as crew changes did occur but this is as near as we can get, and he almost certainly flew on most if not all of them. As can be seen aircraft 43-34349 KX-W, the one they were shot down in, was very much their aircraft.

Date Target Aircraft Flown

27th Sept 1944 Foret de Parroy Troop Conc 41-35016 KX-K
28th Sept 1944 Foret de Parroy Troop Conc 42-96164 KX-J
2nd Oct 1944 Herbach Defended Village 41-31865 KX-C ‘Hot Rock’
5th Oct 1944 Duren (recalled weather) 43-34153 KX-P
14th Oct 1944 Trier/Pfalzel RR Bridge 41-35016 KX-K
9th Nov 1944 Dieuze Road Junction & Barracks 41-34965 KX-Q ‘Patches’
18th Nov 1944 Weisweiler Strong Points 41-31659 KX-B
30th Nov 1944 Zweibrucken Supply Depot 43-34349 KX-W
5th Dec 1944 Roken Road Junction 43-34349 KX-W
9th Dec 1944 Lebach Defended Village 43-34349 KX-W
11th Dec 1944 Dellfeld RR Sidings 43-34349 KX-W
23rd Dec 1944 Mayen RR Bridge 43-34349 KX-W
24th Dec 1944 Nideggen Communications Center 43-34349 KX-W
25th Dec 1944 St Vith Defended Village 43-34349 KX-W
1st Jan 1945 Bullay RR Bridge 42-96264 KX-L ‘Lorelei Jr’
2nd Jan 1945 Badmunster RR Bridge 44-67889 KX-B
16th Jan 1945 Erkelenz Communications Center 43-34349 KX-W
22nd Jan 1945 Dasburg Hwy Br idge 43-34349 KX-W
25th Jan 1945 Sinzig RR Bridge 43-34349 KX-W Shot Down by Flak

Another way to track a crew-members progress was through the award of the Air Medal and subsequent Oak Leaf Clusters for each 5 missions completed, naturally there was a delay between the actual 5th mission flown and the subsequent award given, those for S/Sgt John M Martin were as follows:

Air Medal 20th Oct 1944 as per General Order No 19, 9th Bombardment Division. (rank Sgt)
OLC to AM 6th Dec 1944 as per GO No 37, 9th BD (rank Sgt)
2nd OLC Not recorded
3rd OLC 13th Jan 1945 as per GO No 6, 9th BD (rank S/Sgt)

This would indicate that he completed at least 20 combat missions, the final total being between 21 and 24 missions as there is no mention of a 4th OLC being awarded, which would normally be shown in the records even if a person was MIA.

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