|W. F. Hahn|
|Veteran Repair Crew Loses Man O' War on 14th Mission; Eau Claire Man in Unit Cited|
|AN 8TH AAF BOMBER COMMAND STATION, England—Thirteen
times the ground crew found the Man 0' War in its regular
position in the formation, as the flight circled the field on its return
from combat. Thirteen times these men felt the pride of their part in
the winning of the war. But on its 14th combat mission, Man 0'
War failed to return. Such losses are expected—but they
are always difficult to accept.
No other ship will mean so much as did the Man 0' War to Technical Sergeant W. F. Hahn of Eau Claire, WI and his assistants, Staff Sergeant Samuel Stearn of Cumberland, MD; Sergeant David E. Beam of Shelby, NC; Corporal Theodore J. Bohenek of New York City; and Private Martin P. Koski of Jersey City, NJ, the team that recently received a citation from the commanding officer of this 8th Air Force Bomber Base for their outstanding maintenance skill as ground crew mechanics on the Man 0' War, as well as another Fort, Jolly Roger.
These army-trained bomber mechanics have sent their ships out on 17 missions over Germany and Nazi-controlled countries. Only once has one been forced by mechanical failure to return to the base before reaching the target. On that occasion, the trouble was caused by an internal defect which could not have been detected beforehand.
Until her 14th mission, the Fortress Man 0' War was a lucky ship. The huge bomber suffered only nine small flak holes, while plowing her way through Nazi anti-aircraft fire and fighting off hordes of German fighters. Besides dropping many tons of bombs upon Hitler's war factories, the Fort was credited with shooting down several Nazi pursuit ships, three of them on one mission.
When the Man 0' War was flying missions nearly every day, Technical Sergeant Hahn and his assistants, who have worked together since their training period, kept her in condition by working at night. They did most of their sleeping during the day, while the ship was carrying its load of destruction over Nazi Europe.
Every time the flying crew took Man O' War off the ground on practice and combat missions, the mechanics were certain the Fort was in the best flying shape, yet they always "sweated out" the return.
They "sweated out" heartbreak on the fourteenth. It was one too many.
Technical Sergeant Hahn is the son of Mrs. Anna C. Hahn of 506 Grand Avenue West, Eau Claire, WI. He studied air mechanics at Chanute Field, IL. His brother, Lieutenant Colonel C. O. Hahn, is stationed at Randolph Field, TX.
Staff Sergeant Samuel Stearn, Assistant Crew Chief, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Stearn of 464 Baltimore Avenue, Cumberland, MD. His wife, Mrs. Erma Stearn, and son, Terry, 18 months, live at the same address. Sergeant Stearn studied air mechanics at Keesler Field, MS and at the Lockheed-Vega Factory School in Burbank, CA.
Sergeant David E. Beam, 22, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Beam of Shelby, NC. He received his mechanic training at Amarillo Field, TX and at Lockheed-Vega Plant in Burbank, CA.
Corporal Theodore J. Bohenek is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Bohenek of 616 East 9th Street, New York City. He attended air mechanic schools at Amarillo Field, TX and the Douglas Factory School in Long Beach, CA.
[NOTE: This article did not contain background information on Private Martin F. Koski, also mentioned in the article]