Master Sergeant | Marine Corps


As soon as Boot Hill  hit the French coast, the mission turned sour.  The ball turret failed when the oxygen valve froze over after refilling the tank, and the leader and wingman had to turn back across the channel.  Within minutes  of flying inland, flak bursts had torn up the right stabilizer.  At that point, fighters came in level at five and seven o'clock, shredding six inch holes in the wings as Boot Hill approached the target, and as soon as possible the bomb doors open and the 5000 pound payload tumbled to the ground.

Flak hit engines two and three and black smoke billowed out, slowing their speed to 150 miles per hour and forcing Boot Hill to fall out of formation.  A shell ripped through the fuselage killing the tail gunner, Andrew Jorinscay.  Another 20mm knocked the left waist gunner, Bill Martin, into the ball turret, and a .30-caliber round tore through his leg.  He propped it on an ammunition box and kept firing at the fighter zipping in from five o'clock.

All the while, the top turret gunner, Herman Marshall, and Glen Wells, who had abandoned his radio to take up a gun, were firing at the same plane.  It turned off smoking when another Fw screamed in from seven o'clock with cannons and guns blazing, perforating Glen's radio room and sending .30 caliber rounds through his clothes and between his legs.

Glen was reloading when the pilot, Louis Haltom, rang the bell and gave the order to bail out.  Glen glanced around at the ship to see she was nearly shot in half where the radio room met the ball turret; the wings were shot to pieces and she was barely moving with two engines out and dumping fuel and oil.

Glen met the right waist gunner, Niles Loudenslager, and they tried to pry open the waist door that had been bent badly by flak.  It was jammed shut, but they peeled it open enough for Glen to stick his head out.  He finally squeezed out enough when Niles gave him a good push, and he tumbled away from Boot Hill towards the French farmland 18,000 feet below.


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