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Old 16th May 2017, 03:17
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Eagle0025 Eagle0025 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Eagle0025
Re: Losses 474th FG at 13th March 1945

Hello Oliver,
As historian of the 474th FG Association, the Remagen operation is one I have researched as much as possible. In particular, I have attempted to gather as much information on the 13 March 1945 crash sites of Lts. Wheeler, Ogger, Byers, and Riggs. Lt. Richard V. Riggs was last seen chasing an Fw-190 east into Germany. Riggs was later confirmed killed in action. His crash site (P-38J-15-LO, s/n 42-104418, coded 7Y-C) was located just north of the village of Eichen, Germany where civilians witnessed his shoot down by German fighters. They recovered his body and buried him in the local cemetery. Two 429th FS Blue Flight P-38s, flown by Lts. James Irby and Ralph Byers, flew into each other as they were spreading out to attack. Irby’s P-38 (coded 7Y-V) sustained significant damage but Jim was able to limp his crippled ship back to home base at Florennes, Belgium. Byer’s P-38 (P-38J-10-LO, s/n 42-68092 coded 7Y-J) tumbled wildly out of control after having its entire horizontal stabilizer shorn off, but it was still hoped that Ralph was able to bail out. This was not to be as he would be found dead with his crashed P-38 near Roniger-Hof, Germany, just east of Remagen.
As for 430th FS pilots Wheeler and Ogger, I am still looking for more details on their particular mid-air.
Luckily, both pilots managed to bail out successfully. Dick Ogger landed unhurt on the west bank of the Rhine and radioed from a nearby tank that he was OK. Roy Wheeler had a tougher time as he got banged up and bruised when his parachute snagged on the canopy. He was able to free himself and drifted down, almost landing on top of the IX TAC Commander, Major General Pete Quesada, who had been observing the ongoing dogfight. The General graciously offered to give him accommodations for the night, but Roy respectfully declined the offer in favor of being with someone slightly closer in rank to his own. Both Wheeler and Ogger would return to Florennes the next day none the worse for their experiences. Identifying their P-38s has been difficult at best since both pilots bailed out OK and landed within friendly lines, so no MACRs were ever written. During my research, I believe one of the P-38s involved may have been P-38J-25-LO, s/n 44-23582 but I am still researching to confirm this. The same goes for their crash sites. From what little information I have, it is likely that both of these P-38s came down in the vicinity of Sinzig. Again, I am exploiting all possible sources to see if I can't get a more specific location for each one. Hope this helps.
Cheers, Gary Koch

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