Lieutenant Arvid A. Malvik and the Crew of “Betty Lou’s Buggy”

Betty Lou’s Buggy # 42-31579 Kneeling from left to right:Unknown, Unknown, Lt. Arvid A. Malvik, Unknown. Standing from left to right: Unknown, S/Sgt. John C. Breckenridge, Unknown, Unknown, S/Sgt. Athorn V. Shanks, Terence “Terry” R. Colman.

A brief history of the Malvik crew, 1944: Lt. Malvik reported minor damage to aircraft on the Leipzig-Aschersleben mission of 20 February 1944. Also, minor damage reported on 21 February, mission over Achmer, Germany. Required action included “jettisoned bombs 10 miles N. Osnabruck.” On the mission over Bunde, Germany on 22 February, Lt. Malvik reported no damage to aircraft and no injuries to crew. The same was true of the mission over Schweinfurt, Germany on 24 February. On the Frankfurt, Germany mission of 2 March, Malvik reported no damage to aircraft and no injuries to crew. The Wilhelmshaven mission of 3 March, also resulted in no damage to aircraft or injuries to personnel. However, the plane received minor battle damage on the Cologne sortie the following day. On 6 March, the plane received minor battle damage over Hoppegarten (Berlin). On 16 March, the mission over Lechfeld, Germany ended with no damage to aircraft or injuries to crew. The 18 March mission to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany resulted in minor battle damage to the aircraft. No damage to aircraft or injuries to crew were reported on the 20 March mission over Frankfurt, Germany. Minor battle damage occurred to the aircraft while on the 22 March mission over Berlin. on 23 March the crew flew a mission over Ahlen, Germany and reported no damage to plane or injuries to crew. Malvik reported minor damage due to combat on the 26 March mission over Marquis-Mimoyecques, France. On the 28 March run over Reims-Champagne, France, the aircraft received major damage when the “wing bracing and supercharger were hit by flak.” The aircraft took minor damage on 11 April over Stettin, Germany. Malvik reported that the bombing run over Schweinfurt, Germany on 13 April resulted in minor damage to plane but bombing was successful. Minor damage occurred as a result of combat on the Oranienburg, Germany sortie on 18 April. On 19 April, Malvik reported that major damage was caused to the aircraft when it was hit by 20mm fire, over Eschwege, Germany. On 20 April, the crew flew a mission over Croisette/Beauvoir, France. On this mission he reported that the plane received minor damage and that there was one “casualty” among the crew. He did not provide further information on the crew member. On the 22 April sortie over Hamm, Germany, Malvik took over the group lead after the group leader, Capt. Hesse went down. On 26 April, minor damage occurred “flak holes in ship” over Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany. On 27 April the aircraft again received (unspecified) major battle damage over La Glacerie, France.

Lt. Arvid Andreas Malvik (12075638) was born 21 December 1920 in Trondjhem, Norway. He was the son of Peter Borghild (Reitan) Malvik. Four-year-old Arvid arrived in the United States 3 February 1925 aboard the SS Stavangerfjord, along with his mother and younger sister Inger Marie.They met their father in New Jersey, who came to America in April 1919. Malvik grew up in Bergen, New Jersey. His father was a carpenter and taught him the trade. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps 6 April 1942 at New York City. Malvik married Betty Lou Blacki 9 May 1943 in Cochise, Arizona, who the plane was named for. He died 26 May 2004 at West Milford, New Jersey. (Photo of Stavangerfjord on left.)

 

Lt. Leonard W. Hedlund, (Copilot) was born 20 January 1919 in Mcpherson, Kansas. He was the son of Waldemar and Inez (Johnson) Hedlund. On 1 May 1944, 2nd Lt. Hedlund joined the 322nd BS, from the 324th BS. On 30 May 1944 he was promoted to 1st Lt. On 3 June he was listed as “personnel completing operational tours.”
On 16 August 1952, he married Alice L. Kruger in McPherson. He died 18 January 2002 at the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. (personal information not confirmed)

S/sgt. Terence Richard “Terry” Colman (11084985) was born 6 October 1922 in Proctor, Vermont. He was the son of Harold E. and Marietta Etthea (Gibson) Colman. He graduated from Williamstown High School and then Vermont School of Agriculture (Vermont Technical College) in 1941. Enlisted in the Army Air Corps 22 September 1942 at Rutland, Vermont. Colman served as waist gunner on the crew. He completed twenty-five successful missions. Awarded the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross (according to family). Colman was discharged 21 October 1945. He married Gladys M. Gentry 21 December 1945 at Windsor, Vermont. He retired from Blodgett Supply Company in 1989, as the sales manager. Colman died 27 February 2010 at Dover, New Hampshire.

S/Sgt John C Breckenridge (tail gunner). On the 25 February 1944 mission, Augsburg, Germany, Lt Malvik reported that a minor injury occurred when a “Piece of flak hit S/Sgt. John C. Breckenridge.” Also, Breckenridge and Colman appear to have flown with the 322nd BS in 1944. Both are listed in the May 1944 report as “completing tour of operations. This action may have been with the Capt. William S. Burtt crew. (Unable to confirm any personal information at this time)

S/Sgt. Shanks received a minor injury when he was “cut and bruised by radio room door when bomb bay doors opened; mission over Frankfurt, Germany 11 February 1944. Reported by Lt. Malvik. Shanks was the radio operator aboard the Malvik plane. Shanks is believed to be Athorn Vernon Shanks, born 24 March 1918 in Paris, Illinois. He was the son of Charles A. and Callie M. (Galloway) Shanks. He enlisted 24 September 1942 at Chicago. In May 1944 he was awarded his first Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air medal while serving with the 401st BS, 91st BG. Daily reports showed that he joined that squadron from the 324th BS on the first of the month. Shanks was discharged 10 September 1945. He died 23 January 1989 in Illinois.

Betty Lou’s Buggy #42-31579, last plane in column. Photo may have been taken in May or June 1944.
American Air Museum in Britain states, “crash landed RAF Chilbolton” on 27 April 1944. Repairs were made and aircraft was flying again by the following month. This was Malvik and crew’s last mission and the plane was said to have received “major” damage over target.

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