Staff Sergeant Cecil Aubrey Baker

Some Gave All

Staff Sergeant Baker, Cecil Aubrey (18198488).

Baker was born 24 June 1924 in Hamilton, Texas. He was the son of Ira Edgar and Bertha Elma (Vick) Baker, the oldest of seven children. He graduated from Shive High School. Baker enlisted in the Army Air Corps 17 October 1942 at San Antonio, Texas. He trained in Arizona, Nevada and Texas before going overseas. He was assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force. The 349th was based at Station 139, Thorpe Abbotts, England from 8 June 1943 through the end of the war. The Thrasher crew arrived 31 December 1944. Baker was Killed in Action 3 March 1945. Awards include the Air Medal and Purple Heart Medal.

Gold Star Mother: Bertha Elma (nee Vick) Baker. Born 17 October 1899 in Lavaca County, Texas. Died 13 April 1990 in Roswell, New Mexico.

S/Sgt. Baker’s death was registered with the National Jewish Welfare Board, Bureau of War Records. (source: WWII Jewish Servicemen’s Cards, 1942-1947)

  • Eighty-one B-17s hit the marshalling yards at Frankfurt, 5 January 1945
  • Exact target unknown(1. bridges at Cologne 2. rail bridges at Cologne), 10 January
  • 367 B-17s hit rail bridget at Mainz, 13 January
  • 186 B-17s hit targets at Derben, 14 January
  • Exact target unknown, hit marshalling yards just inside Germany [possibly Rheine], 20 January
  • B-17s hit the Tempelhof marshalling yard at Berlin, 3 February 1945
  • One surviving crew member listed North Berlin, 8 February; however, 150 B-17s were recalled due to heavy clouds covering England and targets.
  • 364 B-17s hit the marshalling yard at Kassel, 28 February 1945
  • Sixty-one B-17s hit targets at Brunswick, 3 March 1945. A total of five are lost across all sorties in that area.

Final Mission

Target, Saturday 3 March 1945: Büssing-NAG Vereinigte Nutzkraftwagenwerke AG (Bussing National Auto Company United Truck Corporation), Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany. Bussing primarily manufactured 4.5-ton trucks. In 1945 the labor force was approximately 5,827 workers, fifty percent were foreign-born and women made up about sixteen percent of the laborers.

Crew of Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, 44-8220, 3 March 1945

  • 1st Lt. Jack W. Thrasher, KIA
  • Sgt. Cecil A. Baker, KIA
  • 2nd Lt Willis R. McGuire KIA
  • 2nd Lt. Charles S. Bayha, POW
  • 2nd Lt. Gerald A. Rimmel, POW
  • 2nd Lt. Harry F. Bott, POW
  • S/Sgt. Thomas C. Browning, POW
  • S/Sgt.Albert L. Egsieker, POW
  • S/Sgt. Ray U. Muffley, POW

1st Lt. Jack W. Thrasher (O-825003), born 22 September 1922 in Texas. Son of Thomas Lee and Mattie (White) Thrasher. Stateside residence Richmond, Virginia. Position on aircraft, Pilot. Awards include Air Medal and Purple Heart Medal. KIA

2nd Lt. Willis Ralston McGuire (O-2060827), born 9 July 1924 in Bay Shore, New York. Son of Percival Aloysius and Flora F. (Tuthill) McGuire. Stateside residence Babylon, New York. Position on aircraft, Radar navigator. Awards include Air Medal and Purple Heart Medal. KIA

2nd Lt. Charles Steuber Bayha (O-776218). Born 28 March 1921 in Pasco, Washington. Son of John A. and Doris (Hutton) Bayha. Position on aircraft, Copilot; assigned to 418th Bomb Squadron. Died 30 May 2002 in Tacoma, Washington. (photo,Contact: Hemet 43H-44G, Ryan Aeronautical Company). POW

2nd Lt. Gerald Allen Rimmel (O-2068753). Born 30 March 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri. Son of Esther R. (Hitt) and Milton Rimmel. He joined the AAC 28 October 1942. Position on aircraft, Navigator. Awards include the Purple heart Medal. Died 5 May 1994. Rimmel was registered with the National Jewish Welfare Board, Bureau of War Records. (source: WWII Jewish Servicemen’s Cards, 1942-1947) (photo, 1940 Soldan High School, St. Louis; age sixteen).  POW

2nd Lt. Harry F. Bott (O-777299). Born 24 March 1918 in Bronx, New York. He enlisted in the AAC 28 May 1944. Son of Sophie B. (Markert) and Harry Frank Bott. Bott was previously on 2nd Lt. Denzil Naar crew that arrived at Thorpe Abbotts 5 October 1944. He had survived a controlled crash with that crew. Position on aircraft, Bombardier. Incarcerated at Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Germany, liberated by the 14th Armored Division 29 April 1945. Bott died 16 October 2008 in Summit, New Jersey.

S/Sgt. Thomas Claude Browning Jr (18098920). Born 15 February 1925 in Athens, Texas. Son of Fannie (Roby) and Thomas C. Browning. Enlisted in the Army 8 February 1943. Position on aircraft, Engineer. Liberated in mid-1945. Died 12 January 2014.

S/Sgt. Albert Lloyd Egsieker (13068544). Born 18 September 1921 in St. Louis, Missouri. Son of Lydia A. (Wind) and Albert Herman Egsieker. Attended Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania in 1941. Enlisted in the Army 15 May 1942 at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Position on aircraft, Radio Operator. He died 25 March 1970 in Dekalb, Georgia. (photo,Flight, Curtis Field, Brady, Texas, July 1943). POW

S/sgt. Ray Ulysses Muffley Jr (19022708). Born 27 December 1918 in Bellingham, Washington. Son of Florence (Rhodes) and Ray U. Muffley. Enlisted in the Army Army Corps 10 September 1942 at McChord Field, Washington. Class 44-18, Flexible Gunnery School, Kingman Army Air Field, Arizona. Position on aircraft, Waist Gunner. Died 29 May 1986. (photo, Kingman Field Flexible Gunnery School Student Personnel- 1944) POW

Accounts from witnesses state Thrasher’s B-17 was attacked by “jet” fighters. In response to the three American bomber formations on 3 March, twenty-nine Me 262 German jets launched. One of the Me 262s that attacked the Braunschweig group was piloted by Captain Hauptmann Heinz Gutmann assigned to Staffelkapitän 9. / Jagdgeschwader 7 (9./JG 7). JG 7) Nowotny was the first operational jet fighter wing in the world, made up entirely of jet aircraft.

Gutmann was an ace and holder of the Iron Cross. His unit was stationed at Brandenburg-Briest in March 1945. Prior to flying the Me 262, Gutmann was a decorated bomber pilot. On 3 March he probably downed one of the B-17s. The possibility that it was Thrasher’s plan is speculation, but the odds are very good (one in three) that he was the man that sent Thrasher, Baker and McGuire to their deaths. In dark irony, Gutmann was hit by return fire from the American bombers and plummeted to his death near Üfingen. Dettum, where Thrasher’s plane went down, is approximately eleven miles from
Üfingen.

Missing Air Crew Report

Bombs fall on Berlin, 3 February 1945

The 100th BG flew its last mission of the war on 20 April 1945. The war in Europe ended on 8 May 1945.

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