Memorial to 7 killed during WWII
August 2, 2003
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Seven Army Air Corps members killed during a World War II bombing mission will be remembered at a ceremony Monday on the North Sea island of Borkum.
Two survivors, Sgt. Kazmer Rachak, the engineer on the mission, and Lt. Quentin Ingerson, the navigator, arrived in Germany on Friday to attend the ceremony.
The men were part of the 832nd Bomb Squadron of the 486th Bomb Group, a B-17 squadron making regular bombing runs into Germany from Sudbury, England.
On Aug. 4, 1944, two of the B-17s collided after being hit by enemy flak over Hamburg, Germany. Rachak and Ingerson bailed out of the plane and were taken captive when they landed on Borkum Island, just west of the Netherlands.
The other seven crewmembers survived initially after the plane made a belly landing on the island. However, Nazis murdered them after parading the airmen through the city.
Rachak and Ingerson knew their fellow crewmembers had died on Borkum, but didn't know until last October that they had been murdered, Rachak said by telephone Friday from the Bremen, Germany, airport.
Approached about attending the memorial ceremony, arranged by Borkum residents, Rachak said he initially didn’t want to go.
“I had mixed feelings to begin with,” Rachak, 83, said. “But I realized that the people who made this possible aren’t from my generation. And it’s some kind of closure for me.”
Rachak traveled from Denver, and Ingerson, 80, from Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Also attending the ceremony is Norma Newson, whose brother, 2nd Lt. William J. Myers, died on Borkum.
Along with Rachak and Ingerson, the airmen being honored are: 2nd Lt. Harvey M. Walthall, pilot; Myers, co-pilot; 2nd Lt. Howard S. Graham, bombardier; Sgt. Kenneth Faber, radioman; Sgt. James W. Danno, ball gunner; Sgt. William F. Dold, waist gunner; and Sgt. William W. Lambertus, tail gunner.
A new monument to the men of the 486th will be unveiled Monday evening. For more information on the mission, go to: http://www.486th.org/BS832/Walthall.htm