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Discription: Information:
Full Name: Schams Bernard W
Service number: O-824910
Rank: First Lieutenant
Function: Co-Pilot
Birthdate & Place: 22 November 1922, Panama Canal Zone
Hometown: La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Age: 22
Education: High school
Family: Charles J. Schams (father) Wanda (Reahart) Schams (mother) Walter C. Schams (brother) Catherine Schams (sister) Evelyn E. Schams (sister) David F. Schams (brother) Karl J. Schams (brother) Wanad Reahart/Schams (wife)
Awards: Purple Heart ,Air Medal, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army Air Force Pilot badge, Presidential Unit Citation.
Cemetery: Henri Chapelle American cemetry Belgium, Plot W, Row O Grave #M, Wall Of Missing
Date of death: 17 December 1944
Place of Death: Rzymkowice, Poland
Status: MIA
Mission data: Serialnumber: 42-51941 Type: B-24J Destination: Odertal, Germany Mission: Bombing of the synthetic oil plant MACR: 10682


1st Lt Bernard W. Schams graduated from Aquinas High School.

He joined the Air Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve in La Crosse, Wisconsin on 26 Ocotber 1942. He trained at Arcadia, Florida, Gunter Field, Alabama and Blytheville, Arkansas whe he was commissioned on 12 March 1944. He was sent overseas in July 1944.

Before going overseas he was married to Wanad Reahart on 30 May 1944.

The Odertal oil plant was located in a part of Poland that was annexed by Nazi-Germany. The place is now called Zdzieszowice.

Statement of S/Sgt Kenje Ogata:
"I, Staff sergeant Kenje Ogata, 16037445, was ball turret gunner on an airplane in the same flight as first Lieutenant Theodore C. King, flying aircraft number 42-51941. On 17 December 1944, Lieutenant King was flying number two position, deputy flight leader, on a mission over the Odertal oil plant in Germany. Shortly after passing over the target the lead airplane seemed to be pulling out of the formation and lieutenant King, in the deputy lead position, moved to take over the lead. As Lieutenant King let down his tail hit the number one propeller of the lead ship, as it was coming back into its former position. I saw Lieutenant King’s airplane spiral down and go in a flat spin. The tail of Lieutenants King’s aircraft was sheared off. The weather was clear and just before the plane hit and burst in to flame I saw one parachute open. This was at about 1255 hours at approximately 50 28N, 18 04E, in Germany."

The plane that they collided with was 42-52045.

Only one crew member, S/Sgt Joseph Weisler, photographer, survived and was taken prisoner. The other 10 crew members are listed at the Tablets of the Missing at Henri-Chapelle.

In November 1947 and April 1948, an investigation team searched for the remains of the crew. No information pertaining the burial location of any of them could be found in German records. The interrogation of eye-witnesses and town officials were also without result. Evidence, however, indicated that the remains, if recovered, were interred in the POW cemetery at Lamsdorf (Łambinowice, Poland). Lamsdorf was previously the location of Stalag 2 and it is estimated that 460,000 dead of several nationalities were interred there in mass graves of about 1800 bodies each. Officials stated that all burial were made without clothing or identifications of any kind. In November 1947 several graves were opened but in no way any Americans could be identified. In April 1948 permission to enter the area was refused because the cemetery site was being used as a Russian anti-aircraft artillery range.

In the case of one crew member, S/Sgt Howard G. Miller, records contain a letter from a Polish civilian who wrote to the widow that he saw the crash and that Miller was killed as a result of parachute failure. He claimed that Miller was buried in a forest nearby.

The bottom picture was taken in high school in 1941.