Martin B-26B-20-MA Marauder
SN: 41-31677
Squadron Code: FW-C

First Sortie
Last Sortie
2 Aug 43
6 Aug 44

Crew Chief:  T/Sgt. George J. Vasumpur
Asst. Crew Chief:  Cpl. Arthur O. Dahl

        Jisther was one of the original cadre of B-26s that formed the 556th Bomb. Squadron. The crew to which the aircraft was originally assigned and that flew the aircraft from the United States to England was:

1st Lt.
1st Lt.
2nd Lt.
James E. Anderson
Albert W. Wells
George J. Seeley
James G. McLoughlin, Jr.
Frank J. Sicola
Norman A. Chicoine
George J. Vasumpur

        Jisther flew a total of  95 sorties. On August 6, 1944 the aircraft was scheduled to participate in a mission against the Blois-Bois de Blois Airfield in France. It was the first mission for pilot 1st. Lt. James H. Brantley; Lt. Loren Hinton, a veteran 556th combat pilot, was acting as instructor and copilot. Shortly after Lt. Brantley began his taxi roll the flight engineer attempted to load the plane's Very pistol, located overhead and directly behind the copilot's seat. While inserting the coded recognition flare cartridge into the Very pistol the flare accidentally discharged into the pilot's half of the cockpit. The fireball from the live flare ricocheted about wildly causing much confusion in the smoke-filled compartment. The flare's fireball came to rest on Lt. Brantley, causing sever burns to his leg. In his great anxiety to escape the ordeal, Lt. Brantley opened his overhead plexiglas hatch and exited the aircraft. The aircraft continued to taxi out of control, causing Brantley to slip from atop the plane into a rotating propeller, killing him instantly. Lt. Hinton cut the engine switches, but could not bring the rolling aircraft to a stop because the brake pedals were located on the pilot's left side position. The rest of the crew escaped the coasting B-26 by exiting via the bomb-bay and the waist gun windows and escaped with minor injuries. Jisther finally came to a stop after running into the front of a nearby squadron hangar. It was later salvaged for parts.