Castle, Frederick Walker

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Castle, Frederick Walker
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Castle, Frederick Walker, born on 14-10-1908 in Fort McKinley, Manila Philippines, was a General officer in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Among his godfathers in the West Point Class of 1907, also stationed in the Philippines, was 2nd Lieutenant “Happy”Henry Arnold who would go on to become General of the Army.  Shortly after the United States entered World War II, Brigadier General Ira Eaker was made head of the prospective heavy bomber force slated to be stationed in England. Castle was recommended by Arnold as an addition for this Forces. Like many staff officers, Castle  wanted a combat command and promoted himself to General Ira Eaker to obtain one. On 19-06-1943, Castle was given command of the 94th Bomb Group at Rougham. Castle continued as commander of the 94th Bomb Group until 14-04-1944, when he was made commander of the 4th Combat Bomb Wing, a higher echelon that included his former group command.
 In November, his wing command was increased from three to five groups, and on, 20-11-1944 he was promoted to Brigadier General. On 24-12-1944, Castle flew as co-pilot on the lead aircraft, the B-17 44-8444 ‘Treble Four’ of the 487th Bomb Group , of the 3rd Air Division, 8th U.S. Army Air Force in England, on his 30th combat mission against the Germans in Bastogne, Battle of the Bulge. Their aircraft was Pathfinder B-17G 44-8444 of the 836th Squadron (2G:C). The crew called the aircraft Treble Four after the last three digits of its serial number.

Death and burial ground of Castle, Frederick Walker.

 
With pilot Lieutenant Robert W. Harriman’s, age 23,
  Castle’s bomber fell away from the formation almost immediately, one engine stopped and he instructed the deputy commander by radio to take over the lead. The B-17 struggled with control and moved some distance away from the protection of the bomber force, where it was again attacked. The pilots attempted to return to the bomber column but a third attack set both engines on the right wing on fire. Castle ordered the bomber abandoned, but it spun into a dive.
 The pilots recovered from the dive and seven of the nine crewmen parachuted. The pilot was observed in the nose of the airplane hooking on his parachute, with Castle still at the controls, when the fuel tank in the burning right wing exploded, putting the B-17 into a spin from which it did not recover, crashing near Hods, Belgium. Eyewitnesses reported that copilot Lieutenant Claude Rowe
   the Officer Tail Gunner on this mission, was hit by German strafing in the air after he bailed out. He died, age 22, at the scene. Radio operator T/Sgt Lawrence Swain
    age 30, fell to his death and was found without his parachute. His parachute may have caught fire. Radar operator Lieutenant Bruno Salvatore, Procopio, age 24,
 bailed out and died of his wounds at a military hospital in Liege, on 25-12-1944. Of the nine crewmen, five survived the crash.
  Captain, Edmund F. Auer Pilotage Navigator, bailed out, survived; “A left knee wrenching later required ligament surgery, 1st Lieutenant , Paul L. Biri  , bombardier, bailed out and survived. 1st Lieutenant, Henry P. MacArty, Dead Reckon Navigator, bailed out and survived, S/Sgt Lowell B. Hudson, Waist Gunner, bailed out, landed in tree and survived and last T/Sgt  Quentin W. Jeffers, Engineer Gunner, bailed out and also survived.
Frederick Walker Castle, age 36, was interred at the American Cemetery and Memorial at Henri-Chapelle, province of Liege, Belgium. Also buried there is Private First Class, Medal of Honour, 26th Infantry, Francis Xavier McGraw
   

 

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