|T/Sgt. John Lenburg 1945||John L. Lenburg|
|John''s B24||John with his crew (Names listed at the bottom)|
|Last Name: `
|Street: 3825 KENSINGTON ST.||City & State: PORTAGE, IN||E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|Zip: 46368-6650||Phone:||Spouse: CATHERINE|
|Conflict: WW II||Service Branch: 760 BS 460 BG||Unit: 460 BG 760 BS|
|Theater: ETO||Where Captured: HUNGARY||Date Captured: 06/30/44|
|Camps Held In: STALAG LUFT IV||How Long Interned: 302 days|
|liberated / repatriated: liberated||Date Liberated: 04/28/45||Age at Capture: 20|
|Medals Received: PURPLE HEART MEDAL, POW MEDAL, AIR MEDAL W/2 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS, ETO W/2 BATTLE STARS, GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL, VICTORY MEDAL|
|Military Job: B24 FLIGHT ENGINEER, -GUNNER||Company: SEARS|
|Occupation after War: RETAIL|
John L. Lenburg, was born in Gary, Indiana, on February 18, 1924, to Leo & Mary Lenburg, in Hobart, Indiana. John has a younger sister Joan Garber. At the age of 18 on December 12, 1942, John enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After training Aero I.T.I in L.A., Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas and Clovis, New Mexico he was made a flight engineer-gunner and was promoted to the rank of Tech Sergeant. He was assigned to the 460th Bomb Group, 760th Bomb Squadron, 15th Air Force. He flew on a B-24H Liberator bomber named Miss Fortune.
June 30, 1944 on his 36th mission his group was leading a force of 500-600 planes of the 15th Air Force on a mission to bomb an oil refinery in Blechammer, Germany. His plane was flying the number 2 position in the high box of the lead element. Over southern Hungary in the Lake Balaton area they were hit by 35-40 ME-210s. The plane was set on fire and he had to bail out.
After landing he was rescued by two Hungarian soldiers from the wrath of a group of peasants carrying scythes, pitchforks and clubs. He and the surviving crewmembers were turned over to German military authorities. He was sent to a Military Hospital #11 in Budapest for treatment of his wounds and burns. After several weeks he was taken to Pestvideki Prison in Budapest where he spent several weeks in the prison. After interrogation he was sent by boxcar to Stalag-Luft IV prison camp in Northern Germany. There he was put in Lager C Barracks 1 Room 3.
In winter of 1945 this POW camp of some 10,000 American and British airmen were evacuated because of an advancing Russian Army into the area. He spent the next three months on a forced march though Germany. This march was an odyssey of very little food, disease and death that covered some 600-miles. After enduring many hardships he was liberated by the U.S. 104th Division near Bitterfeld, Germany. The march became known as the “Black March” or the “Death March of Stalag Luft IV.” Because of the inhumane conditions that had to be endured during the march many of the POWs died. Capt. Leslie Caplin a captured American flight surgeon was the medic in charge of our section known as “C” section. He gave testimony against the camp officers and guards at war crime hearing after the war.
He was discharged from the service in October 1945. In 1998, he wrote and published a book about his and his crew members’ experiences in the war, “Kriegsgefangenen 6410: Prisoner of War.” The book has been republished by iUniverse. Copies of the book can be purchased directly from the publisher at its web site, iUniverse.com. Any questions or correspondence can be sent directly to his son Jeff at the email address listed.
John L. Lenburg was a patriot to the end. Sadly, after a life dedicated to his country and fellow man, he died of heart failure on November 4, 2000.
Erf's Crew (Pictured Above)
Flight Crew #3-8
1st Row Kneeling (L to R)
2nd Lt. Elder Erf A. Erfeldt** 0806051 Pilot
2nd Lt. Alan P. Barrowcliff 0808340 Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. Marshall J. Brown 0754876 Bombardier
2nd Lt. Matthew L. Hendricks** 0696732 Navigator (Not in picture)
2nd Row Standing (L to R)
T/Sgt. Ralph F. Wheeler* 12034660 Radio Operator\Right Waist Gun
S/Sgt. John Jack M. Nagle Jr. 18187526 Asst.Engineer\Nose Turret Gun.
S/Sgt. Rube Waits Jr.* 14139369 Ast.Radio Operator\Ball Turret G.
S/Sgt. Martin Troy* 31313507 Armament \Left Waist Gunner
Sgt. Leonard Pappy Bernhardt** 31307804 Asst. Armament\Tail Turret Gunnner
T/Sgt. John L. Lenburg 15383056 Engineer\Top Turret Gunner
* Killed in action
* * Deceased
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