Friday, May 18, 2012

2nd Lieutenant Thomas M Haught

Second Lieutenant Thomas M Haught
With an unsual name such as Haught, its easy for me to imagine that I'm related to anyone with the same last name. Of course this isn't true as a recent DNA test has proved that there are indeed a few distinct Haught family lines in the USA. However, I like to think that we share a common bond. That bond runs deeper than any blood. For the Haughts of America, nothing binds us together more than the curse of having to spell out our name slowly to people trying to write it down. That, and perhaps pronouncing and correcting how it is spoken.




Anyway, when the call went up on the Haught Family facebook group (yes there is one) to identify 2nd Lieutenant Thomas M Haught, M.I.A. 2 December 1944, I jumped at the chance to find out more. Luckily, a close friend from back home has exceptional google-fu and we've pieced a small bit of his story together.

Thomas M Haught, of Brookings County South Dakota, was a member of the 704th Bomber Squadron of the 446th Bomber Group. For an unknown reason (likely to replace a lost crew member), on 2 December 1944, Haught joined the crew of the She's Mine (B-24H Liberator 42-95105, 706th Bomber Squadron) as the plane's Observer. The mission was a raid on an assembly Lingen Germany.

"On December 2, 1944, [33 planes conducted a] bombing raid on the railway facilities at Bingen, Germany. No flak was encountered, no enemy fighters were seen. The weather conditions forced the lower squadrons to fly through cloud banks. The target was bombed through the cloud cover, with unknown results. During the withdrawal, the B-24 "Tiger" (Lt John Dickson) and B-24 # 42-95105, "She's Mine" (Lt John Ilstad) dropped behind the formation in the clouds and did not return home.

Suspicion is that the two aircraft collided in the dense clouds. No personnel were ever recovered, but all are memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery at Cambridge, England."


"Gerty the Gremlin" (707th Bomber Squadron) 

The She's Mine had conducted an impressive 51 missions during the war. Built in the Willow Run facility in Michigan, she was left in her natural metal finish. 

Here's an interesting link about the 446th if you are looking for more information about that unit:
The 446th Bomb Group: http://www.446bg.com/ 
Planes of the 446th:  http://www.aviationmuseum.net/aircraft_of_the_446.htm


The crew of the She's Mine (B-24H # 42-95105, 706th Bomber Squadron):
2 Lt John E. Ilstad (Pilot)
2 Lt James W. Cole (Co-Pilot)
2 Lt Wiliam Peterla (Navigator/Bombardier)
2 Lt Thomas M Haught (Observer, 707th Bomber Sqdn)
SSgt Raymond Jones (Nose gun)
SSgt Karl J Pankowski (Engineer/Top Turret gunner)
SSgt Rudolph F Baczek (Radio Operator)
SSgt Anthony R DeRosa (Ball Turret Gunner)
Sgt Robert Horn (Waist Gunner)
Sgt Robert R Hilderbrand (Waist Gunner)
Sgt Walter E Wall (Tail Gunner)

The crew of the Tiger (B-24H # 42-51100, 707th Bomber Squadron):
2 Lt John B. Dickson (Pilot)
2 Lt Lawrence H. Whitaker (Co-Pilot)
2 Lt Ernest Lavine (Navigator)
2 Lt Anthony P. Bonaiuto (Nose gun/Bombardier)
Sgt John D. Sauran (Engineer/Top Turret gunner)
Sgt John R. Christman (Radio Operator)
Cpl Ralph E. Baringer (Ball Turret Gunner)
Cpl Andrew L. Luchko (Waist Gunner)
SSgt Lawerence W. Watson (Waist Gunner)
Cpl Alfred W. Faulk (Tail Gunner)

In Memory of 
Thomas M. Haught

Brookings County
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
O-714068
707th Bomber Squadron, 447th Bomber Group, Heavy

Entered the Service from: Pennsylvania
Died: December 2, 1944
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

5 comments:

  1. Mike how sure are you about his parents???

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    1. Sorry, I don't know who his parents were.

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  2. This is 2 1/2 years later, but wondering if anyone will respond to this. Lt. Haught replaced my dad on the B-24 She's Mine the day it was lost. He was sent 3 days earlier to study BTO radar. I just came across this while trying to clarify his service records. I'm so sad for the Haught family and so relieved by dad was spared. I'm trying to locate Lt. Haught's family

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    Replies
    1. Hello, and thanks for posting! It's great to hear a bit more about the story. I'm happy that the outcome was the preservation of a family, in spite of the sacrifice. Thanks for sharing that!

      If you are looking for the Thomas Haught's family, the best place to start/ask is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/98415174374/

      Best of luck to you on your search!

      Regards,
      Mike

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  3. His parents are Ruth Cora Miller and Howard H Haught. Howard married Edna Myrtle Brooks after his teen bride died. Thomas was raised by Thomas and Georgetta? Miller. His last job was in Beaver l, PA and he left a wife in Midvale named Edith

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