39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Romspert Crew

Photo courtesy of Birdell Brellenthin

Standing L to R:
2nd Lt Edward A. Romspert Airplane Commander
2nd Lt Urban F. Thinnes Bombardier
2nd Lt Earl W. Diven Navigator
Sgt Vinson G. Fowlkes CFC Gunner
S/Sgt Laurence B. Leinbach Radio Operator
2nd Lt Lyman G. Benson Pilot
Cpl Elmer E. Quinn Tail Gunner
F/O Birdell Brellenthin Radar Observer
Kneeling L to R:
Cpl Vernon Ingram Left Gunner
Sgt Ganes Z. Foster Right Gunner
1st Lt Leon J. Janky Flight Engineer

Honor Roll
Sgt Ganes Z. Foster
Right Gunner
June 1983
1st Lt Leon J. Janky
Flight Engineer
28 October 1989
Sgt Vinson G. Fowlkes
CFC Gunner
09 December 1996
S/Sgt Laurence B. Leinbach
Radio Operator
15 December 2000
2nd Lt Lyman G. Benson
11 October 2004
2nd Lt Urban F. Thinnes
21 September 2010
S/Sgt Vernon Ingram
Left Gunner
27 August 2011


18 August 2012:
Added Cpl Vernon Ingram's name to Crew Honor Roll

16 August 2012:
Added Dedication Page for Sgt Vinson G. Fowlkes

13 July 2011:

Added Profile Page for Cpl Vernon Ingram

03 June 2011:
Corrected the spelling of Cpl Vernon Ingram's name.

21 September 2010:
Added: 2nd Lt Urban F. Thinnes to the Crew Honor Roll.

11 September 2005:

Added: Dedication page for Laurence B. Leinbach, courtesy of his daughter in-law.

19 January 2005:
Found Foster and Fowlkes listed on the Social Security Death Index; No information on any other members of the crew has been found at this time.

25 December 2004:
We received an email from Mark Erickson, grandson of F/O Birdell Brellenthin, FE, He notified us that his grandfather and 2nd Lt Edward Rompspert, AC; 2nd Lt Lyman Benson, Pilot, 2nd Lt Urban Thinnes, Bomb; 2nd Lt Earl Diven, Nav and 1st Lt Leon Janky, Flight Engineer were members of this replacement crew; He goes on to say "they flew one mission and the war ended."

Previously through an internet search we found Leon J. Janky listed on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) this entry does fall into the range of a WWII veteran and given the uniqueness of his last name - it appeared this is the same person - Burly Brellenthin comfirms Janky is desceased.

In making contact with Brellenthin and searching for other members of his crew we found an obituary for 2nd Lt. Lyman G. Benson. Records confirm this is the correct (Lyman) Benson.

Mark also provided us with a POC for his grandfather - therefore we will be contacting his grandfather to attempt to verify the passing of the members of his crew (if they remained in contact after all these years) and any other additional crew information...

The names of these men were found on 61st BS Roster dated Sept 1945 but we didn't know if they were part of an aircrew or ground personnel since they arrived late in the war until now.

The Romspert Crew did their B-29 Phase Training at Davis Monthan afterwards were sent via rail to Kearney Army Air Field, Neb. then onto Hamilton Field, CA. 30 July 1945 for shipment overseas to Guam. Per SO 186, HQ 314th BW dated 8 August 1945 par 14 the Romspert Crew arrived on Guam 7 August 1945 and were assigned to the 39th Bomb Group (VH).

According to Birdell Brellenthin, Radar Observer, he and his crew flew 1 mission - A POW Supply Drop on 30 August 1945 - 17 hours; Earl Diven,
Navigator, "We flew several Recon Missions over Japan before the peace was signed. Flew most Recon Missions out of Iwo Jima Base, Later flew some mail trips to Manila.

(Burly) Bellenthin has been in contact with Earl Diven as recent as Aug 2004; With Janky in 1947; There has been no contact with any of the enlisted men of the crew.

61st Squadron Crew Index
Sources: Mark Erickson, grandson of Birdell Brellenthin, Radar Op; SSDI; Amarillo-Globe News; Carla Leinbach