Last Known Activity
Frank (NMI) Aldenhoevel was born on July 22, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois. He entered the service on August 30, 1940, and after basic training, he attended both Radio Operator's School and Aerial Gunnery School. He deployed to England in July 1943 with the 388th Bomb Group.
He was assigned as Radio Operator-Mechanic-Gunner on the Earl S. Melville crew, at the 560th Bomb Squadron. He flew 10 missions prior to September 6, 1943, one of which was not credited because of an abort for engine trouble.
On September 6, 1943, the crew were participating in a massive bomber raid on German war industries at Stuttgart, Germany. The bomber stream was repeatedly attacked by enemy aircraft, from the coast to target.
Melville's aircraft was raked by cannon and machine gun fire. The left wing and the #1 engine were hit and set ablaze. Then a fire started in the nose section. Melville called for Aldenhoevel to come help fight the fire, and to man the nose gun. Soon, it was apparent the aircraft was uncontrollable. It went into a tight spin and descended rapidly. Melville gave the "bail-out" signal, and observers saw at least 6 parachutes.
After he had jumped and his chute was open, TSgt Aldenhoevel was buzzed by a German fighter, collapsing his parachute and sending him to his death. Some of the crew landed safely and were taken POW, but one stated he saw Aldenhoevel's body. The Germans said they buried all the dead in the local cemetery at Vosges, France, near where the aircraft crashed.
TSgt Aldenhoevel was later recovered and buried in Camp Butler National Cemetery at Clear Lake Township, Illinois, in 1949. He lies in Section C, Site 209.
TSgt Aldenhoevel and the Melville crew flew B-17F #42-30201, nicknamed "Shedonwanna," assigned to the 560th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 3124 applies and lists the complete crew as:
1 Lt. Earl S. Melville p
2 Lt Robert E. Stone c-p
2 Lt John E. Pronek nav
2 Lt William J. Patrick bomb
TSgt George (NMI) Lotter eng/tt gun
TSgt Frank (NMI) Aldenhoevel r/o
SSgt Morris D. Wickersham btg
SSgt Bernard M. Tuvman rwg
SSgt William A. Borchert lwg
SSgt Walter C. Creamer tail gun
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
USAAC-USAAF Accident Reports
"To Kingdom Come" by Robert J. Mizarack