Last Known Activity
Odus Cleveland Litzelfelner, Jr. was born on December 28, 1918 in Kellys Landing, Missouri. His parents were Odus Cleveland , Sr. and Ethel Masterson Litzelfelner. The family moved shortly thereafter to Elvins, near Jackson. The US Census 1920 shows the family in Shawnee, Missouri. Odus graduated from high school there.
He enlisted on April 30, 1941 in the Infantry at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was sent to Yuma, Arizona; then, to San Luis Obispo, California. He then transferred to the US Army Air Forces, and was assigned to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. From there, he went to Phoenix, Arizona and Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where he as awarded pilot wings and commissioned as a Flight Officer.
On June 30, 1944, he married Dorothy Davis, and had a daughter from this union.
He went overseas in 1945, and was utilized as a co-pilot in the 427th Bomb Squadron. According to records, he only flew 1 mission, the one on which he was killed. On February 9, 1945, he was used as a substitute co-pilot for the Nemer crew on a bombing raid to the synthetic oil plants at Lutzkendorf, Germany.
Turning onto the bomb run from the IP, the aircraft was hit by flak, making it move into the path of the Barrat aircraft, which it struck. Under control, the aircraft dropped behind the formation, but could not keep up. The pilot elected to make a run for the Russian lines in Poland, which were the closest Allied forces.
It became necessary for the crew to lighten the aircraft, which they attempted by throwing out everything they could. Finally, as the aircraft sank lower and the Russian lines were crossed, the "bail-out" was given. The crew supposedly bailed-out, but after the war interviews with survivors stated that several crew members jumped at too low an altitude for their chutes to open, or refused to jump.
Records indicate 5 bodies were found, either in the wreckage or in the area, with unopened parachutes. The survivors, along with the Russians, buried the bodies with full honors in a Russian military cemetery in Jarecin, Poland.
The bodies were retrieved after the war, and buried elsewhere. F/O Litzelfelner was sent to the U.S., and now lies in the Cape County Memorial and Park Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Southwest Missourian (newspaper) (Cape Giraradeau, MO) issue of July 27, 1949. page 2.
US Census 1920
Application for Headstone or Marker Record card (completed by father, 8-1-49)
F/O Odus C. Litzelfelner was a substitute co-pilot on B-17G #42-31060, named "Poque Ma Hone," assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 122245 was issued for this event. Mission loading lists show the crew as:
1 Lt Alfred K. Nemer p
2 Lt Odus C. Litzelfelner c-p
2 Lt Harry M. Schulz nav
TSgt Howard H. Ganson tog
Sgt Floyd S. Bohrer eng/tt gun
Sgt Peter M. Volpini r/o
Sgt Marion L. Canfield btg
Sgt Paul L. Kerr waist gun
Sgt Floyd C. Doherty tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Nemer, Litzelfelner,Volpini, Canfield, and Doherty were the crew members killed.
NOTE: Loading list states "2 Lt." All other sources state Flight Officer.