Last Known Activity
Ehle Hiram Reber was born in Bieber, California on January 30, 1920 to John Rudolph and Beulah Smith Reber. The U.S. Census 1930 shows the family residing in Malin, Oregon. Ehle attended and graduated from Malin High School in 1937, where he had been an all-star athlete.
He enrolled in the University of Oregon, and ran track for the four years he was there. A 1938 city directory for Eugene, Oregon lists him as a student at the university. He graduated in 1941, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet.
His NARA enlistment record shows he enlisted on July 15, 1941, at Fort Ord, California. The record also states he had completed 4 years of college, and his occupational grouping was Actors/Actresses. He attended flight school, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1942.
He was one of the original pilots assigned to the newly-activated 303rd Bomb Group at Walla Walla, Washington. He was assigned a combat crew which received special training at Alamogordo, New Mexico and Biggs Field, Texas. On September 23, 1942, the crew picked up a new B-17 in Battle Creek, Michigan and flew to England, arriving at Molesworth on November 2, 1942.
The first combat mission was flown on November 18, 1942. He would fly 6 additional ones, 1 being an abortive sortie. On January 23, 1943, the target area was the port facilities at Lorient, France. After bombing the target, the aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters that shot away two engines.
Ehle turned the aircraft for home, but kept losing altitude. Reports vary - some state the aircraft crashed into the Bay of Biscay; at least one states the aircraft ditched in the English Channel
The aircraft definitely went down in water, and all crew members were killed. Lt Reber is remembered on the Walls of the Missing ay the American Cemetery in Cambridge, England. In 2011, the Malin, Oregon Municipal Airport was renamed the Ehle H. Reber Airport in his honor.
NARA Enlistment Records
US CEnsus 1930
City Directory, Eugene, OR 1938
California Birth Index 1905-1995
1 Lt Ehle H. Reber was the pilot of B-17F # 41-24607, nicknamed "Jerry Jinx," assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron.
Mission loading lists and the Missing Air Crew Report 15473 agree the crew was:
1 Lt Ehle H. Reber p
2 Lt Allan D. Mitchell c-p
2 Lt Jarold J. Byrom nav
2 Lt RobertJ. Swindle
SSgt Duke L. Hamilton, Jr eng/tt gun
SSgt Donald A. Mayo r/o
Sgt Irwin D. Blankenship btg
Sgt Luther M. Gross lwg
Sgt Victor G. Hand rwg
Sgt Roger W. Milford tail gun
NOTE: Some men received promotions just before or after their death. Ranks and grades between the MACR and mission listings may vary.
In the original crew photo, Lt Reber is in the back row, on left.
In the returning-from-mission photo, Reber is in front, center, on left fender of jeep.
Service photo source: