44-11790         MACR 14737

 

On 11 June 1945 a P-51K-5 Mustang, “Slagger,” # 44-11790, assigned to 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 76th Fighter Squadron, Luliang, China, departed the airfield at Laohwangping, on a mission to strafe and bomb target at Lipuhsien, China. The pilot was Capt. Ben S. Lyen, # 0-796167. His fighter was hit by small arms fire. He successfully bailed out and, after a harrowing journey, returned to duty. Normally a “RTD” is not included herein but Capt. Lyen’s 6-page walkout story is very involved and included here. It is included because it represents an entirely similar story to dozens of others who “walked out.”

 

LYEN, BENJAMIN SELBY, Captain, # 0-796167, USAAF

 

Benjamin S. Lyen was born on 20 January 1920 in Anderson Co., Kentucky, to Coleman Davis Lyen (1878-1949) and Margaret Wallace (Selby) Lyen (1881-1924) (married 26 November 1902, Anderson Co., KY). Siblings were Coleman Davis Lyen (1917-1963) and Mary Dowling (Lyen) Rawlings (1922-2013). In the 1930 census his father is married to Beulah (Jones) Lyen (1873-1957). Living with them was his maternal grandmother, Hettie (Willis) Selby (1865-1937) (born Millville, KY), widow of Benjamin Selby (1857-1910) (born Russell, KY).

 

He enlisted in the USAAF as an aviation cadet in Richmond, Kentucky, on 22 January 1942. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced school and was assigned to fly the North American P-51 Mustang. He earned his commission and pilot wings. On 11 June 1945 a P-51K-5 Mustang, “Slagger,” # 44-11790, assigned to 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 76th Fighter Squadron, Luliang, China, departed the airfield at Laohwangping, on a mission to strafe and bomb target at Lipuhsien, China. His fighter was hit by small arms fire. He successfully bailed out and, after a harrowing journey, returned to duty. He died 2 January 1968 and is buried in the Lawrenceburg Cemetery, Lawrenceburg, Anderson Co., Kentucky.

44-11919         MACR 13827

 

On 14 April 1945 a Grumman F-6-KS Hellcat (photo reconnaissance variant), “Connie,” # 44-11919, assigned to 14th Air Force, 5th Fighter Group, 17th Fighter Squadron, Chihkiang, China, departed the airfield on a mission to bomb and strafe targets at Nanchang, China. The pilot was Capt. (then 1stLt) John O. Spangler, # 0-665239. His fighter crashed just east, across some railroad tracks, from Nanchang. He was killed in action, his grave located north of Lientang, China (28° 31’ North & 115° 54’ East). The last to see him was 1stLt William C. Thomas (survivor), 0-813256.

 

SPANGLER, JOHN ORRIN, Captain, # 0-665239, USAAF

 

John O. Spangler was born on 30 December 1917 in Danville, Illinois, to Antone “Tony” Henry Spangler (1889-1955) and Sylvia Etta (Hess) Spangler (1895-1957). Siblings were Mildred Viola (Spangler) Favorite (1920-2005) and Loretta W. (Spangler) Calbow (1927-2014).