|Crew from Sgt. Rechlin's 363rd Bomb Squadron a month before he died.|
Edwin C. Rechlin could have been 100 years old today.
He was born on February 12, 1917 in Ohio. His mother was born in Pennsylvania and his father was born in New York. His father was a paper hanger. Edwin had one younger brother. By 1940 Edwin had completed two years of high school and was working in a machine shop in Buffalo, still living with his parents. At some point after the census Edwin married.
Edwin joined the army on August 6, 1942. He was 5' 7" and weighed 132 lbs.
He became a tech sergeant on B-17s for the 363rd Bomb Squadron, 388th Bomb Group. He was trained as a flight engineer and top turret gunner.
On March 23, 1944 Sgt. Rechlin's plane, nicknamed Pegasus, was on a mission to bomb aircraft factories in Brunswick, Germany. It was his crew's eleventh mission, including seven aborts that returned early due to mechanical or weather reasons. On this day Pegasus was in the low squadron that arrived at the European coast early so it proceeded without fighter escort. The squadron was attacked by as many as 40 enemy planes. His B-17 was badly damaged and fell out of formation. Before it could be shot down, the pilot ordered everyone to bail out. Five of the crew landed safely and were made prisoners of war. Sgt. Rechlin was among the five who did not survive the jump.
His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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