Sgt. Albine lost his life in the Brunswick Raid the first day of "Big Week" concentrated attacks on the German aircraft industries. Primary target obscured by clouds, secondary targets bombed 44th BG loses 2 aircraft.
Sgt. Albine was a awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor on the Ploesti raid "Operation Tidal Wave" one of the most daring raids of WW2 August 1st 1943. Coming in at tree top level - Decker with pilot Lt. Charles Hughes & the "Flying Eightballs" destroy Romanian oil refineries.
Ochersleben and Helmstedt, Germany
The weather was severely cold over all of Europe with snow covering the ground both at the target and on the base. Two targets of opportunity were hit because the primary at Halberstadt, which was scheduled for bombing by PFF equipment, malfunctioned. Slight but fairly accurate flak was encountered over the two targets, coupled with attacks by enemy aircraft, led to two of our planes being MIA. One each was lost by the 66th and 506th Squadrons.
1st Lt. Donald R. Decker was the pilot of BIG FAT BUTTERFLY but little is told in the MACR about it. Last seen about one hour after bombs away. One engine was smoking and it was with a formation below and behind the 44th BG's. Nothing more. Only the engineer, Alton M. Elkin, and radio operator Andrew B. Nowak, were reported killed by the German officials during the war. The other eight were determined dead after the war in U.S.A.'s investigations.
The above marker lists all the men in alphabetical order that crashed in their plane on 20 Feb 1944. Staff Sergeant Robert L. Albine is first on the list. This marker is located at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. Photo was taken on 29 Dec 2009.
Death: February 20, 1944, Germany
World War II
Waist Gunner S/Sgt Robert L. Albine DFC KIA
Hometown: Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Squadron: 66th BS 44th Bomb Group, Heavy
Service # 13087450
Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross Air Medal, Purple Heart
Pilot: 1st Lt. Donald R. Decker DFC KIA
Target: Brunswick Germany
MARC # 2449
Mission: 20 February 1944
Serial Number: 42-64166
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Name: BIG FAT BUTTERFLY