Thursday, November 12, 2015

Honoring a family Veteran with his story

In Memoriam: Information about Staff Sergeant Lowell David Nyborg on this Veteran's Day. Uncle Lowell was my mother's brother. He is the blond in the middle in the photo of his squadron.

The following was compiled and shared in a booklet at a Nyborg Family Reunion in 1997 after Lowell's death by Keith Nyborg, his younger brother:

As taken from information he had kept, items that had been sent to Mother and Dad, and remembrances of Elna at the time, as well as things he later told Elna and Roger.

Telegram to Mother from the Secretary of War dated April 5, 1945. As Elna recalls it was received by George Baum at his store in Drummond and he contacted Dad at the ranch. Dad came down to Uncle Bill’s house in Drummond, where we were living so we could attend school. Elna says she does not particularly remember Dad’s response, but Mother paced the floor, wrung her hands, mumbled to herself, and cried. Lowell had just turned 19 years old in January.

The telegram read as follows: Washington DC 2:50 a.m. April 5, 1945, Rhoda A Nyborg, Secretary of War desires me to express my deepest regrets. Your son, Sergeant Nyborg, Lowell D. is missing in action over Austria since March 23, 1945. If further details or other information are received, you will be promptly notified. Ulio, Adjutant General.

A few days later Mother received a letter from the Commanding General of the Fifteenth Air Force, dated 7 April 1945. It read as follows:

My dear Mrs. Nyborg:
Your son, Sergeant Lowell D. Nyborg, 39927358, has been missing in action since March 23, 1945. At that time, he served as top turret gunner aboard a Liberator which was on a bombing mission over St. Valentin, Austria. From reports we have received, it is known that while over the target, the bomber was severely damaged when it was hit by flak. Immediately after bombs away, the stricken aircraft left the formation and began to lose altitude. Before the plane finally passed from sight, four parachutes were seen to emerge. Since the ship failed to return from the mission, Lowell and his crew have been missing in action. The Effects Quartermaster, Army Effects Bureau, Kansas City, Missouri, will receive your son’s personal possessions in due time. From that point, they will be forwarded to the designated beneficiary. Much of the credit for the many successes we have had during the past months is due to the courage and ability of men like Lowell. Should there be any change in his status, you will be notified by the War Department. I earnestly hope that we shall hear of his safety very shortly.
Very sincerely yours,
F. Twining
Major General, USA

Western Union telegram received June 6, 1945. Washington, DC, Mrs. Rhoda A. Nyborg, Drummond, IDA. The Secretary of War desires me to inform you that your son, Sgt. Lowell D. Nyborg returned to military control.
J A Ulio, The Adjutant General

Western Union telegram received January 12, 1946. New York, NY, Mrs. A.P. Nyborg, Drummond, IDA. ARRIVED SAFELY EXPECT TO SEE YOU SOON DONT ATTEMPT TO CONTACT OR WRITE ME HERE LOVE. SGT LOWELL D NYBORG 225PM

Western Union telegram received January 25, 1946.
Note to whom this telegram is sent and why:

The following information is taken from a letter written by Lowell in response to an inquiry from The War Department.

Received your letter dated January 9, 1946, in regard to information concerning crew members of my crew overseas missing in action.

On the 23rd day of March, 1945, our plane left the 456th Bomb Group, stationed in Italy, on a mission over St. Valentine, Austria. Our plane was struck by flak in the course of the bomb run. After completion of the bomb run, we were losing altitude gradually and approximately 15 to 20 minutes after, the plane went into a spin. (Lowell was taken to a prison camp and then transferred to Stalag VII-A, Moosburg, Germany, by train. He was liberated April 29th, 1945.)
The four crew members in the waist bailed out before the plane went into the spin. I was standing near the bomb bay after leaving the upper turret. I had picked up the fire extinguisher as the pilot had requested. The bomb bay doors had never been closed. Before leaving the plane, I noticed the pilot half out of his seat and motioning me to bail out. The co-pilot was still in his seat. the other two crew members, Flight Officer Peter P. Mahoney Jr. and Sergeant William C. McDonald, I had seen nothing of after leaving the home base. They were stationed in the nose of the ship. On the way to the target and after the bomb run, there was an oxygen check during which I heard the two men on the interphones. I am sure no one was injured before the plane went into a spin.
After my parachute had opened, I noticed the plane still below me in a spin and heard the explosion as it hit the ground. I saw nothing of any of my crew members bailing out on my way down. I was captured as soon as I was on the ground and had no chance of going back to where the plane crashed. The above mention information is accurate to the best of my ability.

Lowell told Elna and Roger he was afraid when he bailed out he would be sucked under and down with the plane as it was going into a spin and losing altitude. He was the 5th one to leave. He said they were taught how to dispose of their chutes, but the Germans were waiting for him so when he fell back on landing they helped him up and said, “for you the war is over.”

No comments: