Byron’s Flight Crew Ernest Linsmaier Reunites in Memories

Hi. My name is Kris Fager and I am conveying this message on behalf of my father, Ernest Linsmaier. His comments follow.

I am sorry to hear about Byron’s passing. I am Ernest Linsmaier, a retired schoolteacher of 35 years. I was active in local politics, having served on City Council in my hometown of Alliance, Ohio and ran for State Representative. I joined the Marines during WWII when I was still quite young and that is how I eventually came to meet By.

Up until last year By and I had been in touch since the end of the war, and we have met up several times over the years including getting together for several Marine reunions across the US. My wife, Dorothy and I have also been to their home in Sonoma.

The website is really nice, and I was surprised to see our picture on the wing of the TBF Avenger on Tinian. I was the turret gunner in the picture (far right in the photo). The other crewmember in the photo was Leon Wilmot, the radioman.

Our crew shared many close calls including an engine conk-out, an oil line break, and a last minute airplane switch that saved our lives. The plane we were supposed to have been on crashed on takeoff between Tinian and Saipan due to the explosion of 2,000-pound depth charges that were on board. The gunner and the radioman died on that plane, but the pilot Mark Guffy survived and retired as a university professor.

Byron was a fine gentleman, a good pilot and always remembered his friends. This website is a great tribute to him. Thank you for this opportunity to share my remembrances of By. Best of luck,


Ernie Linsmaier