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NEWS | Oct. 17, 2023

AFSBn-Benelux takes part in 80-year commemoration of downed WWII B-17 bomber, crew

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

On Oct. 14, 1943, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-17F Flying Fortress heavy bomber traveling from Royal Air Force Base Chelveston, England, on its way to conduct a bombing mission of industrial targets in central Germany was shot down by a Nazi fighter aircraft and crashed in Eygelshoven. Four U.S. aircrew members died, one aircrew member is still listed as missing in action, and five crew members survived but were taken prisoner of war by the Nazis. After many months in captivity, all five surviving POWs were liberated and returned to the U.S.

Eighty years later, several members from Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux, U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, the Dutch Ministry of Defense, and local veteran groups and historians met at the memorial site – which is located just a stone’s throw from the Eygelshoven Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksite – to honor their legacy.

In addition to honoring the U.S. B-17 aircrew, the memorial site in Eygleshoven also honors a Royal Air Force ME647 Lancaster III bomber crew that was shot down and crashed in the same area on New Years Eve, 1944. All seven Canadian and British servicemembers, who were on their way home from a successful bombing mission and looking forward to ringing in the new year, died in the Lancaster crash.

“It was a humbling experience to be standing next to our Dutch partners in uniform, wearing the American flag on our shoulders, and honoring their legacy,” said Maj. James Maskovjak, the AFSBn-Benelux executive officer.  “Those American, British and Canadian service members gave their lives in order to liberate this land, and we are currently serving here and living here.”

“Knowing these two events happened in the vicinity of where we currently plant our flag and where we conduct operations is a humbling reminder of where we came from and where we're going in the future,” Maskoviak said.

Several streets at the Eygelshoven APS-2 worksite are named after the B-17 aircrew members who died near the APS-2 site, as well as the aircrew member who was never found. The streets at the Eygelshoven APS-2 worksite are named after:

  • 2nd Lt. Harvey A. Manley, bombardier, age 23 (KIA)
  • 2nd Lt. William J. Martin, navigator, age 23 (KIA)
  • Sgt. Leonard R. Henlin, left waist gunner, age 32 (KIA)
  • Sgt. Robert G. Wells, right waist gunner, age 20 (KIA)
  • 2nd Lt. Donald P. Breeden, copilot, age 22 (MIA)

“It was an honor to pay tribute to the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for liberty 80 years ago, and to honor those who narrowly survived,” said Lt. Col. Blake Smith, the AFSBn-Benelux commander.  

“As an American Soldier, I am consistently encouraged by the local community's investment in protecting and revitalizing the stories of our heroes who fought so hard in this same town eight decades ago,” Smith said. “We are proud to work amongst the community in Eygelshoven and will continue to invest in our relationships outside the gates of our worksite as the U.S. Army continues to do important work here every day.”

Sergeant Arthur Linrud was a top turret gunner and flight engineer on the B17 when it was shot down and crashed at Eygelshoven. Linrud survived the crash and the time he endured in Nazi captivity. His grandson is visiting Eygelshoven and the memorial site on Oct. 19, and the team from AFSBn-Benelux and the Eygelshoven APS-2 worksite will be greeting him and his traveling group and hosting them during their visit.

The Eygelshoven APS-2 site provides 450,000 square feet of climate-controlled warehouse space in nine warehouses as well as 50,000 square feet of hardstand storage to hold and maintain APS-2 equipment sets. Responsible for the site, AFSBn-Benelux is one of four battalions assigned to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade.

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at and the official Facebook site at