W. Budd Wentz, M.D., Capt. Ret.
Budd was born in Philadelphia in 1924 and lived in a small town along the Delaware River in New Jersey until 1942. After High School Budd enlisted as an Aviation Cadet and completed the pilot training course and earned the rank of Second Lieutenant and Pilot Wings. Budd and his crew were assigned to the 487th Bomb Group of the 8th (Eighth) Air Force and flew strategic bombing missions over Germany from 1944 to 1945. Upon returning home from England, Budd married and returned to the University of Pennsylvania, enrolling in the pre-med curriculum receiving his B.A., M.A. In 1958 Budd graduated from Western Reserve University School of Medicine and went on to practice and teach medicine until 1989 in OB/GYN.
Budd’s son-in-law, Tom, was a military brat from before he was born in 1958. Tom’s dad graduated from West Point ’57 and as a family moved around the world 25 times in 25 years. Starting in the early ‘80s Tom and Budd would sit and talk for hours about Budd’s military and medical careers. For over 25 years Tom and Budd would relive and discuss every nuance of each salient mission time and again. In the summer of 2002 Tom started to craft Budd’s WWII experiences into three distinct segments; The Last “Crash” Mission, The First “Crash” Mission, and the Training Years.
Dr. Fritz Marktschaft, Arno Rose, Klas Hahn
In January 2003 the “Last Mission to Parchim” on the internet caught the eye of the Schulungskommando (schulungeslehrgang) “ELBE” archivist Dr. Fritz Marktschaftel and Arno Rose. Both members of an organization in Germany dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of accurate information regarding a little known group in the Luffwaffe called Rammflotte Elbe. Over the months and years using personal accounts, logs, calculated times, and flight paths, the group concluded that Budd’s B-17 was rammed by Klaus Hahn which then crash landed at Wernershohe. [Marktscheffel, Fritz, Dr., firstname.lastname@example.org, Nachtigallenweg 8, D-61479 Glashütten/Ts.; Rose, Arno, email@example.com] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammkommando_%22ELBE%22.
Tom and Budd have continued to keep in touch with the people in Germany and Belgium impacted by these events