Capt. Thomas C. Schiebel, ASN 11998492

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 492nd Bombardment Squadron

10th Air Force - Air/Sea Rescue

B-24 & OA-10 Catalina Pilot

Enlisted: 13 June 41 - Royal Canadian Air Force

Commissioned as Pilot: 20 May 42

Enlisted: 3 July 42 - United States Army Air Corps

48 Combat Missions

Maxwell Field - Montgomery AL    Moody Field - Valdosta GA

Alamagordo Army Air Field, NM    Gowen Field, ID

(All Images/Info Courtesy of Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Thomas C. Schiebel)

Photos taken in Gura, Eritrea following the application of nose art.

Capt. Schiebel & 2Lt. John A. Podawiltz
Schiebel - "John's initials spelled J-A-P. I was the ONLY man he allowed to call him by that name."

Crew of "The Butcher"

Replica of "The Butcher" nose art

Col. Schiebel enjoying the nose art. A gift from his daughter.

An excerpt from the files of the Tenth Air Force:


    "There has never been any official Air/Sea Rescue organization in the Tenth Air Force. In November 1943 a 0A-10A (PBY-5A) flying boat was assigned to the Tenth Air Force. This flying boat was to be the foundation for such an organization. A B-24 pilot and his crew were assigned from 7th Bomb Group to Calcutta to operate this aircraft. Contacts were made with people in Calcutta, Chittagong and Madras that could help in A/S Rescue Operations. On October 26 a B-24 from the 7th Bomb Group was seen to crash in the Bay of Bengal by another pilot of the 7th. This pilot returned to Calcutta, after plotting the position of the crash. Nine men were seen in two dinghies. Lt. Vande Bogart, the Catalina Pilot, was contacted and also Ensign Wm. Sheppard U.S.N.R. of Det. – 101 O.S.S. and a search was started. The Catalina proceeded to the position of the crash, but due to excessive surface winds and drift nothing was seen. The next day the Catalina returned, and just as it spotted the dinghies, it also spotted Ensign Sheppard in his PT-type 68’ launch. The sea was fairly rough to Lt. Vande Bogart elected to let the launch effect the rescue. The launch returned these men to a hospital in Chittagong.

    Shortly after this, another Catalina arrived in this theater and Capt. Schiebel from the 7th Bomb Group came down from Calcutta to fly it. Repeated requests were made thru channels for the activation of an A/SR Squadron. A Boat Squadron was also asked for. Boats of 68’ are not sea worthy enough to be used in the Bay of Bengal; 101 foot boats and 85 foot boats were asked for under Table of Organization and Equipment 1-989. Requests were denied from Washington, D.C. because the R.A.F. was scheduled to take over A/SR operations in this theater.

    In February of 1944, one of the Catalinas crashed in the swamps of the mouth of the Hoogly River and six persons were killed. The second Catalina rescued two of the three survivors. One man was picked up by the Navy launch.

In April 1944 a B-24J (42-73442) of the 7th Bomb Group “ditched” in the Bay of Bengal just off the South Burma Coast. Colonel Dodson, CO of the 7th Bomb Group was co-pilot with Major Bailey, CO 493rd Bomb Squadron, pilot. This B-24 had been hit on a raid over Burma/Siam Railroad and two engines had been knocked out. One man had been killed over the target but no one was killed in the ditching. The nine men in the dinghies were sighted by an R.A.F. Liberator and the position flashed to Capt. Vande Bogart and Capt. Schiebel. The Catalina took off and proceeded to the reported position, and within five minutes of searching had found the survivors. A landing was made without mishap and the nine men rescued. The survivors had been in their rafts just twenty-two hours. This take off was fairly rough, the swells were running about six feet high and the Catalina now had nineteen persons aboard. The A/C got off and took the survivors for care. The amphibious type Catalina is not recommended by the Navy to be landed in the open sea, but no other damage to the ship was experienced, other than a few rivets knocked loose and a couple of plates sprung in the hull.

    On April 18th, two R.A.F. crew members of a Beaufighter were rescued in about the same area as the above. No surface vessels were available, and the Catalina was the only means of rescue. The sea was somewhat rougher this time, and although no major damage was done to the ship, it was damaged to the extent that it was condemned for open sea landings. A wire was sent to AAF for another 0A-10A but up until 31 May these additional planes had not arrived. All this time, the R.A.F. had only surface vessels and A/C for search. None of their A/C (Flying Boats) were serviceable."

492nd BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel