16 February 1945 — Coesfeld, Germany
The 386th Bomb Group, 554th Bomb Squadron of the Ninth Air Force was based at Station A-60, Beaumont-sur-Oise, France in the winter of 1944-45. Beaumont-sur-Oise was located about 30 km north of Paris, France. The 386th moved to this advanced landing field in early October 1944 because of the quickly advancing Allied Forces.
1st Lt. Joseph S. Benjamin was pilot of the B-26B-15 Marauder 41-31771 nicknamed “4F” on 16 February 1945. Mission number 335 was a bombing run on the Unna ordnance depot located east of Dortmund. The identification marking on this aircraft was RU-R. According the Missing Air Crew Report 12435, around 12:30 hours, the plane was hit by flak and caught fire. The pilot gave the order to bail. Kichen, Woody and Staff Sgt. John Zitnyar, Jr. were able to bail out. However, pilot Benjamin, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Henry F. McGrady, bombardier 2nd Lt. Harold S. Tiller, and Major John W. Meldrum who was an observer were all killed when the ship crashed 8 miles southwest of Coesfeld, Germany. It was completely destroyed but local citizens found several personal documents belonging to Harold S. Tiller. Kichen, Woody and Zitnyar were able to meet up but were later captured near Darfeld and sent to Dulag-Luft (Oberursol) on 18 February 1945. The four KIAs were buried in the Darfeld church cemetery on 19 February 1945.