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Marlen E Reber


He completed 25 missions. He flew the 'Eager Beaver' from Westover AFB to England. He had the 'Eager Beaver' throughout his first 15 missions until 3 March 1943 when it got badly shot up by the ball turret gunner on John Reagan's crew. He was the 19th Officer to complete tour 29 June 1943.

According to a letter written by Col. Claude E. Putnam on 5 November 1943, 'he has the outstanding record of having completed an operational tour of 25 daylight heavy bombardment sorties over targets in occupied Europe and Germany without once having returned early. '

AM w.3 Oak Leaf Cluster, DFC, 5 Battle Stars, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal

Short article from The Gettysburg Times, PA, published 12 May 1944:


"Major Marlin E Reber, formerly New Oxford, is a veteran of 26 missions over enemy lines, according to word received here. The pilot of a Flying Fortress, he is holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Silver Star."

"Recently, while walking on a London street, he accidentally jostled against another soldier, according to letters to friends here."

"Both stopped, stared and then started talking. The solder who had jostled the major was Staff Sergeant Wellington R. Reber, of near New Oxford, the major's brother. Neither had recognized the other until the accident."

"Both are sons of Mr. and Mrs. Irvin A. Reber, formerly of New Oxford and now of Hanover. Sergeant Reber recently returned from England where he spent 19 months as an administrative clerk for a heavy bombardment group. He is now stationed at the Stuttgart, Arkansas, Army Air Field."

From PCT article:
'Hollywood immortalized the bomber and others (Col. Reber said there were a total of 60 fighting B-17s) in movies like “Twelve O’Clock High.” In fact, in one scene from this American classic featuring leading man Gregory Peck as Gen. Armstrong, Col. Reber the real man, not an actor can be seen flying the plane beside the famous actor.'

Marlen served in the US Air Force for 27 years, retiring as a full Colonel. He went on to serve as City Safety Service Director for the city of Troy, Ohio. He moved to Florida when he retired in 1980. He died in 2012. As one obituary put it, 'Marlen loved to golf, boat and be with Virginia his loving wife of 70 years. He is survived by his wife Virginia as well as his four loving sons, Robert (Sylvia) of Plano, TX; William (Patricia) of Columbia, SC; Michael of Punta Gorda, FL and Steven (Alice) of Exton, PA. He is also survived by 6 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.



  • Wellington Reber

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Clerk | 93rd Bomb Group
    Short article from The Gettysburg Times, PA, published 12 May 1944: ...

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Units served with

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 368th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24487 'Eager Beaver'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 368BS/306BG [BO-Q] Westover 25/8/42; Thurleigh 13/10/42; AFSC 1/5/44; was longest serving B-17F in 8th BC; Returned to the USA Tinker 28/7/44; to Williamsport Technical Institute, Patterson Fd, Penn.; 20/6/45 for aeronautical programme, the...

Associated Place

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...


Event Location Date
Born Lykens, PA, USA 4 May 1918
Lived in New Oxford, PA 17350, USA 1919

Exact dates not yet known.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Irvin A. Reber

Enlisted Detroit, MI, USA 12 July 1941
Flew Eager Beaver to England Westover Air Force Base, Chicopee, MA 01022, USA 25 August 1942
Based Thurleigh September 1942 – 29 June 1943
Served as City Safety Service Director Troy, OH, USA 1968 – 1980
Lived in Punta Gorda, FL, USA 1980 – 2012

Moved to Florida when he retired.

Died Punta Gorda, FL, USA 29 July 2012
Buried Royal Palm Memorial Gardens, 27200 Jones Loop Road, Punta Gorda, FL 33982, USA August 2012


Date Contributor Update
28 April 2015 16:25:44 Lucy May Changes to service number and events

Enlistment record:

Date Contributor Update
28 April 2015 16:07:40 Lucy May Changes to biography and events

Date Contributor Update
28 April 2015 15:55:56 Lucy May Changes to biography and events

Short obituary:

Second obituary:

Date Contributor Update
28 April 2015 15:47:31 Lucy May Changes to events

Findagrave record:

Date Contributor Update
28 April 2015 15:43:48 Lucy May Changes to biography, awards, events and aircraft associations

The Gettysburg Times, PA article published 12 May 1944 and made available through

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:19:39 AAM AAM ingest

306th BG Association Directory, 1 September 1999 Edition, First Over Germany pg. 10-11, 40, 48, 132, 137-8, & 158, Combat Crews pg. 136,   / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia