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Barth Charles Henry

Charles Henry Barth
Brigadier General
Serial Number:
European Theater of Operations, United States Army
Date of Death:
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York
Section XVIII, Row F, Site 56

BG Charles Barth was born on October 1, 1903 and was from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was a Passenger (Chief of Staff European Theater of Operations) on the B-24 Liberator “Hot Stuff (41-23728) assigned to the 330th Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces (World War II; European Theater of Operations) flying combat mission's out of RAF Bovingdon, England. “Hot Stuff” was the first US Bomber to complete 25 missions, 25th mission on February 7, 1943, against long odds at a time when many planes were being shot down. Hot Stuff became the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete twenty-five missions in Europe in World War II and reached its 25th mission three-and-a-half months before the widely celebrated B-17 "Memphis Belle". After Hot Stuff completed thirty-one missions, the plane and her crew were on the return flight to the states for a War Bonds publicity and morale-boosting tour on May 3, 1943, and Lieutenant General Frank M. Andrews, Commander of the European Theater of Operations needed to get back the states as he had been summoned to Washington DC by the General of the Army, George Marshall. Andrews and his entourage hitched a ride on Hot Stuff, and in doing so bumped five crewmembers from the flight. Though they were supposed to refuel at Prestwick, Scotland before heading out over the Atlantic, the crew elected to skip stopping at Prestwick and proceed to their next waypoint, Reykjavik, Iceland. They arrived to find the weather at their destination quite dicey with snow squalls, low clouds and rain. After several aborted attempts to land at the Royal Air Force station at Kaldadarnes, Iceland, the B-24 crashed into the side of 1,600-foot-tall Mount Fagradalsfjall, near Grindavik, Iceland. Upon impact, the aircraft disintegrated except for the tail gunner’s turret which remained relatively intact and 14 of the 15 aboard died except the tail-gunner Sgt Eisel who, though injured, survived the crash. Barth died in this crash. A monument remembering the achievements of “Hot Stuff”; the May 3, 1943 crash and LTG Andrews is located in Iceland in Grindavik. FROM FIND GRAVE: USMA Class of 1925. Cullum No. 7626. Brigadier General Barth was a member of the USMA Class of 1925. In 1926, he enrolled at Cornell University where he earned a degree in Engineering. After graduation he studied the subject at the Company Officers' School at Fort Humphreys. In 1928 he became an instructor in the Department of Civil and Military Engineering at West Point. After five years he taught Chemistry and Electricity. After six years at the Academy he was assigned to the 3rd Engineers, serving at Adjutant. In 1936 he was assigned to the Clock Tower in Rock Island, Illinois where he was Military Assistant to the District Engineer for three years. He attended the Command and General Staff School in his hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas from 1939 to 1940. Afterwards he arrived in Panama as the Assistant Engineer of Maintenance. He was assigned to the project of building the third set of locks. He was promoted to Supervising Engineer and became the Director of Civilian Defense of the Panama Canal. When he arrived in the Middle East he was noticed by Lieut. General Frank Maxwell Andrews, who made him his Assistant Chief of Staff in the Middle East. When General Andrews was assigned to London, he became the Chief of Staff for American Forces in the European Theatre of Operations at the age of 39 years. He was one of fourteen fatalities on a B24D Liberator of the 8th Air Force from the Royal Air Force base in Bovington, England, which attempted to land at Kaldadarnes, Iceland. After aborting the landing the Liberator crashed on Mount Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, which was presented posthumously. A website "A Story of Triumph & Tragedy" honors the crew and passengers. It is and is reference for this monument.