After the War
George Bruyere, radio operator on the Roger the Lodger crew, spent nearly two years in hospitals and had twelve operations to save his right leg, which was gravely wounded after bailing out over Austria and became badly infected. Bruyere married his high school sweetheart, Therese Brown, in 1948, and they raised four children together. Bruyere opened his own furniture and appliance store in Ogdensburg, New York, in 1950 and ran it until his retirement at age 65. George Bruyere passed away in 2011 at age 87.
James Counsilman, national champion swimmer and winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross for the Linz mission, left the service after the war. He completed master’s and doctoral degrees, earning him the nickname “Doc,” and in 1968 published The Science of Swimming, which has been translated into some twenty languages and is still used as a reference today. In more than thirty years at Indiana University, Doc trained 53 world and national swimming champions, coached the US Olympic swim team twice, and led the Hoosiers to 23 Big Ten and six NCAA championships. In 1979, at age 58, Counsilman became the oldest man at that time to swim the English Channel. Doc lost a long battle with Parkinson’s disease in 2004. He was 83 years old. Counsilman is widely recognized as the greatest swimming coach of all time.
Frank Diederichs, the bombardier whose B-24 Liberator made an emergency landing in Hungary after the Linz mission, became an architect after the war. He opened offices in Beverly Hills, Tampa, and Paris, and designed homes for Robert Stack, Liz Taylor, and other celebrities. Diederichs lived in California and still did small architectural jobs late in life, though he admitted he had to “cut back on cigars, bourbon, and chasing girls.” Frank Diederichs passed away in 2016 at age 93.
John “Duck” Dominey, ball turret gunner on the Roger the Lodger crew, got a degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech after the war. He married Annis Crosby in 1950, and they had two daughters and four sons. Dominey was a wood worker his whole adult life, and he continued to pursue his passion from a workshop behind his home after retiring from Hercules, Inc. in 1985. Duck passed away in 2017 at age 92.
Fred “Cowboy” Funk, copilot of the Roger the Lodger crew, graduated from Notre Dame in 1946 and went to work managing the family business, the La Crosse Rubber Mills, with his brothers. In 1948, he married Mary Ann (Mim) Carroll, with whom he had a son and two daughters. Funk retired in the early 1980s to pursue his true love—the outdoors. An avid sportsman and conservationist, Funk dedicated the rest of his life to preserving the Upper Mississippi River for future generations, winning multiple prestigious conservation awards. He passed away in 2012 at age 90.
John Greenman, skipper of the Roger the Lodger crew, graduated from the University of Minnesota after the war and worked as a property manager for two decades. He then went to work as vice president of Northwestern National Bank in Minneapolis, from which he retired in 1986. Greenman married Virginia Gregg in 1950, and they had four children. He remained lifelong friends with his crew mates. John Greenman passed away in 2019 at age 96.
Richard Halliday, who was struck in the hip by flak and nearly died over Linz, earned a business administration degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1947. He quickly got a job with Kaiser Aluminum and worked for the company in several locations throughout the United States. Halliday returned to California and began a second career in real estate, finally retiring in 1981. He was married to wife Lois for seven decades, and they had three children. Richard Halliday passed away in 2023 at age 98.
Bill Johnson, Crew 8431's navigator, took his $300 of mustering out pay from the service and used it to start a business. He worked at various jobs until retiring at age 73. He and his wife Barb also owned and operated their own bed and breakfast in their hometown of Manistee, Michigan, where they sometimes entertained Bill's ex-crew mates. Barb, to whom Bill was married for more than 70 years, passed away in 2014, and Bill followed her twenty-one months to the day later. They had three children.
Achilles Kozakis, the nose gunner who completed his combat tour on the Linz mission, married Rena Catalanou in 1948 and earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston in 1952. Kozakis co-founded a design-and-build company in Houston in 1975 and worked there until his retirement in 2003 at age 80. He and Rena, who were married for more than six decades until her death in 2010, had four sons and two daughters. Achilles followed her nine years later. He was 95 years old.
Vahan Marderian, pilot of the 460th Bomb Group B-24 Liberator that crash landed in Pecs, Hungary, following the Linz mission, remained in the reserves after WWII, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from RPI in 1950 and worked for IBM for more than 40 years. Marderian was married to wife Joyce for more than four decades, and they had two children. Vahan Marderian passed away in 2009 at age 86.
Hal Millett, the ball turret gunner whose personal philosophy of “the best that can happen is that the worst won't happen” guided him through World War II, remained in the Air Force after the Linz mission. He served for 33 years, including a deployment in the Korean War and a long stint in Air Force intelligence, retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant. He then worked in the private sector for more than thirty years, finally retiring in 1999. Hal Millet passed away in 2016 at age 90.
Dale Shebilsky, whom the Russians tortured while in their custody after the Linz mission, was discharged from the service in November 1945 and was recalled for an eighteen-month stint during the Korean War. He went to work for Mobil Oil in Dallas as an accounting manager, retiring after 28 years. Dale Shebilsky passed away in 2014 at the age of 89.
Jack Taylor, the OSS officer who was imprisoned at Mauthausen and witnessed the mistreatment of members of the Robert Sinton crew after the Linz mission, remained in Europe after the war and testified in the Dachau trials of 61 accused German war criminals from the concentration camp. Taylor then returned to civilian life and, after failing in a business venture, resumed his dentistry practice. In May 1959, at the age of fifty, Taylor was killed in a plane crash near his home in California. Jack Taylor is widely considered one of the first sea, air, and land commandos—known today as Navy SEALs.
Ted Tronoff, navigator on the Roger the Lodger crew, returned to his father's engineering company after the war, got an engineering degree, and worked as a site planner for the famous Westlake development of Daly City, California, once called “one of the ten best suburbs in America.” Tronoff stayed in the Air Force Reserve after the war and was called back to active duty during the Korean War. He retired at age 90 and passed away in 2021.