Veteran Arthur Frahm Remembers his Friend, Nick Simonich
In October 2000, the author of this site had placed a inquiry about the crew of this B-24 at an online forum dedicated to these aircraft (B-24.com). A former B-24 veteran named Arthur Frahm replied immediately. Mr. Frahm was a B-24 Co-Pilot who served in the war with Nick Simonich, Co-Pilot of the B-24 that was lost in Korea. This is what Mr. Frahm wrote:
"Thank you for your E-mail of October 8th. The minute I saw your experience in Korea, and your connection with the 868th, I had a funny feeling in my stomach. You see, Nick Simonich and I were very close.
He was my best friend.
On August 6th, 1945, our squadron moved from a temporary base in the Philippines up to Okinawa. Our squadron was directly attached to the 13th Bomber Command (13th Air Force) with no Group or Wing. We flew up to Okinawa on the 6th and landed at Yontan Air Base. There was a strong crosswind on landing and we burned out a brake.
After we had stowed our belongings in a tent Nick and I had dinner. They had been chosen to fly a mission that night and had already had their briefing before dinner. We generally ate all our meals together, if possible, so this evening did not break our routine. Nick and I talked about his mission and then he did a very strange thing: He asked me to hold his billfold, which neither of us had ever done, and he asked me to send it to his sister if anything happened to him! I tried to talk him out of keeping his billfold, but he wouldn't listen. We spent the rest of the evening together until it was time for him to report to operations, and then to the flight line. That's when we said goodbye.
Nick and I had met at "snooper" training, and really hit it off. I, too, was the Co-pilot on the crew, so we had many things in common. We were transferred to Mather Field at Sacramento from Hamilton Field north of San Fransisco. We were to leave the United States from there. While waiting to leave, Nick and I decided it would be a good idea to rent a car and drive up to Donner Pass to ski. We hardly got on the slopes the next day when the lodge got a call from our crew to return immediately since we were to ship out that night. We made a hasty return (no interstate system yet) and were safe!
Both our crews shipped out that night and we flew to Honolulu, arriving late the next morning. All the way across the Pacific, island hopping, we joined the 868th Squadron at Nooemfor. The squadron was in the process of moving to Morotai so we moved too. Nick and I built our tents on Morotai next to each other and continued our close association. On Morotai, I was certified as Aircraft Commander and flew a number of missions with our crew as pilot.
On August 7th, we all were wondering if Nick and his crew had a successful mission and if they had returned. I had told the other officers on our crew about Nick's billfold and his premonition. We immediately started figuring out how much flying time remained with the load of fuel they were carrying. Soon most of the squadron officers were getting concerned about the Mills crew, with everyone calculating just how long they could remain airborne. After a while, we were all resigned to the fact that they were not going to return.
Nick and I owned an Indian motorcycle together. When he didn't return, I sold it and sent half the money and his billfold to his sister.
Approximately 15 years ago [mid 1980s] I was in touch with our Snooper [veterans] organization. They printed a small pamphlet type book relating to their organization, its members, and official accounts of missions. They printed an article about the Mills crew crashing on a mountainside in Korea, about the young man who buried the crew, his torture, and the monument and annual services. They confirmed his name [Kim Duk-hyung] and the fact that he was a druggist. That was the first I knew what happened to Nick and his crew.
I apologize for rambling on, but he letter you sent and the information regarding the Mills crew, and Nick, really got my attention. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me."