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"We Remember"
by Dwayne O'Brien

S/Sgt. Walter J. Kostro
722nd Squadron
November 1942

6 November 1942

Gunnery School

Gunnery School

January 1943

5 January 1943

August 1943

12 August 1943.
This dollar bill contains the names of Walters crew prior to their shipping out to Italy

August 1943

12 August 1943

May 1944

6 May 1944

Walter J. Kostro (Walt) was born 4 April 1923 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended school in Bayonne and Jersey City before starting a job with Marine Maintenance Co. as a Riggers Helper. He also worked for Otis Elevator CO. as a Machine Operator.
Walt joined the Army Air Force on 24 October 1942 at the age of 19. He flew 50 missions with the 450th as part of the 722nd Squadron before receiving a disability discharge on 27 June 1945.
After his disacharge he returned home to Lyndhurst, New Jersey to live with his mother and step-father. He used the GI Bill to obtain a private pilot's license then went back to school to learn photography.
In 1950 Walt bought some land in Neshanic Station, New Jersey. In February of 1953, he was asked to take some pictures of a recent graduate from St. Francis Hospital, Trenton, New Jersey. That graduate, Dorothy (Dottie), was to become his wife.
Walt and Dottie were married on 11 September 1954 and had three children, Stephen (49), Sue (48) and Nick (47).
In January 1955 they started a Nursery, Woodfern Nursery. They shipped plants all over the USA before concentrating on landscaping and retailing from their own greenhouses.
Dottie picked up Walt's love of flying and they owned two planes, a 150 and a 172 which they flew weekly.
Walt passed away on 12 November 1975.

Information and Pictures provided by Dottie Kostro, widow of Walter Kostro.



722ND BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON (H) AAF
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER
APO 520 US ARMY

14 May 1944

SUBJECT:    COMMENDATION.

TO     :    S/Sgt. Walter J. Kostro

     1.    The following message from the Commanding General, Fifteenth Air Force, is quoted for your information:

           "Study of the bomb strike photos of 12 May 1944 attack on San Stefano, Show a superior performance by the 450th Bombardment Group. Please pass to Commanding Officer of the 450th Bombardment Group and all personnel participating, my commendations for the highly concentrated bomb pattern placed on this target that shows the excellence o fthe formation flying and bombing accuracy."

     2.    The following message from the Commanding Officer, Forty-Seventh Wing, is quoted for your information:

           "The excellent bombing performance of the 450th Bombardment Group on 12 May 1944 at San Stefano, Italy, is deserving of my highest praise. Superior accuracy, combined with fine formation, gave an exceptional pattern of bombs which covered the entire aiming point and target area. Such a successful raid reflects great credit on yourself and your entire group. Please express my commendations to all personnel who participated in the mission."

     3.    The outstanding service and cooperation such as prompted the dispatch of the above quoted messages reflects credit on the 722nd Bombardment Squadron of the 450th Bombardment Group, as well as yourself.

WILLIAM A. MCWHORTER
Major, Air Corps
Commanding



Honorable Discharge

Honorable Discharge - 27 June 1945

Qualification Record

Qualification/Seperation Record - 27 June 1945

Honorable Discharge

Honorable Discharge - 27 June 1945



S/Sgt. Walter J. Kostro - ASN 12164516

722nd Squadron

450th Bombardment Group (H)

PERSONAL LOG

« - Indictes mission credit given to S/Sgt. Kostro

1st Mission Jan. 9, 1944

We were 15 minutes from target and had to turn back. We had trouble with two superchargers. Other planes were also unsuccessful due to an undercast and couldn't see the target. It was a 31/2 hour flight for us. The target was Zara, Yugoslavia.

2nd Mission Jan. 10, 1944

We didn't go on this mission due to a cut tire. The target was Skoplje, Yugoslavia. The mission was successful. There were only a few bursts of flak. No planes were damaged. The target was destroyed.

No Mission Jan. 11, 1944

No Mission Jan. 12, 1944

3rd Mission Jan. 13, 1944

We were 30 minutes from target and had supercharger trouble again. The target was 60 miles North of Rome, Parguria. It was a pretty good job. They were attacked by FW-190's and ME-109's, but the P-38's took care o fthem.

4th Mission Jan. 14, 1944

We had supercharger trouble again and had to turn back. The target was Mostar, Yugoslavia. It was a good job on the target. There were a few fighter attacks. The P-38's took care of them.

5th Mission Jan. 15, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. The superchargers were being fixed. The target was Pluto, Italy.

6th Mission Jan. 16, 1944

We went on the mission today but had to turn back again on account of supercharger trouble. The target was Ossia, Italy. They didn't get to the target because the P-38 escort didn't meet them. 13 of them went to bomb Zara, Yugoslavia instead. 6 others went on to the first target. They were attacked by 20 FW-190's. Two B-24's were shot down and the rest were shot up pretty back. The other 13 were successful.

7th Mission Jan. 17, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. The superchargers were still being fixed. The target was in Italy.

8th Mission Jan. 18, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. They fixed the superchargers today. The target was Pisa, Italy.

9th Mission « Jan. 19, 1944

We made this mission. We bombed an airfield. The target was Perugia, Italy. There was no flak.

10th Mission Jan. 20, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. The target was destroyed.

11th Mission Jan. 21, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. The target was Pisa, Italy. It was destroyed.

12th Mission « Jan. 22, 1944

We went on this mission. The target was Arazzo, Italy. The target was destroyed. The raid was part of the invasion.

13th Mission Jan. 23, 1944

We didn't go on this mission.

14th Mission « Jan. 24, 1944

We went on this mission. It was a city in Yugoslavia. We were attacked by ME-109's. The P-38's took care of them, but they got one B-24 and one was shot up a bit.

No Mission Jan. 25, 1944

No Mission Jan. 26, 1944

15th Mission Jan. 27, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. The target was in France. One plane was shot down and a few were damaged.

16th Mission « Jan. 28, 1944

A target in North Italy. No flak.

17th Mission « Jan. 29, 1944

The target was Siena, Italy. We had to bomb by E.T.A. because of clouds. No flak. One plane couldn't get it's wheels down and locked so the crew bailed out but pilot and co-pilot. They brought the plane in for a crash landing. They got out okay. It was the Big Blow Out 252740. The original crew did not fly it. It was the first plane lost in the squadron. Lt. Maddox's crew.

18th Mission « Jan. 30, 1944

The target was Udine, North Italy. The airfield was destroyed. There were a few fighters. The P-38's took care of them. There was quite a bit of flak. It was so close that you could smell the burnt powder. One plane was attacked by a ME-109. It got hit by a few 20mm shells. The 723rd said they had 3 planes damaged by flak.

19th Mission Jan. 31, 1944

We didn't go on this mission. We had oil pressure trouble. The target was 30 miles from Udine, North Italy. They were attacked by ME-109's. No planes damaged.

No Mission Feb. 1, 1944

No Mission Feb. 2, 1944

Bad weather

20th Mission « Feb. 3, 1944

The target was Florence, Italy. We didn't bomb it due to bad weather. We got another target.

21st Mission « Feb. 4, 1944

The target was Toulbon, France. It's a submarine base. Due to bad weather we could not reach it. The mission did count. We got some flak when we passed over Rome, Italy. The place was covered with clouds so we didn't bomb it.

No Mission Feb. 5, 1944

Bad weather

No Mission Feb. 6, 1944

No Mission Feb. 7, 1944

22nd Mission « Feb. 8, 1944

The target was Rome, Italy. No flak.

No Mission Feb. 9, 1944

Bad weather. The target was Regensburgh, Germany.

23rd Mission « Feb. 10, 1944

The target was a city near the beachhead. Bad weather. We flew over the target but could not see it so we didn't bomb. We were shot at with flak. There was a second mission the same day, but it was cancelled.

No Mission Feb. 11, 1944

Bad weather

No Mission Feb. 12, 1944

Bad weather

No Mission Feb. 13, 1944

Bad weather

24th Mission Feb. 14, 1944

The target was Verona, Italy. We flew as far as the beachhead and had to turn back because of engine trouble. They did a pretty good job on the target. A few planes were attacked by enemy planes. No damage done. The temperature was 56 below zero.

No Mission Feb. 15, 1944

25th Mission Feb. 16, 1944

The target was North Italy. We didn't go because of trouble with our plane. They destroyed the target.

26th Mission « Feb. 17, 1944

The target was near the beachhead. They did a pretty good job on it. There was plenty of flak. One man was hit in the leg, one plane shot down and a few damaged. It was a 5 hour mission. The target was a few miles south of Rome, Italy.

No Mission Feb. 18, 1944

Bad weather

No Mission Feb. 19, 1944

Bad weather

No Mission Feb. 20, 1944

The target was at the beachhead again. We had to turn back on account of bad weather. Too foggy. 11/2 hour flight.

No Mission Feb. 21, 1944

27th Mission « « Feb. 22, 1944

The target was Regensburgh, Germany. There was too much flak. Fighters came in as we dropped our bombs. It was a 45 minute fight. They got three ships, not in our squadron. On this mission I froze my hands and face. 8hr. flight.

28th Mission Feb. 23, 1944

I didn't fly because I was in the hospital. The target was Steyr, Austria. They lost 8 planes on this raid. One in our squadron. They got the target. Conner and Balazic got a ME-110 a piece.

No Mission Feb. 24, 1944

29th Mission Feb. 25, 1944

The target was Regensburgh, Germany. They got the target. The fighters and flak got 5 more planes. Three in our squadron. Gellespies crew, Retzlaff's crew and Vandercamp's crew.

No Mission Feb. 26, 1944

No Mission Feb. 27, 1944

Got out of the hospital today.

No Mission Feb. 28, 1944

No Mission Feb. 29, 1944

No Mission March 1, 1944

No Mission March 2, 1944

30th Mission March 3, 1944

The target was at the Anzio beachhead. Due to an overcast they could not see the target. They dropped their frags in the water and came back.

No Mission March 4, 1944

Due to bad weather up ahead they had to turn back. The target was 50 miles south of Berlin. There was a practice mission instead.

No Mission March 5, 1944

No Mission March 6, 1944

31st Mission March 7, 1944

The target was a railroad yard above Florence, Italy. It was destroyed. I didn't go because I was grounded.

No Mission March 8, 1944

I'm ready to fly again.

No Mission March 9, 1944

No Mission March 10, 1944

32nd Mission « March 11, 1944

The target was Toulon, France. It was a submarine base. We did a lot of damage. There was plenty of flak and fighter attacks. Our squadron got 4 of them. 8 hour flight.

No Mission March 12, 1944

No Mission March 13, 1944

No Mission March 14, 1944

No Mission March 15, 1944

No Mission March 16, 1944

One crew from each squadron got sent to England by A.T.C. Lt. Ferry's crew got sent from our squadron. Bishop was just put on the crew as nose gunner so they sent him too. Rodman, Smitty, Mick, Bishop, Walters. Four crews came from England to replace them.

33rd Mission « « March 17, 1944

The target was near Vienna, Austria. But in Austria we couldn't find the target on account of an overcast so we bombed another target thru the overcast. We could barely see it. A few puffs of flak and no fighters. It was 40 below zero today. I froze my chin and cheeks a little. I wasn't grounded. We flew in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Germany and Austria looking for an opening.

34th Mission « March 18, 1944

We bombed a target in North Italy. Pretty accurate flak, but no fighters. It was an airfield. The name was Lavriano.

35th Mission « « March 19, 1944

The target was Graz, Austria. The original one was Steyr, Austria. There was plenty of flak. We were attacked by 6 enemy planes. ME-109's and FW-190's. We shot three of them down. Warren got a FW-190. The flak got one bomber from another group. The secondary target was destroyed.

No Mission March 20, 1944

No Mission March 21, 1944

No Mission March 22, 1944

No Mission March 23, 1944

36th Mission March 24, 1944

The target was Steyr, Austria. Due to bad weather they couldn't see the target. We didn't fly today because it was our day off. On their way back they bombed a target in North Italy. The 722nd squadron broke up with the rest of the formation to do this. They were attacked by Goerings ME-109's red and yellow nose planes. They shot down Lt. Anderson's crew, Heinselmen, Bock, Sanders, Thomas, Clarke. Lt. Stripps crew, Ike Erickson, Viscosky, Lenoir, Glenn and a new crew, a replacement was also shot down. When they were first forming the formation two planes crashed into each other.

No Mission March 25, 1944

No Mission March 26, 1944

No Mission March 27, 1944

37th Mission March 28, 1944

The target was 6 miles from Venice, Italy, marshalling yards. It was destroyed. Little flak and no fighter opposition. One plane turned back just before the target and was attacked by 6 fighters. It didn't return. We didn't fly because of low batteries. They changed them but it was too late to catch the formation.

38th Mission « « March 29, 1944

The target was Bolzano, Italy. It was destroyed. Two ME-109's attacked about 50 P-38's. One hit a P-38 and it went down on fire, but he managed to put it oout. Then two P-38's took after them. 4 more came out of a mist, looked around, I gave them a burst, it didn't bother them though. They saw a 24 drop out of formation, they disappeared, I guess they went after it. There was plenty of flak, close, and they put a few holes in some ships.

39th Mission « March 30, 1944

The target was Sofia,Bulgaria. 3 wings flew over it and dropped bombs. It was destroyed. Marshalling yards and the city were bombed. We had about 50-P-38's and P-47's for escort. No fighters attacked us. There was plenty of flak. 5 hour mission

No Mission April 1, 1944

40th Mission « « April 2, 1944

The target was Steyr, Austria. We bomb a ballbearing work, ME-109 engine plant and a fuselage plant. We were attacked by ME-109's for 2 hours. They got a few planes. I shot at one plane. I could see tracers hitting him, but it didn't hurt him. He flew away. The flak was plentiful and accurate. We got hit in the tail and fuselage. It made a foot hole.

41st Mission April 3, 1944

The target was Budapest, Hungary. They got the target. There was plenty of flak and some fighters, JU-88's and ME-109's. We didn't go because of some damage on our plane.

42nd Mission 4 April, 1944

We didn't go on this mission on account of an engine change. The target was Bucharest, Rumania. Plenty of flak and some fighters.

43rd Mission 5 April, 1944

The target was Ploesti, Rumania. We didn't go on account of low oil pressure on 3 and 4 engines. We flew for a hour and a half.

No Mission April 6, 1944

43rd Mission April 7, 1944

The target was near Venice, Italy. They got the target. A new crew flew our plane on their first mission. Some fellows said they saw it leave the formation and saw some fighters in the distance. The "Termite Chaser" didn't come back.

No Mission April 8, 1944

The target was Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Due to bad weather we turned back. We flew for two hours. Today we got a new plane. It was the crews that went down in ours. The name is "Madam Shoo Shoo" But will be called the "Termite Chaser II" from now on.

No Mission April 9, 1944

No Mission April 10, 1944

No Mission April 11, 1944

44th Mission « « April 12, 1944

The target was Wiener Neustadt, Austria. They did a good job. I flew the waist position, tail and last, the nose. I froze my neck and cheek in the nose turret. One door and two windows were off it. There was plenty of flak, but no fighters. We had about two hundred plane escort. We lost a new crew today. Lt. Sabastian's Crew.

45th Mission April 13, 1944

I didn't fly today. The target was near Budapest. An airfield. It was a good job. They destroyed a lot of planes on the ground. There was plenty of flak. A few fighters but the 38's and 47's took care of them. My crew had their electrical system go out on them. They made it back alright.

No Mission April 14, 1944

46th Mission April 15, 1944

The target was near Bucharest, Rumania. We didn't go on this mission because we had supercharger trouble. They had to bomb the target with the radar ship. No flak, a few fighters. The P-38's took care of them. We were escorted back by one P-38. His wing was about 25 feet from my waist window. There were 5 enemy planes following us, but they didn't come near us. 3hr flight.

Tonight while the ground crew was loading bombs, a fire started in one of the ships 720th. It blew up. I went out there and saw parts of bodies scattered all over. A medic pick up a fellow whole leg and wrap it up. I also saw burnt up bodies.

47th Mission April 16, 1944

The target was Braslov, Rumania. Near Ploesti. They got the target. There was plenty of flak. We turned back because of supercharger trouble.

48th Mission « April 17, 1944

The target was Sofia, Bulgaria. The target was the city. There was plenty of flak. We had a P-51 and P-47 escort. One fighter attacked our squadron firing 20mm. It didn't do no damage. The left waist gunner fired at it, it got away. 51/2 hr. flight.

No Mission April 18, 1944

No Mission April 19, 1944

49th Mission « April 20, 1944

The target was in North Italy. Due to an overcast we didn't bomb the target. We got flak in two places. We came back with the bombs. We had an escort of P-38's and P-51's. 61/2 hr. mission.

50th Mission April 21, 1944

The target was Ploesti Marshalling Yards. We all turned back on account of bad weather. 2 hr flight.

No Mission April 22, 1944

51st Mission April 23, 1944

The target was near Vienna, Austria. We were one hours flight from the target and had to turn back. Plane trouble. They got the target. There was plenty of flak, no fighters. 4hr flt.

52nd Mission « « April 24, 1944

The target was marshalling yards in Ploesti, Rumania. We got the target. There was plenty of flak. Some got so close to us that it sounded like canon fire when it busted. We flew through it for eleven minutes. One plane got hit with flak and caught on fire. The crew bailed out. We came in with a feathered engine.

53rd Mission « April 25, 1944

The target was in North Italy. Our group was the only ones up there. Before we got to the target we were attacked 35 ME 109's and FW-190's. There was a few JU-88's throwing some 20mm's at us. The ME's were having a good time buzzing around us. They wouldn't come in too close to our formation. Then the P-38's came from no where. As soon as they came in they blew up a ME-109. They got a few more after that. They got rid of the fighters for us. We couldn't bomb the original target due to an overcast. We went to the secondary and got it. They sent up flak. The first shot got us in the bomb bay and broke a gas connection and knocked out 2 booster pumps. There was a hole 2 foot from me in the waist. Quite a few holes in the left wing. A hole near the bomb sight which got the bombardier in the nose. Not serious. The nose gunner, Balazic, got frozen on the left cheek and the whole back of his neck. We had to land at Foggia, Italy and get our gas connection fixed and we sent Baldy and Lt. Glavin to the hospital. Then we came home. Lt. Shayne pilot.

No Mission April 26, 1944

No Mission April 27, 1944

54th Mission April 28, 1944

The target was near the beachhead. There was plenty of flak, no fighters. We lost "Pistol Packin Mama" from another squadron. We didn't fly.

55th Mission April 29, 1944

The target was Toulon, France. We didn't fly on account of an oil leak. The fellows got the target. There was plenty of flak. It was very accurate. The flak got Maj. Orris. He had Lt. McLaughlin's Crew. Kosak, Rout, Feure and others.

Lt. G. Smith's crew, pretty new men and Lt. Maddox's crew. They were attacked by fighters but the P-38's took care of them. We were to fly number four position if we did.

56th Mission « April 30, 1944

The target was near North Italy. No flak, no fighters. Gravy run. We got the target.

No Mission May 1, 1944

No Mission May 2, 1944

No Mission May 3, 1944

No Mission May 4, 1944

The target was Ploesti, Rumania. We didn't go on account of bad weather. We flew for 3hrs.

57th Mission « « May 5, 1944

The target was Ploesti, Rumania. We got the target. There was plenty of flak and fighters. I saw one plane blow up in mid air. 5 fellows bailed out of one. The navigator saw 7 bail out of another. 61/2 hrs. We got hit near No. 4 engine and a rip in one bomb bay door with flak.

58th Mission « « May 6, 1944

The target was Brazov, Rumania. We got the target. There was plenty of flak and a few fighters.

No Mission May 7, 1944

No Mission May 8, 1944

We flew for 4 hours and had to turn back on account of weather.

No Mission May 9, 1944

No Mission May 10, 1944

No Mission May 11, 1944

59th Mission « May 12, 1944

We got up at 4:00am and took off at 5:00am. The target was Porto S. Stafano, an island off of Italy. We made our bomb run then flak knocked the tail off "Marty The Rubble Maker". The plane went out of control. 9 chutes came out. One man that we think didn't come out was Whitley because flak burst too near him. Lt. Word flew the ship. We lost Spector, Beattle, Boaz, Hatfield, Shirley. Then Lt. Smith's crew got rammed by another ship. He was cut in half. No one got out. He was flying alongside of us. The other plane turned over on his back, but pulled out of it. We landed at 11:00 am. 6:00 flight. Then we were ready for another mission in the afternoon. We flew for one hour but had to turn back on account of weather. We flew for 1 hour.

60th Mission « May 13, 1944

The target was in North Italy near Genova. No flak, no fighters. Gravy run. 8hr flight.

61st Mission « May 14, 1944

The target was North of Venice, Italy. There was no flak or fighters.

No Mission May 15, 1944

62nd Mission May 16, 1944

The target was in North Italy.

No Mission May 17, 1944

63rd Mission May 18, 1944

The target was Ploesti Rumania. They turned back on account of bad weather, but got credit for one mission.

64th Mission May 19, 1944

The target was in North Italy. On the way back, Lt. Shain, our pilot flying with a new crew, crash landed his plane. He got killed, the navigator and two enlisted men. He crashed 50 yards from shore near Naples. Two engines cut out on him. He was flying "Madam Shoo Shoo" "Termite Chaser II"

No Mission May 20, 1944

No Mission May 21, 1944

65th Mission May 22, 1944

The target was North of Rome, Italy. Some flak, no fighters. We didn't go on this one.

66th Mission « May 23, 1944

The target was South of Rome a little North of the beachhead. We went over the target once and didn't see the target. We went around again and a few ships dropped their bombs. One B24 came up under us and almost hit us. Capt. Dawkins pulled it up in time. I had my chute on ready to bail out. Some flak, no fighters. Three planes cracked up on landing. They all had flat tires.

67th Mission May 24, 1944

The target was Weiner Nuestadt, Austria. We didn't fly on this mission. They did a pretty good job. There was plenty of flak and fighters. We lost one crew. Most of the ships were riddled with 20mm's.

68th Mission May 25, 1944

The target was in North Italy. Little flak, no fighters. We had to turn back with a feathered engine.

69th Mission « May 26, 1944

The target was Nice, France. No fighters and some flak. We did a good job.

70th Mission « May 27, 1944

The target was Marseille, France. We did another good job. Plenty of flak, no fighters. We almost had another ship side swipe us again today. We had to dive the plane to get away.

No Mission May 28, 1944

70th Mission « « May 29, 1944

The target was Weiner Nuestadt, Austria. There was plenty of flak. It got our hydraulic system, put a lot of holes in the waist, shot the top turret dome off. The bombardier, Lt. Seigle got scratched on the hand. The co-pilot Lt. Howe got scratched in the shoulder. There were plenty of fighters. They got a few bombers. None from our group. I shot down a ME-109. It burst into flames and blew up. Lt. Weathermon finished up today.

71st Mission May 30, 1944

The target was Weiner Nuestadt, Austria. We didn't fly today. There was plenty of flak and fighters. We lost Lt. Btuner's crew in Yugoslavia.

72nd Mission « « May 31, 1944

The target was Ploesti, Rumania. There was plenty of flak. We had a window shot out in the nose. We were attacked by 25 fighters. We lost Lt. Barret's crew. He was pretty new. I saw one plane go down and one chute came out. There was another with only one chute. One with nine chutes. Altogether I saw 3 planes hit the ground and explode. All B-24's.

No Mission June 1, 1944

No Mission June 2, 1944

No Mission June 3, 1944

73rd Mission « June 4, 1944

The target was Genova, Italy. The target was destroyed. There was quite a bit of flak, not so accurate though. No fighters. 8hr flight. All bombers came back.

74th Mission « June 5, 1944

The target was Balogna, Italy. There was a little flak over the target but when we started to cross some mountains that's when it came. Flak came thick and heavy. Our ball gunner, Warren, got hit below the left eye. We got hit in the tail, stabilizer, horizontal wing, flaps and holes in the waist and a few in the nose. One fighter attacked a formation and left. One plane had it's wing tip shot off but came back. Warren, Conner finished up today.

75th Mission « « June 6, 1944

The target was Ploesti, Rumania. They had the target smoked in, but we got it. We got hit in the left horizontal stabilizer, a hole besides the left waist, holes in the left wing tip and hit in 2 and 3 engines. I finished up today. Balizic got 49, Platt got 48, Geiser got 49.


Editors Note:

There are two missions listed for 43 and 70. This is the way it appeared in the original diary.



Crew Picture
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