Ok so the text in this blog is mainly from a facebook email I sent to someone. My grandfather served in the 389th Bomb group of the 8th Air Force during WW2. he enlisted right after the Pearl Harbor bombing. He didnt wait to get drafted. He had experience with an electric or telephone company climbing poles so the armed forces powers at be placed him in the signal corps. he did his basic Training somewhere in New Jersey and was eventually told he’d be serving in Alaska. he didnt like the outcome so a lady tipped him off on how to get on flying status.
In Eurpoe he served in what was called the USAAF (US Army Air Force). They were the predecessor to the current USAF. My grandfather made it to the rank of SSgt.
Eventually he ended up in flight training in Nevada and did practice runs 50 feet off the deck of Death Valley. He also told me he faked the eye exam by memorizing the chart. Not only did my grandfather have to man the tailgunner turret, he also had to know how to load and maintain the weapon involved in his position. before he was sent to hethel AB, England, he told me of a gruesome story. He watched a fellow soldier get out of a B24 before the engines had stopped. he walked under the wing and then his body was torn to pieces. Need I say what happened.
Heres the text from a facebook email summarizing his 12 missions in Eurpoe. People like him were granted an honorable discharge after 25 missions. My grandfather never made it that far. The following text has mission numbers, dates and cities. They are found in a reference book of the 8th Air Force that I proudly keep downstairs. My grandfather hand wrote details on the missions he flew.
1. 8AF248- 05Mar44- Confirmed 1 kill by him ME109 Bailout. French targets
2. 8AF250- 06Mar44- Berlin w/ heavy losses
3. 8AF252- 08Mar44- Berlin w/heavy losses
4. 8AF257- 13Mar44- Calais, France. Weather caused diversion in targets. One B24 exploded forming up.
5. 8AF259- 15Mar44-Brunswick, Germany, medium losses
6. 8AF262- 16Mar44-Friedrichshaffen, Germany. Heavy Losses.
7. 8AF264- 18Mar44-Friedrichshaffen. Extreme Heavy Losses.
8. 8AF275- 23Mar44-Munster, Germany. Very Heavy Losses.
9. 8AF277- 24Mar44-St Dizier, France. Light Losses
10. 8AF280- 26Mar44- Giracourt, France. Light Losses.
11. 8AF282- 27Mar44 Pau Pont, France. Many Killed and taken POW.
12. 8AF298 11Apr44 (Easter Sunday). Oschersleben, Germany. Heavy Losses. His plane was shot down that day and he bailed out. One crew member succumbed to injuries from a bullet taken to the leg before they bailed. His plane was sprayed by bullets from the rear. The tailgunner turret where he was, was blown into the main part of the plane. The airplane gradually lost altitude ecause the #3 engine was also hit and trailed smoke.
When my grandfather bailed, his chute was already open. He cleared the B24 tailfin by inches. Farmers nearly pitchforked him before he was taken POW. He was liberated by Russians from Stalag 17 on 08May45.
Many years later he visited places in France where he was ordered to bomb. From what I remember, I think he got emotional when he saw it all up close.