B-17 Nine-O-Nine

Oct 262014
 
2/Lt. Ralph I. Jones

2/Lt. Ralph I. Jones

2/Lt. Ralph I. Jones was killed August 28, 1944 over Boskovštejn, Czech Republic on his first combat mission.  I recounted his heroic story in an earlier post.

Now for the first time, his picture adorns the monument dedicated to a once-unknown American P-51 fighter pilot. The seventieth anniversary memorial service for 2/Lt. Jones was held last August 30.

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Oct 262014
 
Memorial Service for Lt. James E. Hoffman, Jr.

Memorial Service for Lt. James E. Hoffman, Jr.

A ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of the death of Lt. James E. Hoffman, Jr. was held last August 23 near Věžky, Czech Republic.  Lt. Hoffman was a decorated P-51 pilot who was shot down August 22, 1944.

A monument to this American hero was erected in 1946.  This year a photograph of Lt. Hoffman now adorns the monument.

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May 182014
 
Air Cadet Ralph I. Jones Primary Flight School, Gibbs Field, Fort Stockton, Texas, circa 1943. (AAFC, 2014)

Air Cadet Ralph I. Jones
Primary Flight School, Gibbs Field, Fort Stockton, Texas, circa 1943. (AAFC, 2014)

Monday, August 28, 1944. It was a bright sunny day in the small village of Boskovštejn, in then Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic. Shortly before 9:00 am, five hundred miles to the south, nineteen year old Second Lieutenant Ralph I. Jones climbed aboard “Birmingham Boomerang,” his P-51B Mustang, a single-seat, single-engine fighter airplane. That day was his first combat mission. It was also his last.

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Nov 152011
 

View a copy of The Gig SheetThe seventieth anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is this year.  I found a poignant reminder of that tragedy in an item recently added to the AAF Collection.

The Gig Sheet is a class book for advanced pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas.  Class 41-F graduated on August 15, 1941 just three months before the United States entered the war.

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Oct 242011
 

Thieme Crew

I encourage you to visit the Gilbert Malrait and Thieme Crew memorial site at www.2ltmalrait-gilbert.net. It gives an account of a B-24 combat air crew, most of whom were killed in action on April 4, 1944. What makes this site unique is the background and personal history of each crew member. There are lots of photographs and documentation.

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Sep 012011
 
Clyde O. Primrose, Jr.

Clyde O. Primrose, Jr.

Clyde O. Primrose, Jr.
(1923-1944)

Clyde Odis Primrose, Jr. was a young lad of 19 when he entered the United States Army in 1942. He had grown up on a farm near Hemphill, Texas, the oldest of what would eventually be eleven children his mother and father would rear. The family had no electricity or running water, but they had each other and a wonderful work ethic. From the first time he saw an airplane in the sky as a young child, he wanted to fly. As did thousands of others, Odis answered his nation’s call and joined the Army, with only a dream that he could somehow make it through cadet training, mechanics training, flight school, and advanced training and become a pilot. By sheer hard work and determination, he competed with college educated men, and did indeed become a flight cadet, earn his wings, and eventually see service as a co-pilot on a B-24 heavy bomber.

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Sep 012011
 
James Carl Nelson

James Carl Nelson

James Carl Nelson
(1925-1965)

My father was originally from Conneaut, Ohio. He wrote his mother letters during his training in the AAF which she kept and passed down to me. He joined the Army Air Forces in November, 1943 and attended basic training at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He was tested for aptitude during the basic and selected for aviation cadet training. He did this at Akron University starting in January 1944. This was the Third College Training Detachment.

After completing courses there he was transferred to the pre-flight instruction at the East Central College in Ada, Oklahoma, in April 1944, as part of the 2579th AAF BU, class 44-C-1. He then started learning how to fly in the trainers. He was selected to be a navigator rather than a pilot, and then assigned to Group 1, Squadron 86, class 45-C at the S.A.A.C.C – San Antonio, Texas in August 1944. He seemed to prefer the navigator role more than the pilot since it suited his technical nature.

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Sep 012011
 
Eugene A. "Scotty" LaScotte

Eugene A. "Scotty" LaScotte

Eugene A. “Scotty” LaScotte
(1921-2001)

On June 22, 1942, Eugene and his two brothers each enlisted with high hopes of becoming pilots. On December 31, 1942 Eugene was called up and he entered into active service. He gave it his best shot in preflight school but unfortunately, “washed” out.

He was then transferred to a gunnery school where he completed his training on the .50 caliber machine gun. Not being a very tall person–only five feet eight inches–he was found to be best suited for the nose-gunner position in a B-24.

The new crew that he joined was formed in Fairmont, Nebraska on September 20, 1943. Eugene was now a member of the 15th Air Force, 485th Bomb Group / 828th Bomb Squadron.

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Sep 012011
 
John E. "Jack" Voisin

John E. "Jack" Voisin

John E. “Jack” Voisin
(1925-1994)

Jack Voisin had wanted to fly since he was a youngster in Michigan. He entered the Army Air Forces in August 1943 shortly after turning eighteen. He underwent basic training at Basic Training Center #4 in Miami Beach, Florida. He was then assigned to the 39th College Training Detachment at Clinton, South Carolina for five months.

Starting in April 1944 he underwent preflight training which lasted six months at Santa Ana, California. He was assigned to be a navigator. He earned his flexible gunnery wings at Kingman, Arizona (November 1944) and his navigator wings at San Marcos, Texas, where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant (April 1945).

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