He was on his fourth mission over Germany in a B-17 bomber called “Sky Wolf” when his luck ran out. It was June 13, 1943, their target: the submarine pens at Wilhelmshaven, a major North Sea port.
On most of his 35 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, Staff Sgt. Michael Tristano of Heron Creek subdivision in North Port, Fla. flew as a ball-turret gunner on a “Flying Fortress,” a B-17 bomber.
In 1940, Ralph Bates, of Port Charlotte, Fla. was 18 when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Before he completed flight training in Canada, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The young aviator requested a transfer to the U.S. Air Force.
By the time Capt. Bill Haase reached England and the 8th Air Force during the last half of World War II, he was an experienced aviator with 15 months under his belt flying new bombardiers on practice bombing missions stateside.
Five days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, 2nd Lt. John Pickering graduated from the U.S. Army Aviation Cadet Program. He had his wings, but he wasn’t qualified to fly anything but an AT-6 trainer.
More than 60 years after a former B-17 bomber mechanic wrote a goodbye note to a 9-year-old English boy during a going-away party for Americans near the close of World War II, the two were once again united through a computer.
Ernest Erickson flew a “Flying Fortress,” four-engine bomber dubbed “Lili of the Lamplight,” from a base near Ipswich, England on 35 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe in 1943 and ’44 during World War II. It was one of thousands of B-17s flown by the 8th Air Force that devastated Germany.
On an overcast April night in 1943 a lone B-17 bomber dubbed “Hotfoot Two” flew from Newfoundland to Greenland on its way to Scotland, Ireland, England and the war zone in Europe. The “Flying Fortress” was destined for the 8th Air Force to became one of the thousands of American, four-engine, heavy bombers to wield…
America’s airborne military might in Europe during World War II was hammered home by thousands of four-engine B-17 “Flying Fortress” and B-24, four-engine “Liberator” heavy bombers that dropped thousands of tons of bombs on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” from 1943 until the end of the war two years later. By then, there was little left of…
It was the railroad yard at Mannheim, Germany that was almost T/Sgt. Howard W. Dillingham’s and the other seven members of his B-17 bomber crew’s undoing.
“The DAY of Aug. 17, 1943 was to be, perhaps the most important and certainly the most eventful of my life to date,” the late Martin Fetherolf of Punta Gorda Isles, Fla. wrote in his “War Log” from Stalag Luft-3 in the heart of Germany during World War II. It’s where he spent most of…
“Ferrets flights” are what they were called. They were aptly named because the super-secret missions in modified B-29 bombers immediately after World War II were made to ferret out information about the Soviet Union’s most sensitive military sites.
Jimmy Stewart taught former 2nd Lt. Nick Radosevich of Englewood, Fla. how to fly a B-17 and B-24 bombers during World War II.
Like a lot of other young men his age, Ed Lukach wanted to be a pilot when he signed up at 19 for the Army’s Aviation Cadet Program in 1942 near the start of World War II.
George Lentz of Rotonda, Fla. was a staff sergeant in the 385th Bomb Group, 549th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Wing of the 8th Air Force in World War II. He flew 29 combat missions as an engineer and top turret gunner in a B-17 “Flying Fortress” at the end of the war from a base near…
Harold Kloth of Lexington Manor in Port Charlotte, Fla. flew 30 combat missions as the pilot of a B-17 bomber nicknamed “Royal Flush” as part of the 8th Air Force in Europe during World War II.
Otto Glass was the first young man in his hometown of St. Mary’s, Ohio drafted in World War II. He went in the Army Air Force almost a year before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Bill Schultz flew from a field in Foggia, Italy, as the pilot of a B-17 “Flying Fortress” in World War II. The 87-year-old North Port, Fla. resident, who lives in the Lazy River manufactured home park, was a member of the 301st Bomb Group, 419th Bomb Squadron, 15th Air Force 65 years ago.
John Ross, who until relatively recently lived in North Port, Fla. for 33 years, was the pilot of a B-17 Bomber during World War II. He and his bomber crew were members of the 388th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force flying out of a field near Cambridge, England.
It was June 20, 1944 and 1st Lt. Leslie Nielsen was on his 28th combat mission over Nazi occupied Europe during World War II with only two more missions to fly. Their target: an oil refinery in Hamburg, Germany.
A family tradition Bob Burling’s father, Samuel, served as a motorcycle dispatch driver on the front lines in Europe during World War I. Bob served two years, four months and 10 days as part of a B-17 bomber crew in World War II, and his son, Robert, served with the 1st Cavalry in Vietnam.
They were supposed to fly their final bombing mission, their 35th, over Cologne, Germany on Friday 13th, 1944. They didn’t do it. That was a big mistake.