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MACR PILOT: 2Lt  George W.  Ford  - O-798470

MACR: 01394 FICHE : 00464

ORGANIZATION

LOCATION: AAF Station #139 COMMAND: VIII AF GROUP: 100th Bomb Gp (H) AAF
SQUADRON: 349th BS DETACHMENT:  
     

DETAIL

DEPARTURE:AAF Station #139 INITIAL COURSE: See Below  
INTENDED DESTINATION: Paris    
MISSION TYPE:Operational    

WEATHER & VISIBILITY AT TIME OF LAST REPORT

CONDITION: 6/10 to 8/10 clouds.    

GIVE

DATE: 1943-11-26 TIME: 11:05 LOCATION: 49 23N - 02 00E

SPECIFY:

Seen to crash

CONFIRMED OR BELIEVED REASON FOR LOSS

LOSS DUE TO : Enemy aircraft

OTHER REASON FOR LOSS:

AIRCRAFT: 42-31215

TYPE: B-17 SERIES: G  
     
     

ENGINES:

MODEL:    
A: SW-001590
B: SW-001603
C: SW-001536
D: SW-00134?
   

INSTALLED WEAPONS:

A: 685049
B: 683935
C: 683221
D: 683676
E: 685613
F: 683394
G: 683390
H: 407044
I: 374208
J: 684779
K: 684430
L: 674232 (m)675047

PERSONS BELOW ARE LISTED AS:

CASUALTY TYPE: Battle casualty  
NUMBER OF PERSONS ON BOARD:    
CREW: 10 PASS: 0 TOTAL: 10

PERSONNEL:

POSITION NAME RANK SERIAL
P1
P2 George W.  Ford 2Lt O-798470
CP Jean b. Pitner 2Lt O-686490
NAV (N) Arno E. Plischke 2Lt O-750254
BOM (B) Arthur G. Bodei 2Lt O-679185
RAD Max S. Newman TSgt 32618432
ENG Andrew F. Hathaway TSgt 32464145
BAL George E. Jones SSgt 13022168
WG (W) Delton L. King SSgt 18188224
WG (W) Leo J. Bianchi SSgt 31213084
TG (T) Carl G. Glasmeier SSgt 35679642

PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWLEDGE OF AIRCRAFT

Robert H. Lohof 1Lt O-533023
Last sighted
Hennington 1Lt O-734086
Last sighted    
Gerald R. Putnam 1Lt O-792348
Last sighted

PERSONNEL WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE SURVIVED

REASON: Parachutes were used OTHER:  

EYEWITNESS DESCRIPTIONS OF CRASH

Report:
A/C #215 was hit in #2 engine when two FW 190's attacked our low squadron at 1045 hours. It fell out of formation and dived for cloud cover.  E/A followed, but P-47's went to rescue.  This A/C was seen from time to time to be flying below our formation.  At 1048, one chute was seen to open and at 1103 hours, nine more chutes were seen.  At 1105 hours it hit the ground and exploded, near 4923N - 0200E.  During its last few minutes in flight, fire had spread over the entire left wing.
   
   
Second Witness: No Data  
Report:

DESCRIPTION OF SEARCH EFFORT

DETAIL:No search made.

PREPARING OFFICER

PREPARED BY: CLAUDE L. HOSFORD 1st Lt Air Corps Personnel Officer

DATE PREPARED: 1999-11-30

TRANSCRIBER NOTES


REPORT:

There remains some difficulty in determining G. W Ford's role with this crew.  (Letter to Jim Brown from Jean Pitner regarding this matter follows..

Dear Jim: (26 November 1990)

Forty seven years ago today, I was shot down.  Twenty seven days before that I signed in at the 100th. First, let me answer your specific question regarding Earl Williams and George Ford.  Earl was first pilot on my crew. I met him, as well as my navigator and bombardier, at Walla Walla, Washington.  Earl was an "old timer".  He had been an enlisted radio operator in Hawaii before the peacetime draft and during the attack of December 7, 1941.  When I met him he was a 1st Lt., married and no children.  The rest of us had just graduated from flying schools; in my case "travel time" from Blackland AAB, Waco, Texas, to Moses Lake, Washington, then on to Walla Walla. Earl and I flew a couple of local flights after we arrived at the 100th.  He, as well as all of the crew (except me), flew combat missions shortly after we arrived at the 100th. each of them flew with different crews at different times as substitutes on various crews Our crew was scheduled to fly together for the first time on 26 November 1943.  I was not included.  An experienced multi-missioned pilot would "check out the crew and sign off Earl as combat ready.  I do not know what happened during the night to change the plans, but I was awakened early in the morning and told that I would fly and Earl would not.  Earl was as surprised as I. I met George Ford at briefing.  He was a captain, said very little, mentioned that he had flown fourteen (I think) missions. He also told me that this was a good starting mission for me (my first) and that it would be a "piece of cake" and a "milk run". The last time I saw George was as we were bailing out. I never believed, nor was I told, that George was a "new crew member" who would continue to fly with us.  I thought he was sort of a "check ride" for a new crew.  So much for George now back to Earl. The last time I saw Earl was when he came to London to make a personal identification of me for Army Intelligence. I recall that Earl had changed.  I thought he was "flak happy", and for a little while I thought he either did not know me, or would not make the identification.  He did, but the intelligence officers weren't satisfied.  Intelligence demanded two other officers from the 100th to come and make the identification. To shorten this phase, Intelligence had to accept Earl's ID because there were no officers in the 100th who knew me! I haven't said anything about my escape from France, and that is not an oversight.  There are two reasons:  (1)  It has been proven that the longer the time from the combat experience, the greater the distortion in the way the person describes that experience.  If the action is told frequently, that too will alter the facts. Often truth becomes fantasy. Most are unaware of what has happened and actually believe they are recalling the combat experience exactly as it happened.  (2) Even if I could recount my escape in accurate detail, there is no way that I can separate a part from the whole.  I am certain that it would be effortless for me to write hundreds of pages, single spaced with narrow margins, and probably leave out something. Even worse, I probably would exaggerate the facts.  It would be nothing but historical fiction at best.

Now you can understand why I opened this letter with those two observations, especially the forty seven years remark.  Come to think of it, I wonder what kind of a story I would tell about my last combat flying three years in Vietnam, including all campaigns of the entire conflict? This time I was shot up frequently, but not shot down.

I think that you have a difficult task before you in your research.  I suspect that time is running out. Oddly, in my 33 years of service, I've met only one person who was in the 100th.  I was lecturing at Brown University, Providence, RI, in the Fall of 1964, when I met a man named Brown.  He told me that he had been the historian of the 100th.  Coincidence? We talked at length, but we were not at the 100th at the same time.

I congratulate you on the work you are doing and hope you can bring the account to an end soon.  I know from personal experience how frustrating, tiring, and sometimes expensive research can be, especially oral and first person.  I know, too, the great satisfaction of completion.  I hope you experience that soon. Sincerely Yours,  Jean Pitner