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Lt Paul Wilkerson getting Air Medal 11 APRI 45. Photo courtesy of Jack O'Leary


Comments1: GAFFNEY, SC




2ND LT PAUL A. WILKERSON            BOM FEH  (became 349th BS Bombardier after 6 missions)
CPL ANTHONY R. RUSSO                  BTG FEH
CPL JOHN J. O'LEARY                        WG FEH  TAPS; 1985
CPL EARL J. BAUGH                            TG FEH


 Mis No#      Date            Target                        A/C No#       

#290           3/30/45       HAMBURG                 43-38602       XR-P    “Grumblin Gremlin II”

#291           3/31/45       ZEITZ                       44-8334        XR-B

#293            4/4/45        KEIL                        43-38602       XR-P….”Grumblin Gremlin II”

#294            4/5/45        NURNBURG               43-38313       XR-S     “Lil   Butch”

#296            4/7/45       BUCHEN                    43-38602       XR-P    “Grumblin Gremlin II”

#297            4/8/45      EGER,Czech.                44-8532       XR-G    “Kleen Sweep”

#298            4/9/45      MUNICH                      44-8532        XR-G    “Kleen Sweep” 

#299          4/10/45   BURG-BEI-MADGEBURG    44-8532        XR-G    “Kleen Sweep”

#300          4/11/45   LANDSHUT                    43-38383      LN-F

#305          4/18/45   STRAUBING                   43-38865      XR-0       “Goin My Way”

All Dutch Food Drop Missions                Some flights to Europe Post-Hostilities

 4/19/45   Combat Mission Scrubbed/                43-38865   XR-O   “Goin My Way”


5/3/45   CHOWHOUND                                    44-8532   XR-G   “Kleen Sweep”

5/5/45   CHOWHOUND(HILVERSUM)                  44-8532   XR-G   “Kleen Sweep”

5/7/45   CHOWHOUND(SCHIPHOL)                   43-38865   XR-O   “Goin My Way”

5/19/45   DP Ferry from Germany to Paris           43-39424   EP-B

6/3/45     DP Ferry from Austria to Paris              44-8552    XR-D

6/7/45   Food run to Dutch

6/9/45   357th FG Ferry to Munich

6/10/45  Food run to Dutch

6/12/45  Fighter Ferry to Casablanca                 44-8810    XR-L   “Target for Tonight”

6/13/45  Returned to Thorpe Abbotts

              from Port Lyautey

7/15/45  Ferry to Nice, France……………….         44-8810…XR-L…”Target for Tonight”


My Dad was based at Thorpe Abbotts from  3/14/45 to 12/8/45 – 100th BG (349thSqdn)

Gris Smith’s crew until he left U.K. on Queen Mary to USA on 12/8/45,arriving USA 12/13/45 

The misson data is courtesy of Mr J.J. O'Leary, Jr.

  Disposition of some100th Aircraft flown by J.J. O'Leary

 #48532 349 XR G   Clean Sweep(Kleen Sweep)
                                             11 10 44 AI 23 10 44 AOS 00 00 44 G
                                             20 05 45 482 BG 28 11 45 Kingman, Arizona
  Indicates the aircraft built 11/10/44 and entered Air Force inventory 23/10/44 
  Overseas unknown month and date in 1944 and was a "G" model. She was tranferred to the 
  482nd Bomb Group 20/05/45 and was returned to the ZI (Kingman, Arizona 28/1145
  # 48810 48810  349 XR L Target for Tonight 
  04/0145 AI 04/unk/45 AOS 00 00 45 "G"
  10/10/45 Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

XR_crew@yahoo.comuname = Jack O'Learycomments 
= RE: Gris Smith Crew photo on page 13,349th Sqdn page…
I would like to see a bit more DETAILED information regarding this crew photo..So use whatever you feel is useful and have space for….this photo was taken at DREW FIELD,FLORIDA (NOW TAMPA INTERNATIONAL)where the crew was first put together..their individual flying records indicate; assigned from late October,1944 until January 24,1945 to 3rd Air Force,Bomber Command,89th Wing,Group CCTS HB,Squardron T,Flight Secion 1, CREW # 11-47…Flying from Nov 1,1944 until Jan 7,1945…52 landings in 31 days of flying..181.50 TOTAL flying HRS…Usual training pattern of many takeoff and landings first three flights,13(in 5.40 hrs),3,and 6,and then 1 per day average 6.00 hrs per…with 2 flights toward end of cycle at 9.05 hrs and 10.40 hrs each…Flying over Gulf of Mexico which could be tricky when flying over water…crew members used phrase to me "one a day in Tampa Bay"…not sure if this AAF base had any MORE crashe!s than usual at a Training base for aircrews!!! Crew cycled out to Savannah Ga (HUNTER Field,AAF)in late January,1945 then traveled to NYC for their Feb,1945 crossing of the Atlantic,via Queen Elizabeth to Scotland,then to Thorpe Abbotts,arriving March 14,1945;flying four practice flights,3/20,3/25,3/27,3/29 before jumping into the fray on their first combat mission,March 30th,HAMBURG…Interesting from Jan 8th,1945 until March 20th…NO FLYING TIME for the crew after such intense training in the States…Jack O'Leary,son of WG John J.O'Leary on the Gris Smith crew

In a message dated 4/18/2003 8:27:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

Subj:One ship down,two chutes opened many years ago,March 30,1945 
Date:4/18/2003 8:27:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time,,,
Sent from the Internet 

Hi De and Earl

RE: Your first combat mission,March 30th,1945

Where it's Good Friday today and I TRY to keep from
talking much on this solumn of days I decided to do a
little research on your first combat mission to
HAMBURG,March 30,1945

specificly to follow up Gris Smith's mission log with
his,and your (crews) comments on the mission regarding
the accuracy of the comments.."I was flying the run
and therefore couldn't see much,but out of the corner
of my eye,saw the Squardron on our right in a pretty
thick concentration of flak.Further to the right was a
Yellow Tail outfit.The flak around us was thick,but
that Yellow Tail group was really taking a
beating.Right waist gunner (Sgt.John O'Leary,THE waist
Gunner,9 man crew)reported that one ship went down
with two chutes opened."

Well De they were right on with their observations.

After researching the mission for the day,I found
three  B-17G's  lost on the mission to Hamburg..only
one from a "Yellow Tailed Group…the 486th BG…

The Lt Fredrick Veal crew on their 9th mission…they
arrived at the 486th four days (March 10th)before your
crew did ..

See the 486th BG website for a photo of the crew and a
listing of what happened…  CLICK on 832th Sqdn artwork…select
VEAL…they were flying in the low low Sqdn #5 when
hit by flak..a wing broke off and a/c went into
dive,shortly after the a/c exploded…two crew were
able to get out…Sgt Robert Herman,was the Tail Gunner that got out and
    became a POW  with Lt. Don Johns,the Nav.
    The other seven are buried at the American Cemetery in
Cambridge..(wish I knew this when I visited in
Sept-Oct 2002,would have looked them up and said a

The Veal crew were flying RODNEY THE ROCKS #43-38142
MACR 13550 that crashed in Pinneburg,Germany that
day,an a/c transferred from another Sqdn prviously
named LIL BUTCH…the same nickname as one a/c your
crew flew in the 100th BG…

With all that was going on around them,Gris and Dad
were right on the money in their observations.Just
like they were trained to be by the USAAF..

Best as ever,

Have a good EASTER!


Subj: W.G SMITH,A.KIRSLING crews,connections,misc  
Date: 3/11/2004 6:29:49 AM Pacific Standard Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
Hi Mike     At some point I'm going to send you an email draft of connections between the SMITH and KIRSLING crews…What's interesting (to me) is why and how some things happened with crew assignments…Case in point,Paul Wilkenson…Paul was an EXPERT bombardier…He spent 18 months at Midland ,TX  training bombardiers..(One of the reasons he wanted to go overseas was he felt he might be killed teaching bombing,and his family wouldn't even get a purple heart)…Paul had showed up at Drew Field,FL  and COMPLETED training with another crew only to be kept at Drew Field while the remainder of his crew was sent to the ETO without their Bombardier  (9 man crew switch to TOG'S because of air crew shortages in the ETO)… In Oct,1944 when Gris Smith (and Wilson Turnipseed) went to the assigning crew Sgt. At Drew (Gris was also a 1st Lt,and knew the Adg. At Drew) looking for the best of what was available in the pool…Gris gave the Sgt a bottle of booze and he got Paul assigned to his crew…Gris and "Turnip" were from old, well off, Southern families used to getting what they wanted…Case in point,the two of them (were college frat brothers at Chapel Hill) and when they got to Drew Field,took one look at the officers quarters and Gris proceeded to get a suite at a Tampa Hotel where they stayed during their months at Drew Field…Nice if you get it,right!...Paul said he was very disappointed he couldn't have gone over with the original crew because the men got so tight when they trained together,learned the strengths of each other,as well as some of the flaws…but knew because of the training,they could count on each man doing his job well especially in combat when the pressure was on,and the training paid off when they were scared as they all were but did their jobs regardless…Someone at Thorpe Abbotts recognized they had a very talented Bombardier in short order…Paul flew his last mission with Gris and crew on April 8th,1945 after 6 combat missions …Gris and Paul tried to get the Sqdn C.O. to let Paul flew another mission,but couldn't…This is where the connection comes in to the Kirsling crew…Paul was reassigned to the Al Kirsling crew to train as a LEAD CREW…Now John Accinelli (N) flew with Kirsling until at least  April 17th,when he flew with COBLE…I have some conflicting information from Ralph Dew,the ROG on the Kirsling crew,so the Kirsling Lead crew  missions are still to be sorted out…(some time starting around April 9th,1945 at the earliest)…Paul in a letter to me "I flew 3 Food Drops with the Al Kirsling crew,who I trained with as a Lead Crew)…So there is much to sort out yet Mike about any possible combat missions for the Kirsling crew as a lead crew….For now, I'm giving you the much later,after hostilities offical Combat Crew Assignment for the Kirsling  Crew,maybe when I finish the final draft which will include the Smith crew assigment,and changes to personnel we can tie it in with comments ,after hostilities or something what's on the pages for BOTH crews since possible family members,interested parties might be looking for people hard to find info on because of their late arrival,etc….Anyway,here's(KIRSLING  CREW ROSTER)  the 1 Sept,1945 349th Bombardment Squadron,Combat Crew Assignment from the Office of the Operations Officer….CREW  # 2, SHIP # 752-0  P-1st Lt. Kirsling,Albert (NMI) CP-2nd Lt. Lavoie,George P, N-2nd Lt. Turnipseed,Wilson P. Jr., VN-1st Lt. Carpenter,Kenneth W.,B-1st Lt. O'Laughlin,Arthur J.,R-Sgt Dew,Ralph S.,E-S/Sgt Miller,Edmund P.,BT-Sgt Czarnowski,Stanley E.,TG-Sgt Hilber,Joseph J.,CIS-Sgt Merrill,Clyde R  (spare)………….That's all Mike, Note,t Paul Wilkenson had Turnip assigned to his crew…I can't say for sure,but where Paul really liked flying with crew he trained with,I do believe he must have requested Turnip when they started their LEAD CREW training in April,1945….  I'll send you a final draft upon completion,just though you would like my comments for the interim…Later, Jack O'Leary


To whom it may concern,
     My name is Sally W Simmons and I am proud to say that I am the daughter of one of the bravest men I have ever known.  Sadly to say, on December 30, 2007, at the age of 92 years young, my father, Paul Allison Wilkerson, passed away at Clemson Downs Health Center in Clemson, SC.  He served in WWII as a 1st Lt. Squadron bombadier; 349th  Bomb Squadron; 100th Bomb Group (H); 13th Combat Wing; 3rd Air Division; 8th Air Force.  I hope I stated things correctly.
      His loving wife, Lucy Wood Wilkerson, survives him as well as this writer, another daughter and a son.  I am proud to have been a part, if only through precious memorabilia and stories, of the courage and  strength  that was known to surround the "Bloody Hundreth".
                                                                      Sally Simmons
Hi Cindy,  Here's the obituary link for Paul A. Wilkerson,who passed away 30 Dec,2007 at 92.    Always very sad to see one of my dads crew pass away but Paul's passing was a blessing. He had been in poor health for sometime in an assisted care hospital facility and his memory was affected as well. Personnally I will miss Paul. I will remember meeting him with three other members of my dads crew at the Cincinnati 100th BG reunion and the stories he (and they told) me were priceless. Paul was a Bombardiers Instructor at Midland,Texas for 18 months before volunteering for combat duty in the ETO..and trained with a crew at Drew Field,Florida before being pulled off when they completed their crew training. Paul was assigned to the Gris Smith crew and went through crew training with them again for the entire two month cycle. Gris Smith told me a story of how he got Paul assigned to his crew and years later Paul confirmed the story to me in person and later in a letter that I requested. Gris asked the crew assignments sgt. Who was the best bombardier and the sgt. Told him Paul was.(The Sgt. Was correct Paul later became 349th BS Bombardier)  Gris (and his Nav Wilson Turnipseed) asked the sgt if there was anyway Paul could be assigned to his crew and the sgt. Did  assign Paul to the W.Griswold Smith crew( some bottles of booze also changed hands in the process)….. Jack

Paul A. Wilkerson

Nov 7th,1915--Taps Dec. 30th,2007 in Clemson,S.C.

Bombardier on the W. Griswold Smith crew,349th BS 

Paul became 349th Bomb Squadron Bombardier after completing his sixth combat mission (Air Medal mission) with the Gris Smith crew with the permission of John Robinson,Sqdn C.O.

After the war Paul started the National Guard in Gaffney,S.C. and received the Eisenhower Award.
Paul Wilkerson became 349th Bomb Squadron bombardier and flew the first mission on 1 May to the Hague. Paul said they dropped long and some 10 in 1 cartons went out late and landed on buildings. He said a letter arrived at the base from a professor who wrote their tail number down after one of the cartons landed in his kitchen after going through the roof. He explained they were thankful for the food and not seeking damages to the roof.
I have it on an audio tape he recorded with three others on the crew.







Lt Paul A. Wilkerson was Bombardier on Gris Smith Crew and later 349th Squadron Bombardier

The Griswold Smith Crew (Left to Right)
Standing: DeLome Cumbaa, John J. O'Leary, Earl J. Baugh, Stanley A. Szalwinski, Anthony R. Russo
Kneeling: Gris Smith, Robert Smith, Wilson P Turnipseed, Paul A. Wilkerson



Crew 1

ID: 5532