Remembering the Former POWs of the 371st Fighter Group

Today is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, according to a proclamation made by President Barack Obama today, April 9, 2014.

We should remember all of our nation’s POWs on this day, which is the anniversary of the fall of Bataan, in which over 12,000 American military personnel were surrendered/captured, the largest single event of its kind on American military history.

During World War II, there were a number of P-47 pilots of the 371st Fighter Group who were shot down during combat missions and became prisoners of war of Nazi Germany. Although research continues on this subject, references found mainly in the Group’s Warbook, “The Story of the 371st Fighter Group in the E.T.O.,” indicate the following group members became POWs of Nazi Germany (Note: This list does not contain the names of those who may have died in captivity. Some group members remain missing to this day and whether they were ever prisoners remains unclear.):

Canup, Luther P., Capt., 405FS

Gamble, Robert M., 1st. Lt., 405FS

Hooper, Leon L., 1st. Lt., 405FS

Jack, William A., Capt., 406FS (Possibly the last POW of group, April 1945)

Johnson, Glenn H., 1st. Lt., 404FS

LaRochelle, Joseph E., 2nd. Lt., 404FS (First POW of group, 6 June 1944)

Marks, Robert L., F/O, 405FS

Martin, Russell M., 1st. Lt., 405FS

McCoy, Jefferson M., 2nd. Lt., 404FS

McDuff, Lee E., 2nd. Lt., 405FS

Schleppegrell, William, 2nd. Lt., 405FS

Shumard, Darrel G., 1st. Lt., 404FS

Simmons, George R., 2nd. Lt., 405FS

Tait, Harry H., Jr., Capt., 406FS

Wolcott, Robert S., Maj., 404FS

At least two other group members, Capt. Rudolph Augarten, in France, 1944, and 1st. Lt. Edward R. Kirkland, in Germany, 1945, both from the 406FS, were captured by the enemy but managed to escape and return to friendly lines.

In another interesting prisoner experience, Capt. Harry W. Hohl, Jr., 404FS, was shot down on June 8, 1944 and “captured” by French guerillas of dubious loyalty, who apparently debated whom they might sell Hohl and some other American, British and German “captives” to for the highest price, either the Germans or Americans! Left unguarded momentarily, Hohl and an American P-51 pilot took off, bringing the two Germans in the group with them, and found their way to friendly lines.

So on this day, we remember Frisky’s former POWs from World War II, and honor their service and sacrifice for our country.

References:

“The Story of the 371st Fighter Group in the E.T.O.,” Army & Navy Pictorial Publishers, Baton Rouge, LA, 1946

Presidential Proclamation — National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, 2014 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/08/presidential-proclamation-national-former-prisoner-war-recognition-day-2

Prisoner of War Story of William Schleppegrell

Click to access Volklingen_Schleppegrell.pdf

Searching for information about the 42-29208 a P-47
http://forum.armyairforces.com/Searching-for-information-about-the-4229208-a-P47-m211336.aspx

Glenn H Johnson World War 2 POW Record
http://www.ww2pow.info/index.php?page=directory&rec=79720

Russell M Martin World War 2 POW Record
http://www.ww2pow.info/index.php?page=directory&rec=90889

Jefferson M McCoy World War 2 POW Record
http://www.ww2pow.info/index.php?page=directory&rec=92308

Robert M Gamble World War 2 POW Record
http://www.ww2pow.info/index.php?page=directory&rec=67033

George R Simmons World War 2 POW Record
http://www.ww2pow.info/index.php?page=directory&rec=114527

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