Frisky Remembers National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day 2015

Today, April 9, is National Former Prisoner of War Day in the United States, by presidential proclamation:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/08/presidential-proclamation-national-former-prisoner-war-recognition-day-2

This day is purposely commemorated on the anniversary of the Fall of Bataan, 9 April 1942, which was the largest surrender in American military history. More on that subject at the Bataan Campaign web log, at: https://bataancampaign.wordpress.com/

And truth be told, the 371st Fighter Group lost a number of pilots in combat during the war, with at least 19 counted by this web log writer as falling into German hands after surviving their shoot-downs during the war, and two of these successfully escaped from the initial phase of captivity. One of these two, 1st Lt. Edward R. Kirkland, was featured in last month’s post about the 371st’s Distinguished Unit Citation. Another pilot was briefly “captured” and detained by “other than German forces” (described further below).

The Prisoner of War Medal honors those who continued to serve our country though in enemy captivity, and was authorized during the Reagan Administration on 8 November 1985.  Former POW's must apply to receive the award retroactively.  (Courtesy American Ex-Prisoners of War)

The Prisoner of War Medal honors those who continued to serve our country though in enemy captivity, and was authorized during the Reagan Administration on 8 November 1985. Former POW’s must apply to receive the award retroactively. (Courtesy American Ex-Prisoners of War)

So on this day, Frisky remembers the P-47 Thunderbolt pilots of the 371st Fighter Group who became prisoners of war in the European Theater of Operations during World War II:

Augarten, Rudolph, Capt., 404FS. Shot down by flak on 10 June 1944 near Monteille, France, while flying P-47D-20-RE serial number 42-76365. Bailed out four miles east of Lisieux, France, last seen running to farmhouse and waving to P-47’s above. Captured, POW briefly. Escaped, evaded, and returned to unit on 14 August 1944. (MACR 5686)

Canup, Luther P., Capt., 405FS. Shot down by flak on 8 July 1944 near Vire, France, (or Cambernon, France) on armed recce mission, while flying P-47D-20-RE serial number 42-76454. Reported as POW on 14 February 1945, returned to military control after end of war in Europe. (MACR 6646)

Gamble, Robert M., 1st. Lt., 405FS. Shot down in aerial combat on 2 January 1945 while flying P-47D-28-RA, serial number 42-28858. (MACR 11617)

Hooper, Leon L., 1st. Lt., 405FS. Experienced mechanical difficulty over enemy territory in P-47D-25-RE serial number 42-26551. (MACR 14107)

Jack, William A., Capt., 406FS. Flying P-47D-30-RA serial number 44-33036 (4W-O, named “Virg”) on 20 April 1945 when aircraft was damaged by trees while strafing. He came down in the vicinity of Greding, Germany and was taken prisoner. He was probably the last POW of the 371st Fighter Group. (MACR 14092)

Johnson, Glenn H., 1st. Lt., 404FS. On 14 February 1945 while flying P-47D-21-RA serial number 43-25551 collided in mid-air with P-47D flown by 1st Lt. Darrel G. Shumard. He came down in the vicinity of Kirkel, Germany and was captured. (MACR 12389)

Kirkland, Edward R., 1st Lt., 405FS. Shot down while flying P-47D-30-RA serial number 44-32961 on 18 March 1945 near Birkenfeld, Germany. Captured, escaped, captured, escaped and evaded back to advancing Allied Forces, joining up with the 4th Armored Division of Patton’s Third Army before returning to his unit on 27 March 1945. (MACR 13132)

LaRochelle, Joseph E., 2nd. Lt., 404FS. Shot down by flak and seen to bail out on D-Day, 6 June 1944, just off the coast of Normandy near St. Pair-sur-Mer while flying P-47D-20-RA serial number 43-25278. First POW of the group. (MACR 5540)

Marks, Robert L., F/O, 405FS. Shot down in aerial combat on 5 January 1945 near Herschberg, Germany, while flying P-47D-28-RA serial number 42-28964. (MACR 11598)

Martin, Russell M., 1st. Lt., 405FS. Shot down in aerial combat on 2 January 1945 near Brenschelbach, Germany while flying P-47D-28-RA serial number 42-28617. (MACR 11600)

McCoy, Jefferson M., 2nd. Lt., 404FS. Shot down by flak on 25 February 1945 near Kohlhof, Germany while flying P-47D-11-RE serial number 42-75462. (MACR 12729)

McDowell, Gildas D., 2nd Lt., 405FS. Shot down by flak on 14 October 1944 while flying P-47D-15-RE serial number 42-76219. Seen by 371FG Capt. Emott in London late May 1945. Had returned to military control 29 Apr 45. (MACR 9647)

McDuff, Lee E., 2nd. Lt., 405FS. Shot down in P-47D-22-RE serial number 42-26341 by flak on 20 September 1944 about two miles east of Cobern, Germany, bailed out behind enemy lines, formally reported POW as of 14 January 45. (MACR 9175)

Schleppegrell, William, 2nd. Lt., 405FS. Shot down by flak on 1 January 1945 in the vicinity of Völklingen, Germany, while flying P-47D-28-RE serial number 44-20122. (MACR 11615)

Shumard, Darrel G., 1st. Lt., 404FS. On 14 February 1945 while flying P-47D-27-RE serial number 42-27262 (9Q-V) collided over enemy territory with a P-47D flown by 1st Lt. Glen H.
Johnson and ended up as a POW. (MACR 12388)

Simmons, George R., 2nd. Lt., 405FS. Shot down by flak on 26 December 1944 near Haslach, Germany, while flying P-47D-25-RE serial number 42-26664 (8N-P, named “Snuffy II”). (MACR 11610)

Sullivan, John B., 1st Lt., 405FS. Shot down by flak on 14 October 1944 near Ersingen, Germany, while flying P-47D-15-RE serial number 42-76230 (named “Peggy Woo”). Initially carried as MIA, status changed to POW in April 1945. Seen by 371FG Capt. Emott in London late May 45. (MACR 9648)

Tait, Harry H., Jr., Capt., 406FS. Shot down in an aerial engagement 20 October 1944 near Fribourg-en-Brisgau in P-47D-27-RE serial number 42-27343. (MACR 9787)

Wolcott, Robert S., Maj., 404FS. His aircraft P-47D-28-RA serial number 42-28629 damaged by flak on 8 October 1944, he bellied in east of Stuttgart, Germany and became a POW; he returned to military control 29 April 1945 as Allied forces advanced into Germany. (MACR 9824)

In another interesting 371FG prisoner experience, Capt. Harry W. Hohl, Jr., 404FS, was shot down in aerial combat on 8 June 1944 near Cormeilles, France, while flying P-47D-21-RA 43-25567 and “captured” by French guerillas of dubious loyalty. These guerillas apparently debated to whom they might sell Hohl and some other American, British and German “captives” 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. (MACR 5872)

Let us always remember the brave warriors of the 371st Fighter Group who fought against fascism in World War II. May we always honor those who serve and sacrifice for our country, because freedom isn’t free. And if we who have some connection to these men and women who serve don’t remember these Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, who else will?
References

Republic P-47 Database, at: http://p-47.database.pagesperso-orange.fr/

Aircraft serial numbers and Missing Aircrew Report (MACR) numbers for Gamble, Hooper, Marks, Martin, McDuff, Shumard, Simmons, Tait, Wolcott at: http://p-47.database.pagesperso-orange.fr/Database/42-2xxxx.htm

Aircraft serial numbers and Missing Aircrew Report (MACR) numbers for Augarten, Canup, McCoy, McDowell, Sullivan at: http://p-47.database.pagesperso-orange.fr/Database/42-7xxxx.htm

Aircraft serial numbers and Missing Aircrew Report (MACR) numbers for Hohl, Johnson, LaRochelle, at: http://p-47.database.pagesperso-orange.fr/Database/43-xxxxx.htm

Aircraft serial numbers and Missing Aircrew Report (MACR) numbers for Jack, Kirkland, Schleppegrell, at: http://p-47.database.pagesperso-orange.fr/Database/44-xxxxx.htm

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Frisky Remembers National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day 2015

  1. Pingback: Frisky Remembers on National POW MIA Recognition Day 2015 | 371st Fighter Group

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s