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Jack Orcutt Luehrs

Military

Jack Luehrs was a Radio Operator in the 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron. Shot down 4 April 1943 in B-17 #42-5232 'Available Jones'. Orginally believed to have been Killed in Action (KIA), as he was the last to jump from the plane and nothing was heard about him for weeks after the mission. Jack Luehrs landed in an apple tree near Pont-de-l'Arche (Eure Department) France. Bleeding from a wound under the left eye, Luehrs declined the offer of a French villager to have his wound tended by a doctor and went into hiding in a woods, seeing his aircraft burning about 1km away. Helped afterwards by French citizens who gave him civilian clothes, food and provided him with false ID papers, he was handed over to an evasion organization. Led to Paris by train, he stayed in an apartment there until 30 April, the date on which he was guided by train to Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, in the north of the country with the aim to evacuate him by boat to England. Led in a taxi to Etables-sur-Mer, Luehrs met his Right Waist gunner Allen Fitzgerald and other Allied airmen there. The plans to evacuate them by sea had to be changed due to the bad weather and the evaders were led to Tréveneuc where they stayed for two weeks in the house of Madame Cellarié. Finally, the plans to evacuate them by boat were abandoned and Luehrs and others were guided by train back to Paris on 31 May. The new plan was to send them to the South and neutral Spain. Luehrs and other evading Allied personnel then travelled by train to Bordeaux, and from there to Bayonne where they jumped on another train to Pau. From there, Luehrs and other evaders walked their way to Spain, crossing the border on 5 June around 06:00am. They reported to the Spanish Guardia Civil and were briefly detained, first in Isaba, then in Pampelona, arriving there by bus. After a few days, a delegate from the US Embassy arrived, gave them money and clothes and on the following day, they were released and spent 2 weeks in a local hotel. On 24 June, US Major Clark arrived to drive Luehrs and 4 other evaders to a place where they met 7 other evaders. Driven to Madrid on the 25th, they were ultimately led to Gibraltar. Jack Luehrs left Gibraltar in a C-47 on the 27th and landed in England on 28 June 1943. Put up in a London hotel, an American pub Dirty Dick's was nearby and he found 305th BG/ 364th BS crews there. He learned his parents had been notified he was killed in action. His Oregon homecoming a few months later was a happy one.
See the full story of Jack Luehrs' evasion at www.evasioncomete.org

Service

People

  • Miles Cooley

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Miles Cooley was Left Waist Gunner in the 305th Bomb Group / 364th Bomber Squadron. On board B-17 #42-5232 'Available Jones' on the 4 April 1943 mission to the Renault works in Paris-Billancourt. Wounded in the plane by a Flak fragment. 42-5232 was...

  • Robert Fabec

    Military | Lieutenant | Bombardier | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Robert Fabec attended the Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado and graduated in 1939. He enlisted in the Air Corps in January 1942 and trained as a Bombardier. It was in that position that he flew on B-17 # 42-5232 “Available Jones” of...

  • Allen Fitzgerald

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Allen Michael Fitzgerald (also mentioned as Michael Allen Fitzgerald) was a Right Waist gunner in the 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron. Shot down 4 April 1943 in B-17 #42-5232 'Available Jones'. EVADED. Jumping right before Radio Operator...

  • John Hollenbeck

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    John Hollenbeck was Tail Gunner on B-17 # 42-5232 “Available Jones” of the 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron on 4 April 1943 when it was shot down over France. Landing near Rouen, France, he was captured and became a Prisoner of War (POW)....

  • William Johnson

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 4 April 1943 in B-17 #425232 'Available Jones. ' Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag 7a at Moosburg and work camps. POW

  • Morris Jones

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Morris M. Jones was Pilot of B-17 #42-5232 'Available Jones' of the 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron. Shot down 4 April 1943 in France. ...

  • Edward Logan

    Military | Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Edward Logan was Co-Pilot of B-17 #42-5232 "Available Jones" of 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron, shot down on 4 April 1943. He landed in parachute near Vaudreuil, Eure Department, and was hidden at Villers-sur-le-Roule at the home of Georges...

  • Edward Mescher

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Edward Mescher was a Ball Turret gunner in the 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron. Shot down 4 April 1943 in B-17 #42-5232 'Available Jones'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Homer Mohr

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Homer Mohr was Navigator of B-17 #42-5232 'Available Jones' of the 305th Bomber Group / 364th Bomber Squadron. Shot down 4 April 1943 in France. Landing near Rouen, France, he was captured and became a Prisoner of War (POW). Interned at Stalag Luft 3...

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Units served with

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    Group
    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 364th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-5232 Available Jones

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 18 October 1942; Presque Island 26 November 1942; Assigned 364BS/305BG [WF-E] Chelveston 13 December 1942. Missing in Action Paris-Billancourt Renault auto works on 4 April 1943. Pilot Morris M. Jones, Co-Pilot Edward T. Logan,...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 49

    4 April 1943
    The Renault armament and motor works at Paris, France are the primary target of this mission. 97 B-17s are despached: 91BG (26); 303BG (23); 305BG (18); and 306BG (30). 85 of the 97 despatched are effective on the target. Fighter resistance is heavy...

Associated Place

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Oregon, United States 12 December 1920

the son of Otto and Effie Luehrs

Enlisted Portland, Oregon, United States 14 December 1941

as a Private in the Air Corps

Evaded capture France 4 April 1943 – 26 June 1943

Helped in his evasion by French patriots and Résistance members

Buried Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon, United States 1991
Died Salem, Oregon, United States 27 September 1991
Lived in Ontario, Malheur County, Oregon, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 February 2016 12:59:16 ED-BB Changes to events
Sources

Added death date and burial place

Date Contributor Update
01 February 2016 11:10:40 ED-BB Changes to biography, awards, events, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 15592
NARA WWII Enlistment Records
Escape & Evasion report E&E # 40
Personal research on Luehrs and the crew for website www.evasioncomete.org

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2016 15:37:51 ED-BB Changes to surname and middlename
Sources

Corrected spelling of last name : Luehrs instead of Luhers

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:13:53 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 15592, , Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop and Hey p 99, 305th BG by Turner Publishing Company c. 1997 pp. 35-37 has evasion story., NARA

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