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John W Sasser


Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Feyensein on 9/12/44 in B-17 Tailwind 42-97368
He received his pilot's wings and his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in November 1943. He was assigned to the 368th Bombardment Squadron, 306th Bombardment group (Heavy) as a B-17 pilot. He was awarded his first Air Medal upon completing 15 missions over enemy territory. He had been promoted to first lieutenant and was flying his 22nd mission when his plane was damaged during a mission over Berlin on Sept. 12, 1944. Several of his crew had been wounded, and Sasser chose to attempt a crash-landing rather than risk further injuries to his crew members by having them parachute. He was promoted to captain two days after this mission.

Sasser suffered severe head injuries head injuries during the crash. First listed as missing, he was later listed as a prisoner of war. Sasser's injuries continued to plague him. He died while undergoing an operation for mastoid infection in the hospital at Obermassfelt, Germany. He was buried with full military honors at Heinginin, Germany. His family received his Air Medal with an additional Oak Leaf Cluster.


Units served with

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 368th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-97368

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/2/44; Rapid City 10/3/44; Grenier 14/3/44; Assigned 398BG , 601 SQD, Nuthampstead 25/4/44. ...

Associated Place

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...


Event Location Date
Born Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina 5 January 1921
Prisoner of War (POW) Germany 12 September 1944
Died 20 March 1945

Died in captivity.


Date Contributor Update
17 April 2019 14:21:12 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography and events

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:50 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 8834 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database