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Kent Russell West

Military

Kent West (first name "Kemp" in the US 1930 Census) was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Ball Turret Gunner on board 41-9100 "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" on VIII Bomber Command's first Heavy Bomber raid to Rouen, France on 17 August 1942. He was credited with shooting down the first German fighter lost to an 8th AF Heavy Bomber unit. Transferred to North Africa with the 97thBG, he was Ball Turret Gunner of 41-24413, also named "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" when it was lost to Flak and exploded in mid-air on a mission to Biskra, Tunisia, 26 December 1942. Kent West and all nine other men on board were killed. To this day, all ten are still listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Service

People

  • Thomas Borders

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Lt Thomas Borders graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa before enlisting in the Air Corps in July 1941. Assigned as a Pilot in the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron, he was sent overseas. He was Pilot of "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" on...

  • Edward Du Paul

    Military | Private First Class (6th Grade) | Photographer/Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Edward Du Paul was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron at Polebrook, England. He was a photographer/gunner on 41-24413 "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" when it was lost to Flak and exploded in mid-air on a mission to Biskra, Tunisia, 26 December...

  • Henry Eaton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Engineer | 97th Bomb Group
    Henry Eaton was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Engineer/Gunner on board 41-24413 "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" when it was lost to Flak and exploded in mid-air on a mission to Biskra, Tunisia, 26 December 1942. He and all nine...

  • Jack Elliott

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Jack Elliott was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Waist Gunner on board 41-24413 "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" when it was lost to Flak and exploded in mid-air on a mission to Biskra, Tunisia, 26 December 1942. He and all nine...

  • Fleming Goolsby

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Fleming Goolsby was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Co-Pilot of "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" on VIII Bomber Command's first Heavy Bomber raid to Rouen, France on 17 August 1942. Transferred to North Africa with the 97thBG, he was...

  • Theodore Hokenstad

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Theodore Hokenstad was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Navigator on board 41-24413 "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" when it was lost to Flak and exploded in mid-air on a mission to Biskra, Tunisia, 26 December 1942. He and all nine...

  • Edward Swedo

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Edward Swedo was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Tail Gunner on board 41-24413 "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" when it was lost to Flak and exploded in mid-air on a mission to Biskra, Tunisia, 26 December 1942. He and all nine other...

  • Pierce Tyler

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 97th Bomb Group
    Pierce Tyler was a student at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana in 1940. After his enlistment in the Air Corps he was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron and sent overseas. He was Radio Operator on board 41-24413 "Birmingham...

  • Mortimer Walsh

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Mortimer Walsh was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron. He was Bombardier on board of "Birmingham Blitzkrieg" 41-9100 on VIII Bomber Command's first Heavy Bomber raid to Rouen, France on 17 August 1942. Transferred to North Africa with...

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Units served with

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 414th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24413 BIRMINGHAM BLITZKRIEG

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 92BG Bangor 14 July 1942. Transferred 414BS/97BG Polebrook 24 August 1942. To Maison Blanche, Algiers, Algeria 13 November 1942. To Tafaraoui, Algeria 22 November 1942. To Biskra, Algeria 25 December 1942. Missing in Action on the Bizerte...

  • 41-9100 Birmingham Blitzkreig

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    As 414BS/97BG Polebrook 11/4/42; flew first 8AF bombing mission with Lt. Thomas H. Borders, the Ball turret gunner: Kent West, credited with destruction of 1st German aircraft destroyed, on 17-August 1942; transferred 92BG Bovingdon 24/8/42; CCRC 1/43;...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 1

    17 August 1942
    The US 8AF launches its first strategic bombing raid of the war, sending 12 Boeing B-17Es of the 97BG on a strike against the railyards of Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France, while another six fly a diversionary route. The attacking force is split into two...

Associated Place

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...

Events

Event Location Date
Born West Blocton, Bibb County, Alabama, United States 2 March 1918

the son of George and Lester U. West

Lived in West Blocton, Bibb County, Alabama, United States 1941
Enlisted Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia, United States 11 February 1942
Died Tunisia, North Africa 26 December 1942

in the loss of B-17 41-24413

Memorialized

on the Tablets of the Missing

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 December 2017 15:58:42 ED-BB Changes to middlename, biography, events, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 16150
Research on crew of 41-24413
US Censuses 1930 and 1940
NARA WWII Enlistment Records
WWII USAAF Casualties for Bibb County, Alabama
ABMC website

Date Contributor Update
29 November 2016 13:04:43 Lucy May Changes to service number, biography, awards, events and place associations
Sources

https://abmc.gov/node/536282#.WD18Xk1viUk

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:01 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / WW II Memorial

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