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Kermit David Wooldridge

Military

Kermit D. Wooldridge was a high school drop out living in Texas in 1934. He described himself as "incorrigible." Forging his mother's signature, he joined the U.S Army at 16 and served with the 7th Cavalry for several years. On Dec.24, 1941, just after Pearl Harbor, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. Wooldridge was very smart, and began training immediately for pilot of the B-17. After training of 500 hours of flight time, plus months of aerodynamic instruction, he arrived with the 379th Bomb Group at Kimbolton, England in May, 1943. His WWII diary gives an account of the 25 missions over Nazi occupied Europe from June to December, 1943 including the mission over Schweinfurt, Oct. 14, 1943. He was one of the lucky ones - he returned.
After the war, he remained in the U.S. Army, serving in the Korean war in Anti Air Craft Artillery as an officer.

Lt Kermit Wooldridge was pilot on this mission over Hanover. Germany. It was his 2nd mission and his plane also lost a gas tank, the #2 engine, the elevator and control cables It had over four hundred bullet holes. Wooldridge would fly this ship, 42-29886 on a total of nine missions. He lost both his Navigator and Bombardier on this mission, Both bailed out over the North Sea. The account of his mission from his WWII diary is at https://sites.google.com/site/ww2pilotsdiary/home/raid-2

He served twenty five years, retiring in 1958 as a Lt Colonel.

Awards: DFC (2OLC), BSM, WWII Victory, EAME, UN and Korean medal.

Service

People

  • Delmar Bonham

    Military | Lieutenant | Bombardier | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters on mission to Frankfurt on 29 Jan 1944 in B-17 #42-29886 'Scheherazade. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Stanley Larson

    Military | Right Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    28 July flew Kassel raid. Lost control cables on B17 42-29974 by flak damage. Crash landed in B17 42-5822 at Norfolk RAF base returning crew with 4 crew members wounded.

  • Donald Lavin

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 379th Bomb Group
    28 July flew Kassel raid. Lost control cables on B17 42-29974 by flak damage. Crash landed in B17 42-5822 at Norfolk RAF base returning crew with 4 crew members wounded.

  • William Lordan

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters on mission to Frankfurt on 29 Jan 1944 in B-17 #42-29886 'Scheherazade. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Everett Love

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    28 July flew Kassel raid. Lost control cables on B17 42-29974 by flak damage. Crash landed in B17 42-5822 at Norfolk RAF base returning crew with 4 crew members wounded.

  • Andrew Puca

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Nose Gunner / Togglier, Right Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group

  • Joshua Rowton

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters on mission to Frankfurt on 29 Jan 1944 in B-17 #42-29886 'Scheherazade. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW; Silver Star

Show more

Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

  • 525th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-29653

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 30/1/43; Salina 11/2/43; Morrison 28/2/43; {Secret mission 19/5/43}; Assigned 96BG Dow Fd 4/6/43; transferred 327BS/92BG [UX- ] Alconbury 19/7/43; 525BS/379BG [FR-D] Kimbolton 4/9/43; Missing in Action Schweinfurt 14/10/43 with Dick...

  • 42-29759

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 15/2/43; Walker 26/2/43; Salina 10/3/43; Presque Is 8/4/43; Assigned 338BS/96BG Grafton Underwood 27/4/43; Andrews Fd 13/5/43; Snetterton 12/6/43; transferred 525BS/379BG [FR-K] Kimbolton 12/7/43; battle damaged Schweinfurt crash...

  • 42-29787 'Wilder Nell II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 18/2/43; Salina 5/3/43; Gulfport 31/3/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-F] Alconbury 15/4/43; Framlingham 12/5/43; Horham 15/6/43; 3m, transferred 326BS/92BG [JW- ] Alconbury 6/8/43, the transferred 525BS/379BG [FR-E] Kimbolton 4/9/43;...

  • 42-29886 "Scheherazade"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 3/3/43; Sioux City 16/3/43; Kearney 8/4/43; Selfridge 16/4/43; Dow Fd 19/4/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-H] Kimbolton 23/4/43; Missing in Action Frankfurt 29/1/44 with Harry Moses, Co-pilot: Sam Giorgianni, Navigator: Bill Lordan,...

  • 42-30298 Ragin Red II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/5/43; Gore 24/5/43; Smoky Hill 29/5/43; Dow Fd 3/6/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-M] Kimbolton 13/6/43 TENDER TIT TILLIE, then RAGIN' RED II; transferred 837BS/487BG [4F] Lavenham 15/7/44; 78th Fighter Wing 24/10/44; transferred...

  • 42-3269 Picadilly Willy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 15/4/43; Assigned 527BS/379BG [FO-U] Kimbolton 6/6/43; Missing in Action Schweinfurt 14/10/43 with Capt Walt Carnal, Co-pilot: Bill Davidson, Navigator: Albt Chudoba, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dean Wyland, Radio Operator: Leon...

  • 42-37784 The Old Fox

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 27/8/43; Scott 29/9/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-P] Kimbolton 19/10/43; Missing in Action Berlin 24/5/44 with Wilton Gease (Prisoner of War); Co-pilot: Luciano Gastineau, Navigator: Bob Lorentz, Bombardier: Dick O’Neal, Flight engineer...

  • 42-5822

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 27/2/43; Cheyenne 4/3/43; Gore Fd 18/3/43; Kearney 8/4/43; Dow Fd 16/4/43; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-G] Kimbolton 21/4/43; battle damaged Kassel 28/7/43 with Kermit Wooldridge, Co-pilot: Don Herrin, Navigator: Bill Cook, Bombardier:...

  • 44-8813

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/1/45; Hunter 12/1/45; Grenier 7/2/45; Assigned 526BS/379BG H2X Kimbolton 21/2/45; mid air coll with 44-8198 over Braintree, Ex, UK 10/5/45 with Elliott Porter; Salvaged 11/5/45.

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 74

    17 July 1943
    The railroad industry at Hannover, Germany and the aircraft industry at Hamburg, Germany were the intended targets for this mission but weather caused the mission to be cancelled. The element sent to Hannover was a combined force of 207 B-17s from:...

  • VIII Bomber Command 115

    14 October 1943
    This was the 2nd mission flown against the ball bearing industry at Schweinfurt, Germany and was as equally disastrous as that flown on 17-Aug-43. It came to be known as "Black Thursday". While fighter escort was dispatched, bad weather and lack of...

Associated Place

  • Kimbolton

    Military site : airfield
    Planned for RAF use, Kimbolton airfield was built by W and C French Ltd. in 1941. The airfield was increased in size to accommodate a full US heavy Bomb Group, and the first such unit to us it was the 91st Bomb Group, who arrived in September 1942....

Events

Event Location Date
Born Lawton, Oklahoma 26 October 1917
Enlisted 1933
Pilot training Cochran Field, Macon, GA 1942

Basic training at Cochran Field class 1942-K.

Based Kimbolton June 1943 – December 1943

Assigned to 525BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF.

Discharged USAAF October 1945

Honourable discharge.

Enlisted 11 September 1948
Discharged USAF 28 February 1958

Honourable discharge.

Died Tampa, FL 28 September 2004
Buried Arlington National Cemetery October 2004

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington,
Arlington County, VA
Section F Site 46-D-4

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 14:06:29 fbeka Changes to biography
Sources

I changed the number of missions flown to 25 based on his personal diary. He does not write an account of the first Schweinfurt mission on Aug 17, 1943 in the diary, I did find a record showing he aborted that mission, but am not sure if he took off or not.
Also he does not write an account for Villa Coublay on Aug 24.
His 8th mission was flown on Aug 27, 1943, target Watten. His diary lists the date as 8-37-43 so he had a typo.
His diary gives accounts of 25 missions flown and they are all numbered at the top of each mission, from 1 to 25.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 13:51:07 fbeka Changes to biography
Sources

I had a typo on the year for Pearl Harbor, i changed it from 1942 to 1941

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2019 21:12:04 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, role, biography, awards, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/record/28842805-kermit-wooldridge
https://www.fold3.com/record/623345839-kermit-wooldridge-1917
http://www.8thairforce.com/members/missionsflownby.asp?perIdentification...
https://wwiiflighttraining.org/?page_id=283
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22053681/kermit-d-wooldridge

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2019 11:24:18 general ira snapsorter Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Frances Wooldridge Bekafigo, daughter of Lt Kermit Wooldridge. Mission account from his WWII Diary.

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2019 17:43:57 fbeka Changes to media associations
Sources

Frances Wooldridge Bekafigo, daughter of Lt. Kermit Wooldridge

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2019 16:21:11 fbeka Changes to biography
Sources

daughter, Frances Wooldridge Bekafigo

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2019 16:20:00 fbeka Changes to biography and events
Sources

Source : daughter, Frances Wooldridge Bekafigo.

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2019 16:04:58 fbeka Changes to nickname and role
Sources

Information on Lt Kermit Wooldridge is being provided by his daughter, Frances Wooldridge Bekafigo. Sources: Military records and his WWII Combat Diary of his 25 missions flown during WWII.
The diary has been donated to the Library of Congress and can be accessed online at https://sites.google.com/site/ww2pilotsdiary/

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 / daughter, Frances, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol I by Bishop & Hey p. 204

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