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Lazaro Sosa Cadena




Units served with

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 561st Bomb Squadron


  • 42-102559

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 14/3/44; Gr Island 1/4/44; Grenier 6/4/44; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 8/4/44 STAR DUST; battle damaged Berlin 26/2/45 with ?; force landed Thionville A/fd, Fr; Salvaged 9/3/45. MY TRUE LOVE.

  • 42-30207 Big Red

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Sioux City 11/5/43; Smoky Hill 9/6/43; Dow Fd 12/6/43; Assigned 561BS/388BG [ -T] Knettishall 14/6/43; Missing in Action Bordeaux 27/3/44 with Julius Lederman, Co-pilot: Waite Law, Bombardier: John Luzell (3 Prisoner of War)...

  • 42-97091 Dear Mom

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/1/44; Alexandra 12/2/44; Presque Is 4/3/44; Assigned 561BS/388BG [F] Knettishall 6/3/44; Missing in Action Kiel 22/5/44 with Gailard Mergenthaler, Co-pilot: Bernie Cohen, Navigator: Paul Pearson, Bombardier: Bill Hamilton, Flight...

  • 42-97328

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/2/44; Gr Island 5/3/44; Grenier 22/3/44; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 23/3/44; on mission to ? 31/7/44 with E.F. Fowler (9 Returned to Duty); Bombardier: Jim Wilkie (Killed in Action); taxi accident with Herbert Shule 3/5/45;...

  • 42-97328 Heaven's Above

    B-17 Flying Fortress

Associated Place

  • Knettishall

    Military site : airfield
    Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...


Event Location Date
Born Los Angeles, California 17 December 1922
388th BG Combat Tour Knettishall, Diss IP22, UK 23 March 1944 – 10 June 1944

31 Combat Missions

Died Pico Rivera, CA, USA 13 November 2004

Larry was born on Dec. 17, 1922 in Los Angeles, CA. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Nov. 23, 1942. The United States had been involved in the war for 11 months. After Larry completed all of his testing during Boot Camp, he qualified to be a Flight Engineer on a B-17. He was assigned to the 388th Bomb Group, 561st Squadron.

Larry was the youngest member of the Hayden crew and was thus nicknamed "Chick". As a Flight Engineer, he operated the the top turret's twin 50 caliber machine guns. This gave him a 360 degree view of "Death in the Sky". The 388th was based in southern England, just a short flight over the English Channel from enemy occupied Europe.

On their seventh mission, they bombed Augsburg, Germany. The flak was so heavy on the return flight that it knocked out the #1 engine. Enemy fighters knocked out the horizontal stabilizer with their 20mm cannons. The pilot and copilot were knocked unconscious from the heavy shelling. The B-17 was starting to go down, and Larry came down from atop his perch and helped the navigator move the copilot to the rear of the plane. Larry sat in the copilot's seat and flew the plane until the pilot was able to recover. The remaining 600 miles were flown on three engines. After the plane landed, the ground crew counted 220 holes in the plane. For this mission, Larry received the Bronze Star.

The eigthteen mission was to Brux, Czechoslovakia to bomb a synthetic oil plant . The mission lasted 9 hours. During the mission, it was estimated that 300 enemy fighters were encountered in an air battle that lasted three hours. At the two and one half hours mark, Larry ran out of ammunition at which point all he could do was spot the enemy fighters as they pierced the formation. 75 enemy fighters were shot down but with the loss of 23 B-17s. Larry claimed to have shot down 3 fighters but was only credited for one kill.

Larry flew on D-Day in a mission that dropped bombs 23 minutes before the troops landed. Larry was quoted in an Air Force publication as saying, "This was the most spectacular sight I've ever seen, for as far as the eye could see, there were planes in the sky."

Larry completed 30 combat missions over enemy occupied Europe. He was award 5 Air Medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star.

In 1957, Larry moved to Pico Rivera with his wife, Martha. They went on to raise 6 beautiful children. Larry loved his family, he loved his city and he loved his country. Larry died peacefully at his home on the morning of 13 Nov, 2004 having fought his last battle, that of lung cancer. He was a patriot to the end.

Enlisted 16 November 2004

Rose Hills Memorial Park
Los Angeles County
California, USA


Date Contributor Update
19 September 2016 03:47:32 466thHistorian Changes to service number, events, person associations, place associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:19 AAM AAM ingest

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