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Raymond Charles Care

Military

Captain Raymond Clare was from Angola, Indiana, and had enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force before the United States' entry into the war. He arrived in England in March 1942 and was assigned to No. 71 Eagle Squadron of Americans in the RAF before transferring to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron upon its inception.
He bagged an Me109 on 26 June 1943 flying on P-47D Serial 42-7981, before being involved in that same P-47 in a taxiing accident at Debden on 27 July 1943. Flying on P-47D Serial 41-6392 on 28 July 1943, he shot down one Fw190. On the 16 August 1943 bomber escort mission, he claimed 2 Fw190s destroyed North of Paris. That mission and the American fighter pilots were featured in the 1 November 1943 issue of LIFE Magazine's "Speaking of Pictures" section, with a photo on page 20 of Ray Care and the gun camera photos of his 2 kills that day .
Ray Care's fifth confirmed kill occurred on the 21 February 1944 bomber escort mission when he shot down another Fw190, attaining Ace status, with a later other probable hit to his credit.
On 15 April 1944 he was leading the 4th Fighter Group on an operation to the Jüterbog-Damm Airfield, Luftwaffe training school and depot in Germany when bad weather forced the group to split up into small sections. These sections then attacked three different airfields in small groups. Captain Care and 1st Lt. Hipolitus T. Biel attacked an unidentified field northeast of Celle and shared in the destruction of a Ju-52. Care's plane was hit by flak and he had to bail out, thus becoming the third Commanding Officer of the 334th Fighter Squadron to be lost in a month.
In the Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 4061 - Lt Biel stated that "At approximately 13:45 hours Captain Care and myself were coming home on the deck N.E. of Celle, Germany, when we came to an airdrome with 20 plus JU-52 aircraft on it. Without altering my course we picked out a JU-52 and started to fire. In the meanwhile the Huns were throwing up intense and accurate medium flak, light flak, and machine gun tracers. I received a few holes in the right wing at the same time Captain Care got hit. He called immediately to say he was climbing up and bailing out. I watched him climb to 3,000 feet with his plane streaming glycol. He called and said, "here I go". I looked for his chute to open but due to rain, and sleet in that vicinity I failed to see him or a parachute opening. I believe that Captain Care bailed out safely."
On landing, Raymond Care was immediately picked up by the German authorities near Celle. He was later placed in solitary confinement in an interrogation centre (Dulag Luft, Oberursel, near Frankgurt) for a week on a bread-and-water diet. After interrogation, he was transferred to a permanent camp, Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan, Poland.
In January 1945, the Russians broke out of the Warsaw area and were nearing the camp, so the Germans decided to move the prisoners out rather than have Soviet forces free them. With one hour of notice, Ray, along with all the other prisoners were force marched for the next five days.
Later on the prisoners were transported to Nuremberg, where they were moved into an ex-Italian camp. Conditions were dreadful, with only two taps for the 450 men in the three barracks.
By April, the American Army was approaching, so the prisoners were moved once again - this time towards Munich. Ray and three of his comrades managed to slip away one night in an effort to make it to the American lines. After about three more nights walking and sleeping during the daytime, Ray and the rest were exhausted. They were subsequently recaptured and were part of another march southward. After three more days marching, the German officer in charge of the group decided to surrender to American forces in the area.
Raymond Care and his friends got to Paris for a couple of days and then he returned to England at his new base of Steeple Morden. Ray retired from the USAF as a Colonel in 1963 with the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf clusters and the air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He then worked in Civil Service at Kelly Air Base, Texas, until retiring. He died in San Antonio in April 1987.

Service

People

  • Hipolitus Biel

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot
    Hipolitus Biel was the son of Polish immigrant parents. In 1936 he applied to the United States Army Air Corps to enter their pilot training programme. Unable to meet all of their strict entrance guidelines he applied to the Royal Canadian Air...

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Units served with

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...

  • No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    Squadron
    'On 19 September 1940, No. 71 was reformed at Church Fenton as the first 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American personnel. The Squadron received Hurricanes in November and became operational on defensive duties on 5 February 1941. No. 71 converted...

Aircraft

  • 43-7183

    P-51 Mustang
    This P-51B Mustang was the usual aircraft Raymond Care flew with. ...

  • 41-6404 'Ill Wind?' 'Old Red Ass'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt P47C-5-RE 41-6405 'Old Red Ass' assigned to 334th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF, pilot Lt Nicholas Megura. Re-assigned to Raymond C 'Bud' Care. ...

  • 42-7981

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 552FTS 495FTG 8AF.

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command FO - 57 BOMBER ESCORT

    26 June 1943
    A combined force of 130 P-47s is deptached from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG to provide escort for the heavy bomber formation despatched to Villacoublay, France. The formation tangles with German fighters and the 56FG loses 4 P-47 to direct cause by enemy...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-105 BOMBER ESCORT

    16 August 1943
    A combined force of 180 P-47s (all with belly tanks) are despatched from : 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; and 353FG to escort VIII Bomber Command mission #83 attacking German airfields in France at Paris (Le Bourget), Poix and Abbeville. 3 aircraft Failed to Return ...

  • 8th Air Force FO 246 BOMBER ESCORT

    21 February 1944
    A combined force of fighters of types: P-38; P-47; and P-51s are despatched to escort the heavy bombers attacking airfields in Germany. Mission Summary follows: ...

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...

  • Kirton-in-Lindsey

    Military site : airfield
    Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars....

  • Martlesham Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Opened in 1917 as home to the RFC Aeroplane Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath became well known during the 1920s-30s as home to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment. Used as an RAF fighter station from 1939, with only a grass airfield...

  • Steeple Morden

    Military site : airfield
    Originally used from 1940 as a small, grass airfield, satellite for nearby RAF Bassingbourn, Steeple Morden was allocated to the Eighth Air Force in August 1942 as a potential bomber base. It was used briefly by the 3rd Photographic Group during the...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Angola, Indiana, USA 30 March 1918

the son of Charles F. and Celia P. Care

Prisoner of War (POW) Żagań, Poland 15 April 1944

Captured near Celle, Germany, he spent almost a year at Stalag Luft 3. NARA's WWII POW database : "Returned to Military Control on 19/05/1945"

Retired from service 1963
Died San Antonio, TX, USA 3 April 1987
Buried Ft Sam Houston Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 11:16:23 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

Association with individual Eagle Squadron.

Date Contributor Update
30 August 2015 10:17:39 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Added photo

Date Contributor Update
30 August 2015 10:10:45 ED-BB Changes to middlename and nickname
Sources

Added full middle name

Date Contributor Update
30 August 2015 10:09:02 ED-BB Changes to biography, events, person associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 4061
NARA WWII POW database
Biographical research

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2015 21:16:27 apollo11 Changes to unit associations
Sources

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2015 20:25:18 apollo11 Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, events and place associations
Sources

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:03 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 4061 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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