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Richard C Fortunak

Military

1-Jul-42 Assigned as a Waist Gunner on B-17F #41-24581 [BN-O],"The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico and arrived aboard that aircraft at Molesworth, UK on 21-Oct-42.

On 20-Dec-42 he bailed out of B-17F #41-24581 'The 8 Ball' over England while serving as Left Waist Gunner upon return of the aircraft from a mission to bomb the German air depot Romilly-sur-Seine, France. The Pilot and Co-Pilot crash-landed at Bovingdon. Uninjured - RTD.

3-Jan-43 Assigned as the Left Waist Gunner on B-17F #41-24635 "The '8' Ball II" Mission participation (See Biography events UNDER CONSTRUCTION).

Service

Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 359th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24565 The Ramblin' Wreck, IDAHO POTATO PEELER

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-P] Bangor 9/10/42; Molesworth 25/10/42; force landed RAF Chipping Warden 23/1/43 with Ross Bates, 10RTD; Missing in Action 28m Gelsenkirchen 5/11/43 with Ambrose Grant, Co-pilot: Frank Hall, Navigator: Jim Berger, Bombardier:...

  • 41-24581 The '8' Ball

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball" was assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-O] with its crew on 1-Jul-42 at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The aircraft and crew were sent to Dow Field Bangor, Maine on 4-Oct-42 to prepare for overseas deployment; Molesworth...

  • 41-24635 The 8 Ball Mk II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-O] New Castle 6/10/42; Molesworth 21/11/42. Flown by Captain William R. Calhoun on the 4 May 1943 mission to the Ford and General Motors works, Antwerp, Belgium, with Clark Gable on board for his first mission (slightly damaged...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 22

    22 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the Primary (P) target of this mission. A combined force of 68 B-17s despatched from 91BG (18), 303BG (18) 305BG (23) and 306BG (9) against the target but a 10/10 could cover prevents all but 11 from 303BG from...

  • VIII Bomber Command 23

    23 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) for this mission. A combined force of 50 B-17s despatched from 91BG (10), 303BG (12), 305BG (20) and 306BG (8) to attack this target. 91BG is not able to put any of their group on the target,...

  • VIII Bomber Command 24

    6 December 1942
    The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 25

    12 December 1942
    This mission is composed of two elements. First element: The German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a force of 78 B-17s despatched from 91BG (19), 303BG (20), 305BG (21) and 306BG (18). However, the target is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

Associated Place

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Assigned to Aircraft Alamogordo, NM 88310, USA 1 July 1942

Assigned as a Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball" at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo New Mexico.

Arrived in UK Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 21 October 1942

Arrived at Molesworth, UK as a Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS.

Mission #1, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #2, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #3, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Lorient, France 22 November 1942

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #4, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 23 November 1942

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #5, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Lille, France 6 December 1942

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball" 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the carriage and wagon works at Lille, France. RTB OK.

Mission #6, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Rouen, France 12 December 1942

Served as Right Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peelers", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #7, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS - BO/RTD Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball" 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. The aircraft sustained battle damage but the pilot MAY Romig managedd to fly the aircraft back to England. SSGT Fortunak was ordered to bale out over the English countryside. P MAJ Romig and CP CPT Calhoun stayed with the aircraft and made a crashlandidng at USAAF Station Bovington. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair but MAJ Romig and CPT Calhoun wer not injured and returned to Molesworth the next day.

Mission #8, SSGT Richard C. Fortunak, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 3 January 1943

Served as Left Waist Gunner on B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball II" 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 February 2020 02:04:04 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added a "#" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" for clarity.

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:54:09 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #8 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 3-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/009.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:51:23 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #7 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 20-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/007.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:46:18 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #6 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 12-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/006.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:40:49 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #5 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 6-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/005.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:37:43 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #4 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 23-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/004.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:35:17 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #3 event per 303BG website, GAry Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 22-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/003.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:33:23 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #2 event per 303BG website, GAry Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 18-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:31:33 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Mission #1 event per 303BG website, GAry Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 17-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/001.pdf

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:27:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Arrived in UK event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Willaim R. Calhoun crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-calhoun.html

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:25:04 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added Asssigned to Aircraft event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Willaim R. Calhoun crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-calhoun.html

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 21:21:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Dec-2015. Added initial assignment and arrival in UK and 3-Jan-43 assignment to Summary Biography; made connections to 41-24565 and all missions through 3-Jan-43 per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2014 22:37:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Dec-2104. Edited biography for clarity; made connections for Place, Aircraft and Mission within existing website data.

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

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum Membership List, July 2000, Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol.1 by Bishop and Hey p. 55 / http://303rdbg.com/rost-hij.html#H

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