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Thomas F Rice Jr.


First Lieutenant Thomas R. Rice, Jr., veteran navigator-bombardier of 30 missions over Europe and member of the Caterpillar Club, was born in Hartford, Connecticut on March 1, 1921.

Forced to "hit the silk" when flak gouged three of the four engines from their mountings, Lieutenant Rice parachuted to safety in France just over the border from Germany. The Liberator was hit on a return trip from a German mission shortly after it had crossed the Rhine which was then held by Nazi forces.

Rice enlisted in the Army Air Corps in July 1942 after attending Trinity College for two years. He was a commissioned a second lieutenant in Texas in March, 1943 and went overseas in April 1944. A member of a lead crew in a B-24 group with the 8th Air Force, he was promoted to his present rank while based in France.

Lieutenant Rice, a graduate of Bulkeley High School, wears the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Presidential Citation. He participated in bombing attacks over Normandy on D-Day and later flew against the enemy during the "Belgian Bulge" days.


Units served with

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    The 492nd Bomb Group were assigned to the 8th Air Force in April 1944. They flew 60 missions over occupied Europe from 11 May 1944 until 7 August 1944. ...

  • 66th Bomb Squadron
  • 857th Bomb Squadron


  • 611

    8 September 1944
    We snafued on the bomb run and missed all the flak.

  • 647

    25 September 1944

  • 8th Air Force 760

    24 December 1944
    1. Decision. ...

  • 769

    29 December 1944

  • 796

    16 January 1945

  • 889

    15 March 1945

Associated Place

  • North Pickenham

    Military site : airfield
    Built comparatively late during 1943-44 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, North Pickenham was rather cramped as an airfield site so the main runway was shorter than typical. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2...

  • Shipdham

    Military site : airfield
    Shipdham was built in 1941-1942, the first US heavy bomber airfield in the English county of Norfolk. It was a standard design, with T2-type hangars and a domestic site dispersed to the south east. Improvements were carried out to increase the number...


Event Location Date
Born Hartford, CT, USA 1 March 1921


Date Contributor Update
12 May 2020 00:10:37 jmoore43 Changes to middlename

Corrected a typo in the middle name.

Date Contributor Update
16 January 2017 19:11:58 luannerice Changes to nickname, biography, unit associations, place associations and mission associations

Hartford Courant, May 1945, via L. Rice

Date Contributor Update
10 November 2016 16:22:27 luannerice Changes to middlename, suffix and awards


Date Contributor Update
10 November 2016 16:20:57 luannerice Changes to unit associations

Date Contributor Update
10 November 2016 16:19:19 luannerice Changes to highest rank and role


Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:25:55 AAM AAM ingest

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