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Carl Ray Thompson

Military

Reported to ETO on 03 Nov 1943. Completed tour on 27 Mar 1944. Departed in ETO on 10 Apr 1944.
26 combat missions, 19 as Co-Pilot on John Gassler crew, 6 as Airplane Commander, and 1 as aerial observer and Tail Gunner. Of the 25 men who left our barracks, I was one of the 4 who finished their tour. Missions: 1943 - Nov 16 Knaben; 26 Bremen; Dec 1 Leverkusen; 5 La Rochelle; 13 Kiel; 16 Bremen; 1944 - Jan 5 Kiel; 14 Noball, France; 21 Noball, France; 29 Frankfurt; 30 Brunswick; Feb 3 Wilhelmshaven; 4 Frankfurt; 5 Chateaudun; 20 Leipzig; 21 Hopsten; 22 Bernburg; 24 Schweinfurt; 28 Noball, France; Mar 8 Berlin; 9 Berlin; 16 Gessertshausen; 18 Lechfeld; 20 Frankfurt; 22 Berlin; 23 Hamm.

AM 3OLC, DFC,

His Daughter has said that he used to use a line as follows.
"It would have been the greatest adventure imaginable - - 19-year-old farm-boys operating the latest technology and traveling the world - - except that they were shooting at us!"
Post war he worked for Ford Motor Co.

Service

People

  • Anthony Cieri

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He flew on John Gassler crew. Reported to the ETO on 03 Nov 1943. He went ot the 12th RCD 05 Apr 1944. 29 November 1943 B17F#42-3520 made a wheels up landing at Little Staughton on Bremen mission as wheels would not lower electrically AM 3OLC, DFC,

  • David Gallagher

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    29 November 1943 B17F#42-3520 made a wheels up landing at Little Staughton on Bremen mission as wheels would not lower electrically. Ball turret was not jettisoned. Member of Gassler crew.

  • John Gassler

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Reported to ETO on 03 Nov 1943. He completed tour on 21 Mar 1944. ...

  • William Hughes

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He flew on John Gassler crew. Reported to ETO on 03 Nov 1943. Completed tour on 27 Mar 1944. Departed the ETO On 10 Apr 1944. ...

  • Theodore Lenoski

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He flew on John Gassler crew. Reported to ETO on 03 Nov 1943. Transferred to the 12th RCD on 05 Apr 1944. AM, DFC OLC,

  • David Mills

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He flew on John Gassler crew. Reported to the ETO on 03 Nov 1943. 29 November 1943 B17F#42-3520 made a wheels up landing at Little Staughton on Bremen mission as wheels would not lower electrically. Member of Gassler crew. AM 2OLC,

  • Benjamin Mings

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He flew on Joh Gassler crew. Reported to ETO on 13 Nov 1943. Completed tour on 27 Mar 1944. On 29 November 1943 B17F#42-3520 made a wheels up landing at Little Staughton on Bremen mission as wheels would not lower electrically. AM 3OLC, DFC,

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Units served with

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Group
    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 368th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-31454 You Can't Miss! ("cahn't")

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 2/11/43; Gt Falls 6/11/43; Kearney 19/11/43; Romulus 2/12/43; Bangor 4/12/43; Assigned 368BS/306BG [BO-B] Thurleigh 30/12/43; secret mission 4/11/44, ret gp 9/11/44; transferred 29TAC 24/5/45; Salvaged 31/1/46. ST ANTHONY.

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 131

    16 November 1943
    This mission was directed at targets in Norway. It was composed of three elements. The first element was a combined force of 189 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 384BG (21); 303BG (20); 379BG (22); 351BG (20); 91BG (20); 381BG (22); 305BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 138

    26 November 1943
    The industrial areas of Bremen, Germany are the target for this massive mission (largest to date) of 505 B-17s which included 14 B-17 Pathfinders from 482BG spread among the B-17 formations - 13 of these completed the mission and 7 were damaged. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 145

    1 December 1943
    This mission was directed at the industrial areas of Leverkusen and Solingen, Germany. The mission is composed of two elements. The first element is a combined force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (27); 92BG (18); 303BG (17);...

  • VIII Bomber Command 149

    5 December 1943
    This mission is composed of three elements. The first element is a combined force of 216 B-17 from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (10); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (20); 306BG (21); 351BG (35); 379BG (21); 381BG (30); 384BG (20); and 301BG (20)...

  • VIII Bomber Command 154

    13 December 1943
    The port areas at Bremen and Kiel, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. This is the first mission where more than 600 aircraft are despatched. This mission is comprised of 8 elements. The first element consists 182 B-17s from: 91BG (31);...

  • VIII Bomber Command 156

    16 December 1943
    This is a massive mission of 631 heavy bombers directed at the port area of Bremen, Germany. The force of 631 included 1 PFF-equipped B-17s from 482BG dispersed among the attacking formations. The mission is composed of three elements. The first...

  • 8th Air Force 176

    5 January 1944
    This mission consists of five elements: The first element is a combined force of 131 B-17s are despatched by 1st Bomb Division: 92BG; 303BG; 305BG; 306BG; 379BG; 384BG; and 482BG to bomb the shipyards and industrial areas of Kiel, Germany. 119 are...

  • 8th Air Force 183

    14 January 1944
    This mission is a combined effort of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bomb Divisions to attack V-Weapon sites near the French coast near Pas-de-Calaise. Some targets of opportunity were also bombed. A total of 20 out of 21 V-Weapon sites are hit with varying results. ...

  • 8th Air Force 187

    21 January 1944
    This mission is directed at 36 V-Weapon sites (34 in the Pas-de-Calaise area and 2 in the Chrebourg area of France) 24 of these are bombed successfully. All three Bomb Divisions participate in the attacks and the bomber gunners claimed 5-1-2 of...

  • 8th Air Force 198

    29 January 1944
    The primary target for this mission was the railroad marshalling yards and industrial areas of Frankfurt, Germany. A combined force of 863 heavy bombers were despatched in three elements to make the attack. The combined bomber gunner claims on enemy...

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Events

Event Location Date
Born Brookston, Texas 13 September 1922
Died 23 November 1999

Renal failure

Buried Roselawn Cemetery, Denton, TX, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 January 2021 11:08:54 Helen Changes to biography
Sources

306th Echoes Jan 2000

Date Contributor Update
12 April 2020 23:23:22 RayWells Changes to person associations
Sources

Updates to connections

Date Contributor Update
12 April 2020 22:15:59 RayWells Changes to biography
Sources

Addition to Biography

Date Contributor Update
12 April 2020 21:01:35 ccarrell Changes to mission associations
Sources

Thompson's personal flight log lists each of these missions with notations.

Date Contributor Update
12 April 2020 20:59:06 ccarrell Changes to nickname, awards, events and mission associations
Sources

From Thompson's personal flight record: 16 March 1944 mission was to Gessertshausen, Germany, but there is nothing showing on this site listing the 306BG on that date and location.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:10 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / daughter, Cynthia Thompson Carrell, 306th BGA Collection, Russell Strong Index Cards, / http://www.306bg.org/crewphotos/Crew%20Pictures%20Adam-Rector/Crew%20Pic...

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