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William R Calhoun Jr

Military

Born 10 Nov 1919 Birmingham, AL, BA Degree Stanford Univ.

Promoted to Liutenant Colonel at age 23. Clark Gable pinned his silver oak leaves on him. His aircraft was B-17F 41-24581,' The 8 Ball' 303BG/359BS. LTC William R. Calhoun (P). Mission participation (See Biography events - UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

2Lt 12-Dec-41, Class 41-I, Brooks Field, TX, Original 359BS Pilot, Arrived Molesworth 20-Oct-42 in B-17F 41-24581 'The '8' Ball' 303BG/359BS, Commanding Officer 359BS 6-Mar-43 to 22-Nov-43, Transferred to 41st CBW at Molesworth as Director of Operations and Executive Officer until 23 Dec-44, On 7 Dec 1948, flying as Pilot, ditched a C-54 Transport in the Pacific Ocean and spent 40 hours in a life raft (33 survivors and 4 Killed in Action (KIA)). Retired as a USAF Colonel. Completed his first 25 mission combat tour on 19 Aug 1943 (mission 61). Volunteered for 2nd combat tour. Flew on seven additional credited missions. Last mission on 28 July 1944 (Mission 98). Was awarded two Silver Star Medals. Flew 32 missions.

On 20-Dec-42 CPT Calhoun piloted B-17F 41-24581 'The 8 Ball' to the target at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. The plane suffered damage. Calhoun ordered crew to bale out over England. He and co-pilot Major Eugene Romig crash landed at Bovingdon. All crew members returned.

SS w/ Oak Leaf Cluster/ PH/ DFC w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster/ AM w/ 4 Oak Leaf Cluster

Service

People

  • William Hatcher

    Military | Colonel | Co-Pilot; Pilot; Group Commanding Officer | 351st Bomb Group
    William Hatcher Jr was born in Grand Rapids, was brought up in Detroit’s north end and attended Northern High School. After his enlistment in the Air Corps, he followed pilot training courses and rose rapidly through the ranks. ...

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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

  • 41-24581 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). EIGHT BALL

    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 (slighly 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...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

  • VIII Bomber Command 32

    2 February 1943
    All six 8th Air Force Bomb Groups operting from Great Britain are ordered on a mission to bomb the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. 61 B-17s and 22 B-24s are despatched but the formation runs into severe weather over the North Sea and the mission in...

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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
Born Birmingham, Alabama 10 November 1919
Assigned to Aircraft Alamogordo, NM 88310, USA 1 July 1942

Assigned as Pilot of B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball" 303BG/359BS with the rank of Captain at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico.

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

Arrived as the Pilot of B-17F 41-24581 "The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS at Molesworth, UK.

Mission #1, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served in the Co-Pilot position 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, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS - Aborted 18 November 1942

Served Pilot of 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 him to abort the sortie. RTB OK

Mission #3, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Lorient, France 22 November 1942

Served Pilot of 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 him to abort the sortie. RTB OK

Mission #4, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 23 November 1942

Served Pilot of 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, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Lille, France 6 December 1942

Served Pilot of 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, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Rouen, France 12 December 1942

Served Pilot of B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peeler", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France, but mechaniacl filure forced him to abort the sortie.

Mission #7, CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24581, 303BG/359BS Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

Served Pilot of 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 the pilot, MAJ Romig managed to fly the aircraft back to England. He and MAJ Romig stayed with the aircraft after ordering the rest of the crew to bale out over the English countryside, and the made a crash landing at USAAF Staion Bovington. The aircraft was DBR but both he and MAJ Romig were OK and returned to Molesworth the next day.

Mission #8 CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS 3 January 1943

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

Mission #9 CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS Lorient, France 23 January 1943

Served Pilot of B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball II", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. RTB OK.

Mission #10 CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Hamm, Germany 2 February 1943

Served Pilot of B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball II", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, but mechanical failures forced him to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #11 CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Osnabrück, Germany 4 February 1943

Served Pilot of B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball II", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the industrial areas of Osnabruck, Germany, but mechanical failures forced him to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #12 CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS - Recalled Hamm, Germany 14 February 1943

Served Pilot of B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball II", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. Severe cold and weather forced Wing Command to recall the entire 303BG formation. RTB OK.

Mission #13 CPT William R. Calhoun, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS Wilhelmshaven, Germany 26 February 1943

Served Pilot of B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball II", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the naval facilities and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. RTB OK.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 March 2016 18:13:58 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Mar-2016. Added Mission #13 event per 303BG/website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 26-Feb-43; http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/017.pdf

Date Contributor Update
15 March 2016 18:11:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Mar-2016. Added Mission #12 event per 303BG/website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 14-Feb-43; http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/015.pdf

Date Contributor Update
15 March 2016 18:09:45 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Mar-2016. Added Mission #11 event per 303BG/website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 4-Feb-43; http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/014.pdf

Date Contributor Update
15 March 2016 18:07:38 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Mar-2016. Added Mission #10 event per 303BG/website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 2-Feb-43; http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/013.pdf

Date Contributor Update
15 March 2016 18:04:09 Lee8thbuff Changes to mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Mar-2016. Made connections to Missions of: 2-Feb-43, 4-Feb-43, 14-Feb-43 and 26-Feb-43 per 303BG website, Gayr Mocnur, Historian, Mission Reports of dates stated: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
19 December 2015 23:32:04 Lee8thbuff Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 19-Dec-2015 . Added Mission #9 event per 303BG/website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 23-Jan-43; http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/011.pdf

Date Contributor Update
16 December 2015 00:44:51 Lee8thbuff Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 15-Dec-2015 . Added Mission #8 event pwr 303BG/website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 3-Jan-43; http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/009.pdf

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2015 21:40:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:33:57 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:29:27 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:27:17 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:25:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:22:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:19:05 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-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
12 December 2015 21:14:37 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Dec-2015 Added Arrived in Uk event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, William R. Calhoun crw page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-calhoun.html

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2015 21:10:18 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Dec-2015. Added Assigned to Aircraft event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Willam R. Calhoun crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-calhoun.html

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2015 20:55:50 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Dec-2015. Added Tail Numbers to "The '8' Ball" citations in the Summary Biography and made connections to missions flown with B-17F 41-24581 per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
06 December 2014 21:30:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, awards, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Dec-2014. Converted dates in biography to military-style signification; made connections to Place, AIrcraft and Mission for 20-Dec-42 mission within existing website data.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:36 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / http://www.303rdbg.com/pp-gable3.html# / relative, Who's Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45,  Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol.1 by Bishop and Hey p. 55

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