John Akers Jr

Military

Object Number - UPL 45491 - John outside the mess hall in Glatton

John Akers Jr grew up in Greenville, TX on a cotton farm. Graduated High School May 1939. His days consisted of working the cotton farm with 2 mules and picking the cotton. After seeing the events of Pearl Harbor during his time in the civilian conservation corps after high school; He knew he was going to be drafted so he proactively tried to enlist in the Air Corps, during his Physical it was seen that he had spots on his lungs. 6 months later he got his draft card anyway, during his physical this time he was cleared. After taking a plane ride at the fair he wanted to become a pilot which is why he volunteered for the army air corp.

He started out as a mechanic, eventually taking the test for a pilot seat, and learning the trade from there. He chose to go with multi engine bomber planes in the war because he thought they would be safer than fighters as most did, he also had the hopes of being an airline pilot after the war because as he stated "I would have been on top of the world."

Completed 4 Missions in the B-17 Flying Fortress
Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42-31607 "Rose Olive", becoming a Prisoner of War (POW) for the remainder of the war.

He shattered both ankles due to his parachute not opening completely, bailing out at a low level and credited for saving the 9 other lives on his ship. He was awarded the bronze star for his actions on this mission.

After the War he married the love of his live Ann Squires, they had 3 Boys, and were married for 72 years before his passing.

With his time in the service he received
POW, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, WWII Victory medal, and 2 campaign medals
4 missions (1 Co-Pilot, 3 Pilot), shot down on the 4th.

You can listen to John's story on YouTube: https://youtu.be/m1KvsXLXBZw

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

Unofficial emblem of the 457th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 15324482
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Civilian
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Homesick Angel
  • Unit: 401st Bomb Group 613th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Rose Olive
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Snafusk Shamrock, Swedish Shamrock
  • Unit: 457th Bomb Group 748th Bomb Squadron

Missions

  • Date: 27 April 1944

Places

The mission board of the 457th Bomb Group. Official caption printed on image: '(GM-299-2-457)(16/5/45)(Op's Board's).'
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Connington
  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Offlag X-B

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Greenville, Texas 27 May 1921

Died

Springfield, IL, USA 8 October 2017 John Akers Jr., 96 of Springfield passed away Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 at Heritage Health. He was born May 27, 1921 in Greenville, TX the son of John Wiseman and Edna Akers. He married Ann Squires on Oct. 27, 1945. John served as a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps 457 Bomber Group from 1942-1945 during WWII and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Surviving are his wife, Ann; two sons, Robert D. Akers of Fort Worth, TX and Jeffery A. Akers of Denver, CO; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son, John Charles Akers. Memorial Service will be at 2pm, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield with a reception to follow at the church. Private graveside services were held at Brush Creek Cemetery in Divernon. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.

Other

POW

Obermaßfeld, 98617 Obermaßfeld-Grimmenthal, Germany I briefly spoke with Mr. Akers on the phone July 3, 2009, about his wartime experiences. He recalled bunking next to my father-in-law, John Kendrick at the Obermassfeld POW hospital in Germany. He recalled them playing chess. He told me that his B-17 crew had to bailout. His parachute did not fully deploy and both legs were badly broken.

Revisions

Date16 Oct 2020 07:06:13
ContributorOliver Akers
Sources

edits

Date16 Oct 2020 06:59:50
ContributorOliver Akers
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added camp

Date16 Oct 2020 06:42:00
ContributorOliver Akers
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oliver akers updating bio

Date16 Oct 2020 06:28:33
ContributorOliver Akers
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personal story

Date14 Oct 2020 22:41:47
ContributorOliver Akers
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corrected squadron

Date14 Oct 2020 22:29:45
ContributorOliver Akers
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updated service number

Date14 Oct 2020 22:23:48
ContributorOliver Akers
Sources

correcting missions

Date14 Oct 2020 21:54:58
ContributorOliver Akers
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updated missions and aircraft

Date14 Oct 2020 21:31:16
ContributorOliver Akers
Sources

updated page

Date14 Oct 2020 20:52:42
ContributorOliver Akers
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associated Media

Date14 Oct 2020 20:47:55
ContributorOliver Akers
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Oliver Akers Edit

Date14 Oct 2020 20:37:41
ContributorOliver Akers
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Editing for accuracy

Date14 Oct 2020 20:22:53
ContributorOliver Akers
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I have pictures and the medals, he was a pilot and was shot down 12 may 1944, he kept the plane flying for his crew to jump out, he jumped so low he broke both his ankles and was a POW the rest of the war. I am his Grandson Oliver Akers

Date11 May 2020 00:18:16
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added a "-" to the A/C serial # in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date27 Aug 2018 16:14:44
Contributorrcmobley
Date27 Aug 2018 16:05:38
Contributorrcmobley
Sources

Rob Mobley telephone conversation July 3, 2009

Date27 Aug 2018 16:02:05
Contributorrcmobley
Sources

Rob Mobley telephone conversation July 3, 2009

Date27 Sep 2014 18:16:20
ContributorAAM
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 4800/ self

John Akers: Gallery (6 items)