Robert E Bertelsen


Object Number - UPL 21815 - 1Lt. Robert E. Bertelsen

Robert Bertelsen served as a pilot first with the 564th Bomb Squadron of the 446th Bomb Group, then from April 1944 with the 566th Bomb Squadron of the 389th Bomb Group. He transferred to the 2nd Scouting Force and was killed due to engine failure in AT-6 43-13984 on 11 September 1944. He is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, California.

Bertelsen was inducted into the Army Air Corps just three weeks before Pearl Harbor and was to complete his Aviation Cadet Training at Lubbock, Texas in June of 1943. In October he linked up with the 446th BG in Nebraska and shipped out with them to their base in England.

His missions from Bungay included one in Februarys 1944 on the ME 110 factory in Gotha when his plane 'The Beast' dropped out of formation due to technical problems and went on to bomb a 'target of opportunity'. The next available record is of him flying in the pathfinder role in the run up to D-Day. Later that month he was apparently re-assigned to the pathfinder 389th BG with whom he completed his original tour.

The records show that he was then - probably in August 1944 - offered a job with the 355th Fighter Group whose speciality was scouting ahead of the bomber stream. It was thought that pilots with bomber experience were best suited to that role. The pilots were re-trained on the AT-6D before progressing on to the P-51 Mustang. It is documented that five of these ex-bomber pilots lost their lives in this transition. Amongst them was Robert Bertelsen who died on the evening of September 11th 1944 in an AT-6D (43-13984). He crashed near the field at Steeple Morden, cause of accident 'undetermined'.


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Units served with

The insignia of the 389th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
A flight of B-24 Liberators of the 446th Bomb Group fly in formation above the clouds.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Jo-Jo's Special Delivery, Green Dragon
  • Unit: 389th Bomb Group 93rd Bomb Group 329th Bomb Squadron


Aerial photograph of Bungay (Flixton) airfield, looking south, the technical site- with T2 hangar- and control tower are to the right, where the main airfield gate is also situated, 16 October 1945. Photograph taken by No. 541 Squadron, sortie number RAF/106G/UK/930. English Heritage (RAF Photography).
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Flixton


Event Location Date Description


Oakland, California 26 August 1922


Steeple Morden, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8, UK 11 September 1944


1300 Sneath Ln, San Bruno, CA 94066, USA 5 August 1948 At Golden Gate National Cemetery


Date18 Apr 2023 12:04:20
Date28 Mar 2022 22:37:21
ChangesChanges to biography

fix spelling

Date28 Mar 2022 22:36:25
ChangesChanges to biography

fix spelling

Date24 Jul 2019 09:18:33
ChangesChanges to biography and unit associations

Biography completed by historian Helen Millgate. Information sourced from correspondence files and articles related to the service of Robert E. Bertelsen.

Date15 Jan 2018 15:46:04
ContributorLucy May
ChangesChanges to highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and place associations
Date6 Jun 2016 12:35:16
ChangesChanges to events
Date6 Jun 2016 12:35:15
ChangesChanges to events
Date16 May 2016 17:05:26
ChangesChanges to service number and unit associations

U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms

Date27 Sep 2014 18:23:11
ChangesAAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit history, 389th BG Roster

Robert E Bertelsen: Gallery (4 items)