William J O'Leary

Military

Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #254 dated 23 December 1944, George F. Ruckman Crew. 22 combat missions

In O'Leary's own words: "I'm proud to say that I flew my first Mission as a co-pilot on a B-17 while still 19 years of age. On my 9th Mission, Feb 1, 1945, as a co-pilot on Ruckman's crew, I suffered a damaged ear drum as the result of flying with a very bad cold. I was confined to the Base Hospital for thirteen days, plus a few trips to the Thrapston General Hospital.

On February 3rd, 1945, Ruckman's Crew, with a replacement for me, flew a mission to Berlin where our B-17 Stardust sustained major flak damage, and was forced to land on a Russian controlled airfield in Poland. The fate of the Crew was not known for over forty days. When Doc Vivian, 547th Flight Surgeon, cleared me for flight duty, I had no crew or airplane to fly.

Captain Shelley, 547th Flight Operations Officer, called and asked if I would like to get some missions in flying as Group Observer in the tail gunner's position in the Group Lead airplane. I flew several missions in that capacity, as well as a replacement for co-pilots on other crews. I completed a total 22 missions. In the interim I was commissioned from F/O, and 'checked-out' as a First Pilot. I participated in the Green Project and other minor projects, before returning to the U.S. on 21 April 1946."

Connections

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

Units served with

The insignia of the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 384th Bomb Group 547th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-777244
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Stardust
  • Unit: 384th Bomb Group 547th Bomb Squadron

Places

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

New York, NY, USA

Revisions

Date27 Sep 2014 18:28:22
ContributorAAM
Sources