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Official USAAF photo. Original caption : “Major General Carl Spaatz, Commanding General of the Air Forces, ETOUSA, of Earleville, Pennsylvania decorates airmen at their base in England. Officers who received the Distinguished Flying Cross are 2nd Lt Richard F. Starks, Midway, Ky., 1st Lt Frank R. Beadle, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1st Lt Levon L. Ray, Pooleville, Texas (who is shown being decorated by Maj. General Spaatz and Brig. General Ira C. Eaker of Llane County, Texas).” ► Note : The ceremony took place at Polebrook on 17 September 1942. The medal awarded to Starks, Beadle and Ray was not the Distinguished Flying Cross but the Distinguished Service Cross. Not mentioned in the caption is Lt Ewart T. Sconiers, seen here at extreme left, who was also awarded the DSC for his action on return from the 21 August 1942 mission to Rotterdam. Sconiers was Bombardier on board “Johnny Reb” 41-9089 that day. Germans fighters hit the B-17 which lagged behind the formation, killing the Co-Pilot Lt Donald A. Walter and seriously wounding the Pilot, Richard S. Starks (2nd from left, with his right hand still bandaged in the photo). Sconiers, who had washed out of pilot training school, managed to pilot the plane safely back to England, adding the DSC to the Purple Heart he had received for wounds in an earlier mission.



  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...


  • Frank Beadle

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Navigator; Bombardier
    Was Bombardier on the lead ship on the 8th very first mission in 1942 to Rouen. He kept a bomb pin as a souvenier. Plane name was 'Butcher Shop' B-17 #2578. Paul Tibbets was the pilot, Col Frank Armstrong was the co-pilot Navigator was Lt. Levon...

  • Ira Eaker

    Military | Lieutenant General | Commanding General, 8th Air Force
    Commanding General of 8th AF 1 December 1942 to 5 January 1944. Following that, Eaker was given command of all Allied air forces in the MTO, and in April 1945 became Deputy CG of the USAAF. Retired July 1947. ...

  • Levon Ray


  • Ewart Sconiers

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier
    Lt Ewart Sconiers was Bombardier on B-17 #41-9089 'Johnny Reb', one of the 12 B-17s participating in the first heavy bomber raid of the 8th Air Force on 17 August 1942. The target were the shipyards of Rouen/Sotteville, France. ...

  • Carl Spaatz

    Military | General | Commanding General, 8th Air Force
    A few weeks after Pearl Harbor, in January 1942, General Spaatz was assigned as chief of the Army Air Force Combat Command at Washington and promoted to the temporary rank of major general. In May 1942, Spaatz was designated commander of the Eighth Air...

  • Richard Starks

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot
    Richard Starks grew up in Woodford County, Kentucky. He attended the Midway High School and the University of Kentucky before enlisting in April 1941. After his enlistment, he was sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma for primary training, starting to fly the...


Date Contributor Update
29 October 2015 15:02:16 Cym118 Changes to unit associations and person associations

Added medal ceremony photo (1)

Date Contributor Update
11 September 2015 14:56:37 ED-BB Created entry with caption and person associations

Added medal ceremony photo (1)