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John H Gordon Jr


2nd Lt. John "Jack" H. Gordon, Jr. was one of two sons who served in WWII. Jack was a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save his crew. They had to break off from the squadron when they developed an oil leak and lost two engines. Estimating fuel and distances, they tried to make it to France, but had to fly over part of Germany. The anti-aircraft fire was so accurate that the plane was lost and the crew had to abandon their ship. The auto-pilot was shot out and Jack stood at the controls as he ordered his crew bail out. The entire crew made it safely to the ground except for Jack who held the ship steady until all were out. He then attempted to put the plane down knowing that he could not let loose of the controls. His life was lost less that 2 months before the end of the war. All of the crew survived the war, though they were captured and made prisoners of war. All were released soon when the war ended.

Killed in Action (KIA) at Trier in B-17 #4338102


Units served with

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 366th Bomb Squadron


  • 859

    2 March 1945

Associated Place

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...


Event Location Date
Born Lewiston, IdahoA 9 February 1922
Died Trier, Germany 2 March 1945


Date Contributor Update
06 June 2015 04:08:38 JLGordon Changes to awards

My mother reminded me that Jack received the purple heart posthumously.

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2015 02:59:05 JLGordon Changes to biography

I just made a couple of textual edits after reading my previous submission.

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2015 02:56:23 JLGordon Changes to nickname, service number, biography, awards, events, place associations and mission associations

I am the nephew of John "Jack" Gordon and was named after him, I have heard stories over the years from family, though the details have been scarce. Recently I reviewed the transcript of a 2002, two hour interview of Paul Bosworth, the waist gunner on that ship, by Thomas Miller. The transcript was obtained from the State Historical Society of Missouri. I source the location of his grave, his serial number, his awards from I have personally spoken with Henry D. Newman the co-pilot who was the last to see Jack alive.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:08 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 12852