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John Akers Jr

Military

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

Service

People

  • Lloyd Dell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Leo Kruszynski

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Robert Marstellar

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). Held at Stalag Luft IV.

  • Christopher Milgo

    Military | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Austin Moore

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #42-31607, Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Harold Peterman

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Charles Scott

    Military | Sergeant | Instrument Mechanic | 487th Bomb Group

  • Wallace Taft

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Edward White

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 457th Bomb Group
    Shot down 12 May 1944 in B-17 #4231607. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

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Units served with

  • 457th Bomb Group

    457th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 457th Bomb Group began combat operations during the Big Week of 20-25 February when American bombers carried out concentrated raids against German aircraft bases, factories and assembly plants. The air crews' targets on that first mission were...

  • 748th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-31591 Homesick Angel

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/11/43; Wendover 9/12/43; Grenier 20/1/44; Assigned 457BG Glatton 25/1/44; transferred 613BS/401BG [IN-J] Deenethorpe 11/3/44; Missing in Action Pas de Calais 19/3/44, force landed continent; Salvaged 1 SAD Troston 22/4/44; mission...

  • 42-31607 Rose Olive

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/11/43; Wendover 12/10/43; Presque Is 19/1/44; Assigned 748BS/457BG [B] Glatton 23/2/44; Missing in Action Merseburg 12/5/44 with John Akers, Co-pilot: Chas Scott, Navigator: Lloyd Dell, Bombardier: Leo Kruszinski, Flight engineer...

  • 42-31615 Snafusk Shamrock AKA Swedish Shamrock

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/11/43; Portland 28/11/43; Wendover 9/12/43; Presque Is 26/1/44; Assigned 748BS/457BG [N] Glatton 5/2/44; Missing in Action Hamburg 20/6/44 with Bill Bomer, Co-pilot: Jack Lade, Navigator: Chas Curione, Bombardier: Robin Hill,...

Missions

  • 322

    27 April 1944

  • 344

    8 May 1944

  • 348

    9 May 1944

  • 353

    12 May 1944

Associated Place

  • Glatton

    Military site : airfield
    Glatton, which lay mostly in the parish of Conington, was built by the 809th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) of the U.S. Army in the last months of 1942. Unusually, the base's three runways surrounded Rose Court Farm, which remained a working farm...

  • Stalag X-C

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Greenville, Texas 27 May 1921
POW Obermaßfeld, 98617 Obermaßfeld-Grimmenthal, Germany 1944

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.

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.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 October 2020 07:06:13 Oliver Akers Changes to biography
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edits

Date Contributor Update
16 October 2020 06:59:50 Oliver Akers Changes to place associations
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added camp

Date Contributor Update
16 October 2020 06:42:00 Oliver Akers Changes to biography
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oliver akers updating bio

Date Contributor Update
16 October 2020 06:28:33 Oliver Akers Changes to biography and mission associations
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personal story

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 22:41:47 Oliver Akers Changes to unit associations
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corrected squadron

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 22:29:45 Oliver Akers Changes to service number and role
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updated service number

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 22:23:48 Oliver Akers Changes to mission associations
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correcting missions

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 21:54:58 Oliver Akers Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations
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updated missions and aircraft

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 21:31:16 Oliver Akers Changes to person associations and media associations
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updated page

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 20:52:42 Oliver Akers Changes to media associations
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associated Media

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 20:47:55 Oliver Akers Changes to middlename
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Oliver Akers Edit

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 20:37:41 Oliver Akers Changes to middlename, nickname and media associations
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Editing for accuracy

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2020 20:22:53 Oliver Akers Changes to biography, awards and mission associations
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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

Date Contributor Update
11 May 2020 00:18:16 jmoore43 Changes to biography
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Added a "-" to the A/C serial # in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2018 16:14:44 rcmobley Changes to events
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Online obituary: www.legacy.com/obituaries/sj-r/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=186894075

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2018 16:05:38 rcmobley Changes to events
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Rob Mobley telephone conversation July 3, 2009

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2018 16:02:05 rcmobley Changes to events
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Rob Mobley telephone conversation July 3, 2009

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:20 AAM AAM ingest
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Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 4800/ self

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