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John Phillip Gibbons

Military

John Gibbons was Pilot of B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returning from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. RTD. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 15220.
Stories related by Lt John P. Gibbons to Military Police Company (2002):
'While in the States on the way to his next phase of flight training, John Gibbons was reading Lt Col Beirne Lay's article 'I Saw Regensburg Destroyed' (about the 100th BG and Maj. Gale Cleven's ordeal on August 17, 1943). His recollections were 'I am not this type of guy'. Three months later, he was assigned to the 100th BG, 350th BS (Cleven's old Bomb Squadron) and his first mission was to REGENSBURG on 25 February 1944!
'We flew the first four missions to BERLIN. On the second BERLIN mission, March 4, 1944, we flew as a composite with the 95th BG. We received the recall but the Group leader in the 95th heard it differently. Being a young Second Lt, I was not going to break radio silence to tell him differently. We also flew the March 6th and March 8th missions to Berlin. I think I ended up going to Berlin a total of 7 times.'
'Once while returning from BERLIN on the deck (with my windshield shot out), we were escorted by a P-51 named 'OLD CROW' (flown by Maj Bud Anderson of 357th Fighter Group). We would meet again on a train while I was on leave in the States in between my first and second tour.'
'The aircraft we flew on my 6th mission was MISS IRISH, named by our Crew Chief Chandler. The date was March 19, 1944, and we were to hit a NO BALL in France. My plane was hit by an 88mm shell, blowing a huge hole in the radio compartment and killing my ROG, Sergeant Edward Walker Jr. So much for Milk Runs!'
'MISS IRISH was salvaged. I flew MISS IRISH II, once again named by Chandler. On my 7th mission they requested what I would like to name my next aircraft, which I did. It was called 'LITTLE MIKE'.'
'We flew our first 5 missions as 'Tail End Charlie' as was the custom for all new crews. Once on a practice mission, I was flying so close to my squadron CO, he accused me of trying to kill him!'
'I completed my first tour, then went stateside for 30 days. Why would someone sign up for another tour, guess I felt we had a job to complete. When I returned to the Group (along with and who had also signed up for another tour of duty), I was not assigned a permanent crew nor did I have a specific job but was flying missions as a deputy leader with the 350th BS. During this time I flew my 36th mission, flying deputy lead on a mission over the Ruhr (Happy Valley as it was nicknamed) and we had gone over the target twice and still had not dropped our bombs. I asked my Bombardier if he saw the target and upon getting the affirmative decided to break radio silence. As a green second Lt, I did not speak up on the Berlin mission, but with 35 missions under my belt, I told the other crews to form up on me and we hit the target'
'I was appointed 350th BS Operations officer with help from and I would fly my remaining 14 missions as a Command Pilot. My final mission was April 14, 1945 to Royan. After hostilities ceased, I was made CO of the 418th BS.'

Service

People

  • Ira Arnold

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, Fance and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. Returned To Duty (RTD). Shot down by Flak on the...

  • Sterling Blakeman

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. RTD. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 15220.

  • Archie Bunting

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. Returned To Duty (RTD). Missing Air Crew Report -...

  • Frank Buschmeier

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. Returned To Duty (RTD). Missing Air Crew Report -...

  • Robert Dykeman

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 100th Bomb Group
    Robert Dykeman was Co-Pilot on B-17G #42-31968 'Miss Irish'. On return from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France on 19 March 1944, the ship made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room. Returned to...

  • Myron Ettus

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. Returned To Duty (RTD). Missing Air Crew Report -...

  • Everett Johnson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. RTD. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 15220.

  • Bernard Spragg

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. RTD. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 15220. Returned...

  • James Theys

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot/Pilot | 351st Bomb Group

  • Edward Walker

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator / Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    B-17G#42-31968 'Miss Irish' returned from a mission to Marquise/Mimoyecques, France and made an emergency landing at Raydon after taking a direct hit from an 88mm in the radio room on 19 March 1944. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 15220. ...

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Units served with

  • 100th Bomb Group

    100th Bomb Group

    Group
    "The Bloody Hundredth", so-called because of a reputation for losing a high number aircraft and crews, flew B-17s from Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk. Their losses were not the highest of any Eighth Air Force Group but on several occasions the Group lost many...

  • 350th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-31767 Our Gal Sal

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 12/12/43; Kearney 31/12/43; RAF Nutts Corner (N.Ire) 16/1/44; Assigned 351BS/100BG [EP-E] Thorpe Abbotts 17/1/44; transferred 482BG Alconbury 20/5/45; 100+m, Returned to the USA 5/45; 121 BU Bradley 31/5/45; 4168 Base Unit, South...

  • 42-31968 Miss Irish

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 11/1/44; Savannah 21/1/44; Morrison 2/2/44; Assigned 350BS/100BG [LN-D] Thorpe Abbotts 3/2/44. Battle-damaged by Flak South of Calais, France on the 19 March 1944 mission to Mimoyecques, France. 19/3/44 with Pilot John P. Gibbons, Co...

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 266

    19 March 1944
    V-Weapon sites in France are the targets for this mission. A combined force of 193 B-17s of 1st and 3rd Air Divisions are despatched. Mission Summary follows: ...

Associated Place

  • Thorpe Abbotts

    Military site : airfield
    Home of the 'Bloody Hundredth’, a Bomb Group with a reputation for high casualty rates, Thorpe Abbotts was under USAAF control from June 1943 to the end of the war. Some of the airfield survives today, and the control tower houses the 100th Bomb Group...

Events

Event Location Date
Born St Marys, Pottawatomie County, Kansas 2 November 1919
Lived in July 1941

Salina, Saline County, Kansas

Died 24 January 2013
Buried

John Gibbons rests at the Wisconsin Memorial Park, Brookfield, Wisconsin

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
31 August 2020 08:47:56 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, highest rank, events, person associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 15220
WWII Draft Card
Veterans Affairs BIRLS death File

Date Contributor Update
27 August 2020 14:35:02 ED-BB Changes to biography
Sources

Corrected typos and added details in Biography

Date Contributor Update
15 May 2018 13:41:37 Lucy May Changes to nickname, highest rank, role and aircraft associations
Sources

Brought in sources from duplicate record:
Michael P. Faley-100th Bomb Group Historian, www.100thBG.com
MACR 15220 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Date Contributor Update
15 May 2018 13:38:19 Lucy May Changes to biography, place associations and media associations
Sources

Edits to text for legibility

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:31 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

100th Bomb Group Foundation Directory, 2000 - 2001 / Combat Sup / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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