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Joseph J Balesh

Military

Radio operator, Duarte, E. crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down in B-17 #42-39910. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters that blew out the plexiglass in the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with one engine left. MACR 1878. Prisoner of War at Stalag XVIIB.
Reports are T/Sgt Balesh may have been left behind in the Pyrenees while attempting to cross.
Brooklyn, NY

Service

People

  • Earl Duarte

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Pilot, Duarte crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Aircraft damaged by enemy fighters blowing out the plexiglass in the nose and engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with one engine left. MACR 1878. Evaded. ...

  • Harry Grimball

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 381st Bomb Group
    Bombardier, Duarte crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39910. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters and the plexiglass was blown out of the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed...

  • Cornelius Heintz

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Duarte crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters and the plexiglass in the nose was blown out along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with one engine left. MACR 1878. Lt Heintz...

  • Russell Jevons

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer | 381st Bomb Group
    ETTG, Duarte crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters that blew out the plexiglass in the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with one engine left. MACR 1878. Evaded. EE Report...

  • James Martin

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    RWG, Duarte crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39910. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters that blew out the plexiglass in the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with...

  • Glen McCabe

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Co-pilot, Duarte crew, 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39910. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters that blew out the plexiglass in the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out...

  • Powell McDaniel

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    Tail gunner, Duarte crew. Shot down in B-17 42-39910 535th BS, 381st BG, 8th AF, Missing in Action Bordeaux 31-Dec-43, shot down by enemy aircraft, crash landed Launaguet, near Chemin Boudou, N of Toulouse, France. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. ...

  • Howard Norris

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    BTG, Duarte crew, 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39910. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters that blew out the plexiglass in the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with...

  • Albert Smith

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    LWG, Duarte crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39910. Mission #55 to Bordeaux, France. Attacked by fighters that blew out the plexiglass of the nose along with engines #2 & 3. Headed to Spain and bailed out with...

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 535th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-39910

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 6/10/43; Gr Island 2/11/43; slated 384BG Grafton Underwood, but transferred 535BS/381BG [MS- ] Ridgewell 20/12/43; 1m Missing in Action Bordeaux 31/12/43 with Earl Duarte, Co-pilot: Glen McCabe, Flight engineer/top turret gunner:...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 164

    24 December 1943
    This mission is directed at V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise area of France. The attacks are made between 1330-1510hrs. The mission is composed of three elements. The first element is a force of 277 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 169

    30 December 1943
    The port area and oil refineries at Ludwigshaven, Germany are the target for this massive attack of 710 heavy bombers. The despatch includes 12 PFF-equipped B-17s from 482BG, 11 of these are effective on the mission, 3 are damaged, and the bomber...

  • VIII Bomber Command 171

    31 December 1943
    This mission is the last heavy bomber operation of 1943. 1943 had been a very "tough" year for the 8th Air Force in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). 23365 B-17s had been despatched on missions and 881 had Failed to Return (FTR) for a loss...

Associated Place

  • Ridgewell

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42 as an RAF bomber station, Ridgewell operated as a satellite to RAF Stradishall until May 1943. It had three concrete runways, initially 36 pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Taken over by the Eighth Air Force in June...

  • Stalag XVII-B

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Brooklyn, NY 12 June 1924
Based 31 December 1943
Prisoner of War Wasserhofstra├če, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria 31 December 1943

Stalag XVIIB

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 April 2018 02:26:12 ARowe95 Changes to events and place associations
Sources

ARowe95

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2018 04:02:47 ARowe95 Changes to biography, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

ARowe95

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2018 05:16:48 ARowe95 Changes to highest rank, biography, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

ARowe95

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:17:19 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / www.381st.org/UnitHistory/Data/Roster.aspx

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