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Edward C Piech


As a B-17 bombardier, Edward C. Piech completed twenty-five missions during the darkest days of the Eighth Air Force’s campaign against Nazi Germany.

He enlisted in the Army Air Force (AAF) on April 11, 1942. On June 24, 1942, he arrived at Maxwell Field, Alabama as an aviation cadet. Assigned to Squadron L, Group 13.

In August 1942, he was based at Santa Ana Army Air Base, for bombardier pre-flight school. October 1942 assigned to Williams Field, Arizona as part of the 38th (Bombardier and Specialized Twin- and 4-Engine) Flying Training Wing for basic and advance training.

On January 2, 1943, he graduated in Class 43-1 Bombardiers, at Williams Field, received his wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt.

January 9, 1943, assigned to Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho for B-17 training as part of the 29th Bomb Group. After completing OTU-RTU training, assigned to Walla Walla AAB, 399th Squadron, 88th Bomb Group on April 1, 1943.

July 3, 1943, arrived at Polebrook and assigned to 509th BS, 351st BG. Flew 26 missions, 24 credited. Survived crash landing at RAF Leiston on board 42-29726, 'Poisonality' on July 30, 1943 after being battle damaged on a mission to Kassel, Germany.

On January 15, 1944, his 25th mission, Piech served as the bombardier on General Ira Eaker’s flight to Marrakech to become Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces. He served in North Africa until February 21, 1944, when he returned to England, and then back to the US.

Edward passed away after a courageous battle with Alzheimer's, on Thursday, August 25, 2011.

He wrote and recorded his war-time experiences in "The Wartime Diaries of Captain Edward C. Piech, USAAF, 1942-1944"


Units served with

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

  • 509th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-29726 'The Dallas Rebel' 'Poisonality'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/2/43; Walker 23/2/43; Smoky Hill 25/3/43; Presque Is 8/4/43; Assigned 337BS/96BG Grafton Underwood 20/4/43 THE DALLAS REBEL; Andrews Fd 13/5/43; Snetterton 12/6/43; transferred 509BS/351BG [RQ-Q] Polebrook 11/7/43; battle damaged...

  • 42-29749

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 15/2/43; Salina 5/3/43; Assigned 511BS/351BG [DS-Y] Polebrook 28/5/43; then 509BS [RQ-Z]; 2 SAD Lt Staughton 5/4/44; {37m} Returned to the USA 7/6/44; Tinker 6/7/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA)...

  • 42-29812

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 22/2/43; Casper 13/3/43; Smoky Hill 4/3/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-U] Polebrook 28/5/43; 1BAD Burtonwood 31/3/44; 31m Returned to the USA Tinker 1/9/44; Banks Fd 29/3/45; LeMoore 12/6/45; Santa Maria 11/7/45; March 18/12/45;...

  • 42-29860 Snoozin' Susan

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/2/43; Denver 1/3/43; Gore 12/3/43; Presque Is 8/4/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-W] Polebrook 17/4/43; battle damaged Bordeaux 31/12/43 36m, crash landed Sywell, Notts; 1st Base Air Depot, Burtonwood; ...

  • 42-29861 Buck-Shot

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/2/43; Denver 1/3/43; Pueblo 12/3/43; Presque Is 8/4/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-X] Polebrook 16/4/43; Missing in Action 31m Oschersleben 11/1/44 with Harry Cannon, Co-pilot: John May, Navigator: George Farrell, Bombardier: Bob...

  • 42-29882

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 3/3/43; Pueblo 12/3/43; Presque Is 8/4/43; Assigned 94BG Bassingbourn 17/4/43; transferred 508BS/351BG [YB-L] Polebrook 18/4/43; 41m 2 BAD Warton 5/4/44; Returned to the USA Amarillo 18/7/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold...

  • 42-29925 'The Duchess'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/3/43; Pueblo 28/3/43; Presque Is 9/4/43; Assigned 510BS/351BG [TU-L] Polebrook 17/4/43; 39m 2 BAD Warton 5/4/44; Returned to the USA Tinker 7/6/44; Hendricks 9/8/44; Rapid City 12/9/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for...

  • 42-30499 'My Princess'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/6/43; Rapid City 18/6/43; Geiger 22/6/43; Gr Isle 30/6/43; Tinker 16/7/43; Gr Isle 23/7/43; Kearney 8/8/43; Topeka 14/8/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-Q] Polebrook 27/9/43; 43m returned from Berlin with damage 21/6/44 with Howard...

  • 42-3120 Gremlin's Delight

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 26/2/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-O] Presque Is 8/4/43; Polebrook 6/5/43; 24m transferred 2 BAD 8/6/44; Returned to the USA Cincinnati 18/6/44; 613 BU Phillips Fd, 28/9/44. GREMLIN'S DELIGHT.

  • 42-5756

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 19/12/42; Kirtland 31/1/43; Cheyenne 27/2/43; Pueblo 18/3/43; Presque Is 7/4/43; Assigned 509BS/351BG [RQ-R] Polebrook 19/4/43; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 19/3/44; 21m Returned to the USA Robins 1/6/44; Amarillo 24/10/44;...

Associated Place

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...


Event Location Date


Date Contributor Update
24 January 2022 19:55:03 Douglas P Changes to biography

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2022 19:47:57 Douglas P Changes to aircraft associations

Correction to A/C connections

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2022 19:43:02 Douglas P Changes to service number, highest rank, biography, awards and aircraft associations


Date Contributor Update
27 October 2014 11:59:40 Emily Changes to firstname and aircraft associations

First name found in Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log ( see B-17 42-29726)

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:31 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop & Hey p. 213, The 351st in WWII by Harbour & Harris pp. 12-13