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Paul Albert Blaida

Military

Flew 36 missions and was also with the 12th, 15th Air Corps & Air Force. Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters; 4 Campaign ribbons, two theatres of operation Europe and North Africa; Caterpillar Club.

Lt Blaida was on board B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when, due to bad weather conditions, it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One, Greenland. Blaida and the rest of the 12-man crew left uninjured and were brought safely to England.

Paul Blaida parachuted into German territory in North Africa on 18 December 1942 from the stricken B-17 Serial 42-5715, shot down by German fighters over Tunisia. He managed to reach the nearby Allied lines with five other survivors of the crash-landed Fortress. The Co-Pilot and three other crew members were killed. No Missing Air Crew Report for the loss of that Fortress.

Service

People

  • Thomas Burton

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator/Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Thomas Burton was on board B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One, Greenland. Burton...

  • Herbert Chambers

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Herbert Chambers enlisted in the US Army on July 23, 1930. He was Flying Cadet stationed in Hawaii. He was honorably discharged on June 30, 1931 and entered the Air Corps Reserves on July 1, 1931, where he remained until being honorably discharged on...

  • William Dorsett

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    27 June 1942 B-17E-BO AC#41-9090 crash landed near Narsak island due to bad weather conditions. All 12 crew members left uninjured and the plane sank within a minute. Crew was transitioning to England.

  • Eugene Evans

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Right Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    According to his widow Margaret, Eugene enlisted at 18 in Louisiana. ...

  • William Ivanhoff

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    William Matthew Ivanhoff (also known as Matthew Ivanhoff) was on board B-17E-BO A/C #41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35...

  • John Mayes

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    June 1942 B-17E-BO AC#41-9090 crash landed near Narsak island due to bad weather conditions. All 12 crew members left uninjured and the plane sank within a minute. Crew was transitioning to England.

  • George Monda

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    George Monda was Bombardier on board of B-17 Serial 42-5715 on a mission over Tunisia on 18 December 1942. He was killed in the crash-landing of the battle-damaged Fortress.

  • Clarence Nichols

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 97th Bomb Group
    Text from Lakeview Junior High School History teacher Rebecca A. Duda (November 2017) : “In 1938, Dracut native Clarence Buxton Nichols dropped out of Dracut High School to enlist in the Army for a three-year enlistment. He served in the infantry and...

  • John Nichols

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Lt John Nichols was pilot of B-17E-BO AC# 41-9090 transitioning to England from the United States on 27 June 1942 when it had to ditch near an island in Narsarsuaq Fjord, near Narsaq, in 1500ft of water, 35 miles SW of Bluie West One, Greenland....

  • Edward Weathers

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Losses of the 8th and 9th AF by Bishop and Hay p. 15 27 June 1942 B-17E-BO AC#41-9090 crash landed near Narsak island due to bad weather conditions. All 12 crew members left uninjured and the plane sank within a minute. Crew was transitioning to England.

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Units served with

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 342nd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-9090 The SOONER

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered MacDill 11 April 1942. Assigned 342BS/97BG Sarasota 26 April 1942. Presque Isle 29 May 1942. Flying from Goose Bay to Bluie West One at Narsarsuaq, Greenland on 27 June 1942 in foggy weather, with the impossibility to make radio contact and a...

  • 42-5715 The Sooner II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne, 3 September 1942. To New Castle, 4 October 1942. Assigned 94th Bomb Group, 22 October 1942. Transferred 342BS/97BG Depienne, November 1942. Piloted by 1st Lt John C. Nicholson on the 18 December 1942 mission to bomb the Bizerte,...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Downers Grove, Illinois 20 January 1919

the son of John and Martha Blaida

Enlisted Chicago, Illinois, United States 9 October 1941
Bailed out near Bizerte, Tunisia 18 December 1942

from battle-damaged B-17 Serial 42-5715

Died Downers Grove, Du Page County, Illinois, United States 11 June 2007
Lived in Downers Grove, Du Page County, Illinois, United States
Buried Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Illinois

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 November 2017 13:44:08 Lucy May Changes to biography
Sources

Brought in source from duplicate record:
Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Losses of the 8th and 9th AF by Bishop and Hay p.15

Date Contributor Update
14 November 2017 09:26:15 ED-BB Changes to biography, awards, events and person associations
Sources

The pilot was not killed. The Co-Pilot was and Paul Blaida managed to reach the Allied lines with five other survivors.

Date Contributor Update
11 November 2017 11:37:04 ED-BB Changes to biography, events, person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

"Veterans' Stories" - recollections of Paul Blaida
NARA WWII Enlistment Records
research on crash of 42-5715

Date Contributor Update
10 November 2017 11:29:25 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, events and aircraft associations
Sources

US 1940 Census
NARA WWII Enlistment Records

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:07 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

97th Bomb Group Association, Inc., Roster - June 1, 2000 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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