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Robert J Peterson

Military

Bob loved God, family and his country. He grew up during the depression and began working at age 8 or 9. He lettered in 4 varsity sports in high school (Football, Basketball, Tennis and Track) and went to Michigan Tech on a football scholarship in the fall of 1941. He was 10 days shy of his 18th birthday and a graduating high school senior when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on June 7th 1941. He tried to join the merchant marines because they were offering a bonus of 4500 for each voyage that left American waters. His parents, however, refused to sign his papers. Later, in 1942, he took and passed the air cadet written and physical exams. Since he was 19 and he was free of parental restrictions, he enlisted in the air corps. His older brother had done the same thing and became a P-38 pilot. Bob wanted his 'wings and a commission' but he had no interest in flying an airplane. He learned that Bombardiers went through the shortest training cycle (6 months) of all the flying officers. The pilot course, by contrast was a year. There were so many men asking to be pilots that many of them ended up with no commission and serving as enlisted men in other trades. He graduated from Bombardier school in August, 1943 and departed for Europe on Dec. 13, 1943. He was shot down on 2/24/44 near the village of Herbstein, Ger. ,after successfully bombing the Gothaer Waggon Fabrik AG in Gotha. Thirteen of the 25 B-24's from the 445th were shot down that day, for which they received the Presidential Unit Citation. After bailing out of the nose of the plane, he eventually was captured and he became a Prisoner of War (POW) in Barth, Germany at Stalag Luft 1, South compound, Barracks 1, room 10. Despite the boredom and the lack of heat and food (he lost 55 lbs) he remembers with pleasure one day when three P-51 Mustangs buzzed the camp and the American pilots wagged their wings as they went over. This heightened the Prisoner of War (POW)s morale. He was liberated by the Russians in May of 1945 and returned to Michigan Tech in January of 1946 where he co-captained the football team and received a degree in Civil Engineering.

Presidential Unit Citation/Purple Heart/POW Medal/EAME Medal/Good Conduct/WW II Victory Medal/Air Medal/ 6 service Bronze Stars

Service

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. ...

  • 2nd Air Division

    2nd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 2nd Bomb Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

  • 445th Bomb Group

    445th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 445th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Tibenham, Norfolk. The crews' first mission was bombing U-boat installations at Kiel on 13 December 1943. The Group continued to hit strategic targets in Germany, including the aircraft components factory...

  • 700th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-100374 Suitch's Bitch

    B-24 Liberator
    In mid-December, 1943, Lt. Suitch received orders to proceed to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take possession of a newly-built B-24 Liberator bomber. The bomber assigned to Lt. Suitch's crew was built at the Consolidated plant in San Diego, California, as part...

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 228 BIG WEEK - DAY 2

    21 February 1944
    Day 2 of BIG WEEK is another maximum effort by 8th Air Force to bomb 6 airfields in Germany as primary targets: Diepholz, Gütersloh, Lippstadt, Werl, Achmer and Handorf. In addition the industrial areas of Brunswick city are included as a primary...

  • 8th Air Force 233 BIG WEEK - DAY 5

    24 February 1944
    BIG WEEK resumes with full intensity against the German aircraft industry. Bomber tactics are changed slightly in that each Air Division will be directed at more widely dispersed primary targets whoch it is thought will frustrate concentration...

Associated Place

  • Tibenham

    Military site : airfield
    Tibenham was built in 1941-1942 by W and C French Ltd with a standard 2,000 yard main runway, and two other runways both 1,400 feet in length. Accommodation was provided for a full USAAF heavy bomber group in dispersed sites. Personnel of the 320th...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Ironwood, Michigan, USA
Prisoner of War (POW) Stalag Luft 1, Barth, Germany 24 February 1944

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2021 23:31:53 bombardier_daughter Changes to mission associations
Sources

Nancy Wilson

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2021 15:42:46 bombardier_daughter Changes to media associations
Sources

Nancy Wilson

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2021 15:41:32 bombardier_daughter Changes to mission associations
Sources

Nancy Wilson

Date Contributor Update
20 April 2021 17:31:05 bombardier_daughter Changes to biography and mission associations
Sources

Nancy Wilson (daughter)

Date Contributor Update
20 April 2021 17:17:07 bombardier_daughter Changes to biography
Sources

Nancy Wilson (daughter)

Date Contributor Update
20 April 2021 17:03:53 bombardier_daughter Changes to nickname, service number, awards, unit associations and place associations
Sources

daughter, nancy wilson

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2021 00:33:32 bombardier_daughter Changes to biography
Sources

nancy wilson (daughter)

Date Contributor Update
10 December 2020 20:13:44 bombardier_daughter Changes to highest rank and mission associations
Sources

Father's records

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:23:38 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 2562 / MACR 2562/daughter, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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