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William Herbert Ritzema

Military

Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657

Awards: AM, GC, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

Service

People

  • Frank DeMarco

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. 5 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Suffered chest wound from flak. Baled out. Died on...

  • Octavio Duran

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • William Leach

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657 Awards: AM, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Donald Pearson

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Shuss

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Suffered chest wound from flak. Baled out. Died on ground from wounds....

  • Richard Stewart

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Six combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Broke leg on landing. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR...

  • Paul Straw

    Military | Major General | Co-Pilot | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657 ...

  • Lorin Wolfe

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • John Zundel

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 351st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Bernburg in B-17 42-31612 22-Feb-44; shot down by flak, crew baled out and pilot made a wheels up landing near Aachen. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2657 Awards: PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

Show more

Units served with

  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    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...

  • 510th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-31612

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Mid Continental Airways Modification Center, Denver 28/11/43; Kearney 17/12/43; Syracuse 2/1/44; Presque Is 4/1/44; ...

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...

  • Stalag Luft I

    Other location

  • Dulag Luft 12

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Greenville, Michigan, USA 11 August 1918

Son of James H and Lorene C [Huelster] Ritzema.

Enlisted Kalamazoo, MI 5 August 1941

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Based Polebrook 1943 – 22 February 1944

Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USAAF.

Prisoner of War (POW) Barth, Germany 22 February 1944 – May 1945

Prisoner of War (POW). Stalag Luft I.

Died Greenville, MI 15 June 2005
Buried Rest Haven Memory Gardens Belding, Ionia County, MI 18 June 2005

Rest Haven Memory Gardens
Belding,
Ionia County, Michigan,

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
09 October 2021 14:42:30 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, biography, awards, events, person associations, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/28615377
https://www.fold3.com/image/662098843
https://www.fold3.com/record/44350663/william-h-ritzema-social-security-...
https://www.fold3.com/record/89498781/william-h-ritzema-wwii-army-enlist...
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/202470864/william-h-ritzema

Date Contributor Update
05 October 2021 20:43:56 Douglas P Changes to service number and highest rank
Sources

351st.org

Date Contributor Update
05 October 2021 20:42:29 Douglas P Changes to awards
Sources

351st BG website

Date Contributor Update
05 October 2021 20:39:21 Douglas P Changes to media associations
Sources

James Ritzma (son)

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:11 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 2657 / MACR 2657, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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