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Duane Clair Heath

Military

Transferred 467th BG

Service

People

  • Donald Prytulak

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 467th Bomb Group
    Don and his crew were among the first crews to arrive at Alamogordo. Many of the new crews had been disbanded to form other new crews or were taken over by a senior pilot. Apparently, the command staff liked what they saw in Don as his crew remained...

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Units served with

  • 467th Bomb Group

    467th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 467th Bomb Group, or the "Rackheath Aggies" as they came to be known, flew B-24 Liberators on missions from April 1944. Its air crews became known for their accuracy and the Group had the best overall standing for accuracy within the Eighth Air...

  • 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    Group
    The 492nd Bomb Group were assigned to the 8th Air Force in April 1944. They flew 60 missions over occupied Europe from 11 May 1944 until 7 August 1944. ...

  • 788th Bomb Squadron

    788th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    During early May 1944, General Peck, Commanding general of the 96th CBW, invited Colonel Shower, CO of the 467th BG, Colonel Isbell, CO of the 458th BG, and Colonel Pierce, CO of the 466th BG, to wing HQ at Horsham St. Faith. They were told that one of...

  • 859th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Associated Place

  • North Pickenham

    Military site : airfield
    Built comparatively late during 1943-44 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, North Pickenham was rather cramped as an airfield site so the main runway was shorter than typical. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2...

  • Rackheath

    Military site : airfield
    First allocated to the Eighth Air Force as a bomber base in August 1942, Rackheath was then earmarked as a fighter base but, because of delay in construction, was never used as such. Built during 1943, the station had three concrete runways, 50 loop...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Merrill, Wisconsin 4 March 1923
25th Combat Mission Bremen, Germany 29 July 194

Target was an oil refinery. Bombed from 26,000 ft. Bomb load was 4 - 500 inc. and 16 - 250 G.P.
Boy, we finally got this mission in. Been briefed four times straight now and scruffed, but not today. Rode the Martin today. Boy, they sure had plenty of flak today. Good thing we had a heavy undercast. Had about 240 guns there. Didn't see any planes go down but two collided over England though. Only five more to go now and really sweating it out too. Just about cracked up on landing too.

Enlisted Milwaukee, Wisconsin 5 January 1943
492nd BG Combat Tour North Pickenham Airfield, UK 11 May 1944 – 6 August 1944

28 combat missions

1st Combat Mission Mulhouse, France 11 May 1944

Target was a railroad yard. Bombed from 22,000 ft. Bomb load was 6 - 1000 lb. bombs.
We hit the coast of France at about 20,000 and that's where we ran into the first flak. It was light stuff but damn accurate and I was really scared once. We got two flak holes but didn't know it till we landed. We had P38, 47, and 51 fighter escort all the way. Didn't see any enemy fighters. No flak over the target, but the other group hit it. Flight lasted for eight hours or so. Was glad to land too.

3rd Combat Mission Siracourt, France 21 May 1944

Target was a No Ball. Bombed from 21,000 ft. Bomb load was 8 - 1000 lb. bombs.
This raid was short and sweet. We started our bomb run out over the channel at about 21,000 ft. I threw chaff out from the time the bomb bay doors were opened till we hit the coast again. It was cloudy and used a PFF (Pathfinder) ship. Bombed two ships trenched but don't know if we hit the target. No flak and no enemy fighters. Really a good trip. Flight was about six hours long. P-47 escort all the way. Hope I have 27 more just like this one. Had coffee and sandwiches when we landed.

4th Combat Mission Avord, France 23 May 1944

Target was an air field. Bombed from 18,000 ft. Bomb load was 52 incineraries.
This was a hot flight. We only flew at 18,000 ft. No flak till we got by Paris, and then we were in it for at least 45 minutes. Was heavy and accurate stuff. No kids shooting those guns. We were off course about 12 miles. That flak sure scared me. I really threw out the chaff too. Had a tooth go bad on me. We just about missed the target and didn't do much damage. Other groups hit it though. Flight lasted about nine hours. Hit some flak coming out, but not much. P-47 and P-51 escort. Only 26 more to go.

11th Combat Mission Angers, France 8 June 1944

arget was a rail and road junction. Bombed from 18,000 ft. Bomb load was 12 - 500 lb. bombs, demo.
This was really some mission. We took off without a radio man because he was sick. Rendezvous point was changed after take off and we didn't know that. I think someone got chewed out for that. Couldn't find the formation and joined up with a 17 outfit, but left shortly. We flew around all by ourselves. No fighters or flak thank heavens. We finally found a railroad with a train on it and chased that. Williams, the bombardier, used the gunsight in the nose turret to aim the bombs. Missed the train but hit the truck and a road. Bottled one train in the railroad yard. What a time that was. Robb and I wanted to go down and strafe the train, but we didn't. Only 19 more.

15th Combat Mission Politz, Germany 20 June 1944

arget was an oil refinery. Bombed from 23,000 ft. Bomb load was 12 - 500 G.P. bombs.
This was the second time over this target for us. We just crossed Denmark when ME 210 and 410's hit us. The squadron behind us really got hit bad. Rode the Martin turret so didn't get a chance to do any shooting. We only had nine men today and Robb was holding down the waist. Mohney was sick and in the hospital. We had a lot of heavy and accurate flak over the target too. They sure know how to shoot those guns. We really destroyed the target today. When we landed we found out our group had lost 14 ships in that raid. All but one ship in the squadron was lost. Two planes made it to Sweden, the lucky guys. Sure lost a lot of pals today. Those 410's are sure a sweet looking ship, but I don't want anything to do with them. Had a flak hole right along side my turret today. Didn't have my flak suit on so I was really lucky. After this raid I think I can take anything yet to come.

19th Combat Mission Munich, Germany 11 July 1944

Target was center of town. Bomb load was 5 - 1000 lb. bombs. Bombed from 23,300 ft.
Well, we hit the big M today. This is the third time we've been briefed on this and finally had to go. Dreaded it too but got back all right and that's all that matters. We had a long tedious trip today. Had a good escort all the way, and was I glad too. Had a dense undercast all the way and was glad too. Saw flak a couple of times before we hit the target, but it wasn't close. There was plenty of it over the target though and I don't mean maybe. It was more or less a block barrage though. We bombed PFF (Pathfinder) and in the center of town. Really must have did a lot of damage. Rode the Martin today. Had a new Co-Pilot too and he sure was scared. Couldn't blame him either. The trip back was really long. Hit the channel and checked the gas and thought we'd have to ditch. We threw out everything we could. Flak suits, radio, flares, guns, ammo, and everything. That was fun. We hit the coast and landed at the first base and refueled. That trip took us 8½ hours. About 6½ to 7 hours on oxygen and that isn't good. Lost two planes today. Only 11 more to go.

467th BG Combat Tour Rackheath Airfield, UK 14 August 1944 – 16 August 1944

3 combat missions

Died Merrill, Wisconsin 25 July 2007
Buried Merrill, Wisconsin 28 July 2007

Merrill Memorial Park
Merrill, Lincoln County, Wisconsin, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 April 2019 00:18:26 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, nickname, role, events, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=3693&h=80227902...
https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60525&h=1505619...
http://www.ww2enlistment.org/index.php?page=directory&rec=6281051
http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/stories/HeathWarDiary/index.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:07:48 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roster supplied by Dave Arnett

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