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42-3064

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 5/2/43; Assigned 353BS/301BG Morrison 25/3/43; transferred 100BG Thorpe Abbotts /43; 358BS/303BG [VK-O] Molesworth 13/7/43; battle damaged Bremen 26/11/43 with Bill Fort wia-frostbite, Co-pilot: McDonald Riddick, Bombardier: Chas Spencer wia-frostbite, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Grover Mullins, Radio Operator: Jim Supple, Ball turret gunner: Howard Zeitner, Waist gunner: Jim Pleasant, Waist gunner: John Viszneki, Tail gunner: Bernie Sutton (9 Returned to Duty); Navigator: Harry Rocketto (Killed in Action); Returned to the USA Scott 15/4/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Albuquerque 27/7/45. STARDUST.

Service

Units

  • 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. ...

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 358th Bomb Squadron

People

  • William Fort

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Flew on B-17 #42-3064 'Star Dust'. 303rd BG lists him wounded 11/26/43. On that date a 20 mm shell killed the Bombardier Rocketto.

  • Grover Mullins

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 11 January 1944 in B-17 #41-24562 'Sky Wolf', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • James Pleasant

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 11 January 1944 in B-17 #41-24562 'Sky Wolf', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • McDonald Riddick

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 11 January 1944 in B-17 #41-24562 'Sky Wolf', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Harold Rocketto

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator; Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) on B-17 #42-6064 'Star Dust' piloted by Lt. William C. Fort. On his first mission, he was killed instantly when hit by a 20mm shell.

  • Richard Scharch

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner/Radioman | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 358BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 26 x combat missions. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Charles Spencer

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    While serving as bombardier, on 26 November, 1943, a 20mm shell exploded in the nose, killed the navigator, seriously injured Lt. Spencer, and destroyed the plexiglass nose. The flight engineer removed Lt. Spencer to a position of safety, but Lt....

  • John Viszneki

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 11 January 1944 in B-17 #41-24562 'Sky Wolf', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Howard Zeitner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 11 January 1944 in B-17 #41-24562 'Sky Wolf', Killed in Action (KIA).

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 75

    24 July 1943
    Three targets in Norway are the primary targets for this first mission flown by 8th AIr Force to Norway. They are the nitrate works at Heroya and the port areas at Trondheim and Bergen. The first element is a combined force of 180 B-17s from: 91BG (22)...

  • VIII Bomber Command 82

    15 August 1943
    German airfields in Holland and France are the targets for this mission. All of the attacks were made late in the afternoon just prior to sunset. The mission is composed of two elements. The first element is a combined force of 180 B-17s from: 91BG (20...

  • VIII Bomber Command 83

    16 August 1943
    This mission consists of two elements of B-17s despatched to bomb the German airfields of Le Bourget (Paris), Poix and Abbeville, France. The first element is a combined force of 180 B-17s from: 91BG (21); 92BG (17); 303BG (20); 305BG (20); 306BG (20);...

  • VIII Bomber Command 84

    17 August 1943
    The mission flown on 17-Aug-43, the 1st anniversary of the 1st mission flown by the 8th Air Force, is probably the most written about mission of the war. This is the famous Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission on which 60 B-17s are lost. It has been dubbed ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 87

    27 August 1943
    This mission is the first attack by the USAAF on suspected V-Weapon sites. The German development of pilotless winged aircraft was first divulged to the British just shortly after the beginning of World War II in two letters sent to the British embassy...

  • VIII Bomber Command 90

    3 September 1943
    German airfields in France and the Caudron-Renault works at Paris are the targets for this mission. The mission is composed of three elements. The first element is a combined force of 168 B-17s from: 91BG (14); 351BG (19); 381BG (22); 92BG (19); 305BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 92

    7 September 1943
    Two German airfields, one at Brussels, Begium and the other at Bergen, Holland, and the V-Weapons sites around Watten, France are the primary targets for this mission. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 94 OPERATION STARKEY

    9 September 1943
    This mission has been named OPERATION STARKEY. It is planned as a coordinated attack of multiple bomber elements upon multiple targets and incorporates fighter escort as a rehearsal of what may be required to support an invasion of the Continent. It is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 97

    16 September 1943
    This mission is composed of two elements: Bomb Groups from 1st Bomb Division and Bomb groups from 3rd Bomb Division. The first element is a combined force of 147 B-17s from: 91BG (18); 303BG (19); 305BG (16); 351BG (19); 379BG (19); 381BG (20); and...

  • VIII Bomber Command 104

    27 September 1943
    The industrial areas of Emden, Germany are the targets for this two-element mission. The first element is a combined force of 141 B-17s despatched from 3rd Bomb Division and include the 94BG (19); 95BG (22); 96BG (21); 100BG (20); 385BG (18); 399BG (20...

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Places

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

  • Thorpe Abbotts

    Military site : airfield
    Home of the 'Bloody Hundredth’, a Bomb Group with a reputation for high casualty rates, Thorpe Abbotts was under USAAF control from June 1943 to the end of the war. Some of the airfield survives today, and the control tower houses the 100th Bomb Group...

Events

Event Location Date
Sustained battle damage Bremen, Germany 26 November 1943

Sustained heavy damage to engines and communications gear, and had the front plexiglass nose blown out, resulting in one KIA, two WIA (one, the navigator, severely), and over half the crew treated for varying cases of frostbite.

Manufactured Base Air Depot (BAD) 1 5 April 1944

Transferred to BAD1

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 October 2020 17:20:56 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

Corrected the spelling of the surname "Rocketto".

Date Contributor Update
21 October 2020 17:09:43 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

Added a space before the words "Tail gunner" in the A/C “Description” to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
11 May 2020 20:32:04 CastleBren Changes to markings
Sources

303rd Bomb Group records

Date Contributor Update
11 May 2020 20:31:17 CastleBren Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, events, unit associations, person associations and mission associations
Sources

303rd Bomb Group records

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:31 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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