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James C Hussong


Assigned to 714BS, 448BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 30-Dec-43 in B-24 #41-28599. Evaded capture (EVD). Returned to Duty (RTD).

Awards: PH, WWII Victory, EAME.

The Morning Herald from Hagerstown, Maryland · Page 9 · April 20, 1944

"The most thrilling part of it all," says Sgt. James C. Hussong, local airmail who turned up in England in February after his plane failed to return from its December 30th mission, "were the moments when I was hanging upside down out of the rear escape hatch of my plane, my-foot caught in the door, my body swinging up against the underside of the ship and nothing but several thousand feet of space between me and the ground."
"We took off early in the morning," Jim said, recalling the fatal fourth flight of the Liberator bomber of which he was tail gunner. "Making our formation over the southern North Sea, we climbed to the coast of France, proceeded to Germany, and dropped our bombs on the designated targets. "Returning off our targets and starting out for home on the prescribed course, we met some heavy fighter attacks over the French-German border. Our ship was knocked out of formation when a shell hit one engine. We were unable to climb and stay with the formation, so we descended to medium altitude. There we were met by at least ten Fw190's, members of Hitler's famous 'Abbeville Kids / reputed to be his best fighters. "We carried on a 30 minute battle, diving for clouds all the time. But one of the fighters had put shells into another of our engines, and the pilot signalled the crew to bail out, diving into a cloud for our benefit. "Just as prescribed in training we started to bail out. I was the last to leave the rear of the ship but caught my foot in the escape hatch door and had some bad minutes before I pushed myself free of the plane, after seeing two of my crew members bail out of the nose." This was Jim's second experience with a parachute. The berth to which his 'chute carried him turned out to be the top of a large tree in a dense woods. It wasn't until the youngster had freed himself from his 'chute run away from the spot where he'd landed (German aerial spotters he explained, watched for abandoned chutes), and buried some of his flying equipment, that he noticed one of his feet was injured. "Funny," he says with a grin, "but it must have happened during the battle up there, and I was too excited to notice it. "I removed the bullet and treated the wound with my first aid kit. Finding a small timber" path, I followed it until I sighted a group of men near a farmhouse, and judged by their speech that I was in France. When one walked away from the group I approached him, identified myself as an American airman, and was ordered to follow him. "When I arrived at the farmhouse I found two other members of my bomber's crew; one of them was wounded in the shoulder and both had injured their legs when they fell, unlike myself, on hard ground." For the next several weeks Jim and his buddies were initiated into the intricacies of the French Underground, which he maintains "even the Germans fear." After they had received medical attention the boys were moved from the area. At their new refuge they met three other members of their crew. In two weeks, Jim's wound was healed, he was given civilian clothing and false identification papers, and together with a French guide he set out for Spain. From Spain via Gibraltar to England.


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. ...

  • 448th Bomb Group

    448th Bomb Group

    The 448th Bombardment Group was organized on 6 April 1943 and activated on 1 May 1943 at Gowen Field, near Boise, Idaho. The initial training of the air crews took place in Florida. The entire group was assembled Wendover Field, Utah. Both air and...

  • 714th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-28599

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 714BS, 448BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Ludwigshaven shot down 30-Dec-43, 6 x crew baled out, pilot, copilot, radio operator and engineer remained with A/C, with only the engineer surviving the crash. 7 x POW, 3 x KIA....

Associated Place

  • Seething

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1942-43 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, Seething had three concrete runways, 51 hardstandings of both loop and 'frying-pan’ types, and two T2 hangars, one on each side of the airfield. It was home to the 448th Bomb Group, equipped with...


Event Location Date
Lived in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA 1941
Based Seething 1943 – 30 December 1943

Assigned to 714BS, 448BG, 8AF USAAF.

Enlisted Maryland, USA 25 January 1943
Evaded capture (EVD). Andorra 30 December 1943 – February 1944

Evaded capture (EVD). With resistance help via Spain to Gibraltar and then the UK.

Shot down Cul-des-Sarts, 5660 Couvin, Belgium 30 December 1943

Shot down 30-Dec-43 in B-24 41-28599. Evaded capture (EVD).

Returned ZI la guardia airport, 38 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001, USA 26 March 1944

Returned stateside.


Date Contributor Update
16 March 2020 17:07:32 jmoore43 Changes to biography

Added a "#" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
08 August 2016 17:41:44 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:14:11 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 4177 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database