John Patrick was my father. He was born April 14, 1921 in Belmont County, Ohio and was raised in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He talked about being at the Cleveland Air Show in 1939 (Labor Day weekend) and heard the news that Poland has been invaded. He enlisted the first chance he got that September. Being red/green color blind, he could not be a pilot as he often dreamed. Coming from a mechanical minded family, he was suited to aircraft maintenance. He was eventually assigned to the 97th Bomb Group and became Crew Chief for My Gal Sal.
B-17E-BO AC#41-9032 piloted by Ralph Stinson, 'My Gal Sal' crash-landed along the coast of Greenland 27 June, 1942. All crew were rescued uninjured and plane was salvaged.
My brother and I grew up hearing the stories from the Greenland Ice Cap. He did not talk much about the rest of the war in England, North Africa and Italy. While he never was in a combat situation, he worked to keep the planes flying and cheered when they came back home and cried when they did not return. When he passed away in March of 2011, he was the last surviving crew member of My Gal Sal.
Units served with
The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Assigned 414BS/97BG Presque Is; from Goose Bay, force landed Bluie West One, Greenland en route UK 26/6/42, with 2Lt.Ralph H.Stinson, Co-pilot: 2Lt. Wilson N. McGough, Lt Kenneth Bright, TSgt John R. Patrick, Radio Operator: SSgt Tomas K. Laskowski,...