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Lester Allen Wise

Military

Lester Allen Wise was born June 27, 1922 and grew up on a farm in Midland, Michigan as an only child, son of Carry Addison Wise and Dora Ethel Sellers.

I, (his eldest child), don't know when he decided to be in the Air Force. He always said the Navy had the best food. He completed the academic program for pilots at Davidson College, North Carolina, then went on to flight school at Moody Field in Valdosta, Georgia in the class 44-D, where he met another Michigan kid, Kenneth Gerald Wolf, who became one of his best friends (and my godfather). My father almost got washed out of flight school because he bit his fingernails, but ultimately graduated as a pilot. His wings were pinned on by his best friend's (Kenneth Wolf's) sister, Marie, at the ceremony.

He flew to England via Labrador. He was stationed at Great Ashfield in the 385th Bomb Group, 548th Bomb Squadron, and got his Lucky Bastard certificate for flying 31 missions over Europe. He was at a rest home in Oxford when the war ended.

After World War II, he stayed in the Air Force Reserve, ultimately attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in Intelligence. He went to Michigan State on the GI bill, became a chemical engineer, settled back in Midland, Michigan, working at Dow Chemical.

He had a wife, Frances Irene Schoch, and seven children Virginia, David, Thomas, Ruth, Paul, James and Mary. He died August 4, 1998. He did not like to talk about his war experiences, and I think he was both grateful and mystified that he survived, when so many others did not.

Service

Units served with

  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 548th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-102481 Kentucky Winner

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 7/3/44; Kearney 4/5/44; Grenier 19/4/44; Assigned 550BS/385BG [SG-P] Gt Ashfield 20/4/44; Missing in Action Berlin 18/3/45 with Bill Cocker, Bill Chaney, Harold Morthorst, Bob Crider, Ellis Murray, Vince Figini, Joe Ryan, Harry...

  • 42-102614 Ole-O-Oboe

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 18/3/44; with Hal Walker force landed Gore Fd, Mt 23/3/44; Oklahoma City 7/6/44; Cheyenne 27/7/44; Kearney 10/8/44; Manchester, NH 19/8/44; Assigned 551BS/385BG [HR-H] Gt Ashfield; 119m Returned to the USA Bradley 26/6/45; 4168 Base...

  • 42-31778 Wells Cargo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 13/12/43; Salina 28/12/43; Kearney 4/1/44; Presque Is 24/1/44; Assigned 548BS/385BG [GX-A] Gt Ashfield 2/2/44; Returned to the USA 121 BU Bradley 29/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 26/6/45; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-31833 Mickey II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 28/12/43; Gr Island 18/1/44; Assigned 548BS/385BG [GX-R] Gt Ashfield 19/2/44; Salvaged 12/3/45; Returned to the USA 121 BU Bradley 24/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 28/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for...

  • 43-38736 Maiden America

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 14/9/44; Grenier 27/9/44; Assigned 548BS/385BG [GX-P] Gt Ashfield 1/10/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 24/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 26/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 28...

  • 43-38743

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 16/9/44; Grenier 27/9/44; Assigned 550BS/385BG [SG-C] Gt Ashfield 1/10/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 25/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 27/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 16...

  • 43-39056

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 20/11/44; Grenier 2/12/44; Assigned 549BS/385BG [XA-V] Gt Ashfield 3/12/44; when parked at Horsching, Austria was hit by 44-8320 on 20/5/45; Salvaged n/battle damaged 6/9/45.

  • 44-6521

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 30/8/44; Grenier 15/9/44; Assigned 385BG [ -L] Gt Ashfield 20/9/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 24/6/45; Sth Plains 27/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 28/11/45.

  • 44-6569 Flying Vixen

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 8/9/44; Dow Fd 25/9/44; Assigned 548BS/385BG [GX-G] Gt Ashfield 10/11/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 26/6/45; Sth Plains 28/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 27/11/45.

Missions

  • 748

    12 December 1944

  • 750

    15 December 1944

  • 770

    30 December 1944

  • 778

    3 January 1945

  • 781

    5 January 1945

  • 783

    6 January 1945

  • 799

    18 January 1945

  • 8AF 830

    14 February 1945

  • 857

    1 March 1945

  • 859

    2 March 1945

Show more

Associated Place

  • Great Ashfield

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was built in 1942 by John Laing & Son Ltd. 108,000 tons of concrete was used in its construction, creating a Class 'A' airfield suitable for heavy bombers. The 385th Bomb Group took up residence in the summer of 1943, and remained at the...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Midland, MI, USA 27 June 1922
Died Torch Lake, Michigan, USA 4 August 1998
Lived in Midland, MI, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 November 2017 05:06:03 Virginiawise50 Changes to service number
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
04 July 2017 04:23:27 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
04 July 2017 04:21:24 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
04 July 2017 04:18:12 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
04 July 2017 04:15:36 Virginiawise50 Changes to service number
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
02 July 2017 21:47:36 Virginiawise50 Changes to events
Sources

Virginia a Wise, eldest daughter of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
02 July 2017 18:17:24 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise--personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
02 July 2017 05:00:40 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest daughter--personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
02 July 2017 04:27:47 Virginiawise50 Changes to service number
Sources

Ruth Wise Bates, fourth oldest child of Lester Allen Wise, information from separation document.

Date Contributor Update
02 July 2017 02:23:32 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest child of Lester Allen Wise--personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2017 16:14:17 Virginiawise50 Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest daughter of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2017 16:12:29 Virginiawise50 Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest daughter of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2017 15:29:22 Virginiawise50 Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest daughter of Lester Allen Wise

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2017 14:55:48 Virginiawise50 Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest daughter of Lester Allen Wise.

Date Contributor Update
29 May 2017 02:02:59 Virginiawise50 Changes to events
Sources

Virginia Wise, eldest Daughter

Date Contributor Update
29 May 2017 02:01:39 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Eldest daughter, Virginia Wise

Date Contributor Update
07 April 2017 15:35:44 Lucy May Changes to biography and events
Sources

Added a couple of pins to map, using information added to Wise's record by his daughter.

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:33:14 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise (eldest daughter), personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:31:59 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise (eldest daughter), personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:24:38 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise ( eldest daughter), personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:22:17 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise (eldest daughter), personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:18:16 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise (eldest daughter), personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:16:18 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Virginia Wise (eldest daughter), personal recollection

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 13:13:27 Virginiawise50 Changes to biography
Sources

Personal knowledge

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 11:30:00 Virginiawise50 Changes to place associations
Sources

Personal knowledg

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 11:29:07 Virginiawise50 Changes to unit associations
Sources

Personal knowledge

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2017 10:46:59 Virginiawise50 Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, highest rank and role
Sources

Personal acquaintance (father)

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