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Raymond Helminiak


Raymond Helminiak served as a pilot with the 563rd Bomb Squadron of the 388th Bomb Group, flying missions out of Knettishall, England. He was Wounded in Action (WIA) in February 1945 when, after flying his shell-damaged aircraft back to the UK, it crash landed. His injuries grounded Helminiak for the rest of the war.

He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1972 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Helminiak was one of the founding members of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and its first financial contributor. He was also a writer for many publications including the Milwaukee Journal, the Milwaukee Sentinel, Wisconsin Trails Magazine, Exclusively Yours Magazine.

In 1951, he had married Marilyn Moevs. They were together for 66 years, until Raymond's death in September 2017.

Read Ray's full obituary here:


Units served with

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 563rd Bomb Squadron


  • 42-97528 Mary's Sister

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 13/12/43; Kearney 30/12/43; Grenier 29/1/44; Assigned 563BS/388BG Knettishall 9/2/44; battle damaged Frankfurt 5/1/45 with Jim Ruether, Co-pilot: Ray Helminiak, Radio Operator: Ray Ward (3 RTD – all WIA); Navigator: H.W. Swanson,...

Associated Place

  • Knettishall

    Military site : airfield
    Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...


Event Location Date
Born Milwaukee, WI, USA 21 January 1925
Died Mequon, WI, USA 9 September 2017


Date Contributor Update
10 June 2021 19:48:28 jmoore43 Changes to aircraft associations

Added an association to the A/C #42-97528 and to the pilot listed in the A/C description section.

Date Contributor Update
10 June 2021 19:37:59 jmoore43 Changes to highest rank

Updated Highest Rank per Find-a-grave Memorial ID 183322697.

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2018 18:10:14 Lucy May Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:01 AAM AAM ingest

Combat Chronology / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia