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Russell Alger Wilson

Military

In April 1943, Wilson was appointed Wing Executive Officer of the 4th Combat Bomb Wing was commanding officer of the 4th Combat Bomb Wing, based at Elveden Hall. In this capacity by July 1943 he had completed 5 combat missions over occupied Europe.

In September 1943, Wilson assumed command of the 4th Combat Bomb Wing, and had completed another 5 combat missions by October 1943. On 9 October 1943, Wilson was awarded the Silver Star for his leadership on a mission over Marienburg, where he maintained air discipline while his task force of B-17 Flying Fortresses came under attack by enemy fighters.

On 6 March 1944 Wilson was killed in action, while was serving aboard B-17F 42-3491 'Chopstick-G George', the lead pathfinder aircraft for the 3rd Bomb Division during the mission, which was assigned to the 482nd Bomb Group. The aircraft was hit by flak just after bombs away over the target: Klein Machnow, Berlin, and one of the engines caught light. The aircraft fell out of formation before exploding in mid-air. Eyewitnesses reported 5 or 6 parachutes were seen, but only 3 members of the crew survived. Wilson was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1944, for his service as Command Pilot during this mission

Service

People

  • John Crotty

    Military | Captain | Navigator | 482nd Bomb Group
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Killed in Action (KIA). 2 DFC's, Air Medal w 3/Oak Leaf Cluster; ETO Ribbon+3 stars

  • Louis Dentoni

    Military | Captain | Group Bombardier | 385th Bomb Group
    August 17, 1943 - Hospitalized in Africa. #42-30187 'Lulu Belle' B-17 piloted by Preston Piper was hit by flak and shot. Dentoni and navigator Lt. Paul Schultz manned waist guns as tail gunner had been injured. ...

  • Francis Foote

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 482nd Bomb Group
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Edward Friesorger

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 482nd Bomb Group
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Steve Keaton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 482nd Bomb Group
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Kenneth Klotz

    Military | Captain | Navigator, Radio Navigator | 482nd Bomb Group
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Thomas Kon

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator, Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • John Morgan

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 482nd Bomb Group
    John Morgan served as a co-pilot with the 482nd Bomb Group. On 26 July 1943, he flew damaged B-17 #42-29802 back to base after pilot was seriously injured and aircraft was badly damaged. For over 2 hours he flew it one handed because he had to hold the...

  • Alfred Rabo

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Squadron Commander, Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Rabo is best known for nicknaming H2X radar 'Mickey Mouse' ...

  • Walter Regoli

    Military | First Lieutenant | Tail Gunner | 385th Bomb Group
    Shot down by heavy flak just prior to the target of Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944 in B-17F #42-3491 'Chopstick-G George'. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

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Units served with

Aircraft

  • 42-3491 Chopstick-G George

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 11/7/43; Grenier 18/8/43; Assigned 812BS/482BG [MI-G] Alconbury 20/8/43 (H2-X); Missing in Action Berlin 6/3/44 with Maj Fred Rabo, Co-pilot: John Morgan, Ball turret gunner: Bill Westcott, Waist gunner: Steve Keaton (4 Prisoner of War...

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 250

    6 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Berlin and Genshagen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A combined force of 730 heavy bombers are despatched from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. The despatch from 3rd Air Division bombs Targets of Opportunity in...

Associated Place

  • Bury St Edmunds

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was purpose-built for American bomb groups and as such had a 2,000 yard main runway that lain in concrete with a tarred and wood-chipped surface. The scale of bases such as this meant that very often the technical, administrative and...

  • 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 Dixon Springs, Illinois 20 March 1905
Assigned Fort Monmouth, New Jersey 1928 – August 1929

51st Battalion, US Signal Corps

Enlisted US Military Academy, West Point, New York 9 June 1928

Graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree & Commissioned Second Lieutenant

Assigned Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University August 1929 – June 1930

Received Master of Science degree

Assigned Fort Monmouth, New Jersey June 1930 – June 1931

Graduated from Signal School

Primary ground and flying instruction training Brooks Field, Texas, and Randolph Field, Texas June 1931 – May 1932
Advanced Flying School Kelly Field, Texas, March 1932 – June 1932
Based Langley Army Airfield June 1932 – July 1933

Group Communications Officer, 8th Pursuit Group

Based Mitchel Field, New York February 1934 – June 1934

Zone Communications Officer, Eastern Zone, Army Air Corps Mail Operations

Based Langley Army Airfield June 1934 – July 1934

Group Communications Officer, 8th Pursuit Group

Based Langley Army Airfield September 1934 – November 1934

Operations Officer, 8th Pursuit Group

Based Langley Army Airfield November 1934 – March 1935

Wing Communications and Supply Officer, 2nd Bombardment Wing

Based Langley Army Airfield March 1935 – November 1935

8th Pursuit Group

Based Langley Army Airfield November 1935 – March 1936

Flight Commander, 36th Pursuit Squadron

Based Langley Army Airfield March 1936 – August 1936

Squadron Supply Officer and Adjutant of the 36th Pursuit Squadron

Assigned Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama August 1936 – June 1937

Graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School

Studied Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland June 1937 – August 1937

Field Officers' Course, Chemical Warfare School

Based Maxwell Air Force Base August 1937 – September 1937
Based March Field, California September 1937 – July 1938

Squadron Adjutant and Personnel Officer, 32d Bombardment Squadron

Based March Field, California July 1938 – November 1938

Operations and Intelligence Officer, 32d Bombardment Squadron

Based March Field, California November 1938 – July 1940

Commanding Officer, 1st Communications Squadron

Based Langley Army Airfield July 1940 – January 1941

Communications Officer, 41st Reconnaissance Squadron

Based Langley Army Airfield January 1941 – August 1941

Commanding Officer, 13th Reconnaissance Squadron

Based Bolling Field August 1941 – March 1942

Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Air Force

Based Washington DC March 1942 – April 1943

Latin America Section, Operations Division, War Department

Based Elveden Hall April 1943 – September 1943

Wing Executive Officer, 4th Bombardment Wing

Based Farrandsville, Pennsylvania July 1943 – October 1943

Camp executive and Adjutant

Based Bury St Edmunds September 1943 – 6 March 1944

Commanding Officer, 4th Combat Bomb Wing

Based Langley Army Airfield October 1943 – February 1934

Group Communications Officer, 8th Pursuit Group

Missing In action Berlin 6 March 1944
Died 6 March 1944
Officially declared dead 7 August 1945
Buried Marion, Illinois/Rose Hill Cemetery
Buried Rose Hill Cemetery, Marion, Illinois

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2020 14:49:16 Emily Changes to middlename, service number, role, biography, awards, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

Brought together information from duplicate record to include information from MACR 3362 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Removed associations to 482nd Bomb Group and composite squadrons. As per the MACR Wilson was aboard 42-3491 which was pathfinder aircraft assigned to the 482nd Bomb Group in his capacity as Commanding Officer of the 4th Combat Bomb Wing, and was not assigned to this unit.

Official Air Force Biography

Find a Grave

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:46 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3362/ Judy Anderson, niece

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