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Charles Fred Gowder

Military

2LT Charles F. Gowder, 384TH Bombardment Group, 546 Bombardment Squadron was awarded The Distinguished Service Cross for heroism on 24 April 1944.
Wounded himself, he landed away at RAF Manston, Kent on return from a mission to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany due to crew casualties and battle damage. This aircraft had two killed and four wounded aboard.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS. CHARLES F. GOWDER, O-754335, Second Lieutenant, Army Air Forces, United States Army. For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy, 24 April 1944. On this date, Lieutenant Gowder was serving as pilot of a heavy bomber on a mission against military installations in Germany. As a result of repeated attacks by large numbers of enemy fighters before and during the bombing run, Lieutenant Gowder was wounded, the navigator was killed, the bombardier was wounded, and the airplane sustained heavy damage. In spite of his wounds and the difficulty of flying the damaged airplane, Lieutenant Gowder, displaying great courage and determination to bomb the target, continued in formation, directing the actions of his remaining crew members, and released the bomb load on the target by means of the emergency release. After leaving the target area he was forced by a lack of oxygen to fly at a low altitude. Despite further enemy fighter attacks, Lieutenant Gowder was finally able to reach a friendly base. The extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Gowder upon this occasion reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States. Entered military service from California.

Citation Source: 'As Briefed...'

Service

People

  • Francis Barnes

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 384th Bomb Group
    Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 546th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #56 dated 24 March 1944, Charles F. Gowder Crew. 32 combat missions.

  • George Beaugh

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 546th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #56 dated 24 March 1944, Charles F. Gowder Crew. 31 combat missions.

  • James Brooks

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 384th Bomb Group
    Wounded in B-17G #42-107058 on a mission to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, 24 April 1944.

  • Vincent Fazio

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 384th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in B-17G #42-107058 on a mission to Oberfaffenhofen, Germany.

  • Robert Higgins

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) in B-17G #42-107058 'White Angel' 24 April 1944, Mission #315 to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.

  • Richard Leber

    Military | 384th Bomb Group
    Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 546th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #56 dated 24 March 1944, Charles F. Gowder Crew. 31 combat missions.

  • Salvatore Sacco

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Wounded on B-17G #42-107058, 24 April 1944, Mission #315.

  • Willard Thompson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 384th Bomb Group
    Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 546th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #56 dated 24 March 1944, Charles F. Gowder Crew. 32 combat missions.

  • James Williamson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
    Staff Sergeant James E. Williamson was awarded the Silver Star for heroism on a mission to Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany on 24 April 1944.

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Units served with

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

  • 546th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-107058 White Angel

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 8/2/44; Gr Island 19/2/44; Grenier 29/2/44; force landed Gr Island with Rich Buttorff 8/3/44; Assigned 545BS/384BG [JD- ] Grafton Underwood 24/4/44; 546BS [BK-C]; detailed Hannover 5/8/44 with Frank Mead, Co-pilot: Tom Daniel, Navigator...

Missions

  • 315

    24 April 1944

Associated Place

  • Grafton Underwood

    Military site : airfield
    Grafton Underwood was built in 1941 by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd. It was the first airfield in England to receive an Eighth Air Force flying unit, when in May 1942 personnel of the 15th Bomb Squadron took up residence. As a satellite airfield for...

  • Manston

    Military site : airfield
    Built for Royal Naval Air Service use in the First World War, it was both an RAF and Fleet Air Arm base from 1918-50, and after the war a USAF Strategic Air Command base from 1950-51, a United States Air Forces Europe base from 1950-58, an RAF station...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Macomb, Oklahoma 26 February 1916
Enlisted Oklahoma City, OK, USA 22 December 1941

Residence: Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma
Private, Air Corps

Assigned 24 March 1944

Assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 546th Bomb Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #56 dated 24 March 1944, as crew pilot. 31 combat missions.

Died 20 January 1992

Burial:
Resthaven Memorial Park
Shawnee
Pottawatomie County
Oklahoma, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
25 June 2017 22:39:17 bombercommand Changes to media associations
Sources

http://384thbombgroup.com/_content/_pages/person.php?PersonKey=4528

Date Contributor Update
25 June 2017 22:36:30 bombercommand Changes to service number and biography
Sources

http://384thbombgroup.com/_content/_pages/person.php?PersonKey=4528

Date Contributor Update
05 July 2015 17:16:31 bombercommand Changes to middlename, biography, awards, events, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

http://384thbombgroup.com/_content/_pages/person.php?PersonKey=4528

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=gowder&GSfn=charle...

http://aad.archives.gov/aad/record-detail.jsp?dt=893&mtch=1&cat=WR26&tf=...

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:38 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Whos Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45, http://384thbombgroup.com/_content/_pages/PersonnelSearch.php?LastName=g...

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