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Charles R Esparza


Shot down over France on 21 September 1943 in B-26B 41-31721 'Cactus Jack', 387BG/559BS while serving as Co-Pilot while on a mission to bomb the German airfield of Beauvais/Tille, France. He baled out of the aircraft and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW). Dulag Luft. Stalag Luft III. March to Stalag Luft VIIA until 29 April 1945. Then to Camp Lucky Strike and home.



Units served with

  • 387th Bomb Group

    387th Bomb Group

    The 387th Bomb Group flew just under thirty missions with the Eighth Air Force before being transferred to the Ninth Air Force in October 1943. The Group remained at Chipping Ongar, Essex after being reassigned and continued to hit targets in France....

  • 559th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-31721 Cactus Jack

    B-26 Marauder
    B-26B-20-MA 41-31721 "Cactus Jack" was assigned to the 387BG/559BS at Chipping Onger, UK. The aircraft was despatched on a mission to bomb the German airfield of Beauvais/Tille, France. During the attack the aircraft sustained damage from AA fire and...


  • VIII Air Support Command 65

    21 September 1943
    A combinded formation of 73 B-26s from: 287BG (37) and 322BG (36) are despatched to bomb the German airfield of Beauvais/Tillie, France. 44 aircraft are effective on the target. 1 aircraft Fails to Return (FTR) 5POW 2EVD and 1 aircraft is Damaged...

Associated Place

  • Chipping Ongar

    Military site : airfield
    The air base was constructed by the 831st Engineer Battalion (Aviation) in late August 1942. The 387th Bomb Group were the only American group to be based there, flying B-26 Marauders in strategic missions over France, first for the Eighth and then for...


Event Location Date
Prisoner of War (POW) Moosburg, Germany 21 September 1943 – 29 April 1945

Held at Stalag Luft 3 and then at Stalag 7A. Moosburg, Bavaria. Libertated 29-Apr-45. Returned home 10-Aug-1945.


Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 19:59:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to service number, highest rank, biography, awards, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 26-Jun-2015. Added decoration and POW event per National Archives Records Administrtion (NARA) WWII POW database; Corrected rank, added Place, AIrcraft and Mission per MACR 614; Added crew position and aircraft loss details to Summary Biography based on "Losses of the 8th & 9ht AIr Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:54 AAM AAM ingest

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