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Lt. Robert A Adams- B17 Pilot, 780 BS 452 BG 8 AF

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Today I have a great uniform pretty much straight from the woodwork. It came from the gentleman’s son to a fellow forum member, and now to me, who was able to finally research the history of the veteran’s service.

 

Lieutenant Robert Alexander Adams, born 1918 in Philadelphia, PA, enlisted in February of 1943 where he was soon assigned to train as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. Following his training Lt. Adams was assigned to the 780th Bombardment Squadron of the 452nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. Arriving in the ETO on August 17th, 1944, Adams would become a Chief Pilot for (primarily) Crew 37c of the 780th. He flew his first mission over Weisbaden on September 19th, 1944 in B17-G 42-97977 “Rose-Etta.” Over the course of the next seven months Adams would fly 26 combat missions as a primary pilot over German soil from support strikes during the bulge to raids on Berlin itself. He did not stick to any one plane in particular but flew several, most of which I have been able to find photographs or depictions of.

 

One of his most dangerous missions was a raid on the Leuna synthetic fuel refinery in Merseburg, Germany. It was one of the largest raids he participated in featuring over 1,200 allied aircraft flying through 1,700 flak guns while being attacked by a record 700+ Luftwaffe fighters, including the new ME-262s. The raid was described as 50 minutes of continuous “heavy” and “intense” flak fire, forming a “black box” in the sky that lead them the entire way to the target. 38 B17s were lost as well as 28 fighters. Over 480 bombers were damaged. On this mission Adams flew B17-G 42-39972 “Our Buddy.”

 

After his 26th mission over Tachau/Sonneberg on Valentine’s day, 1945, Adams had met his quota and was put off of the flight roster. He arrived in the states in June of 1945 where he was discharged and returned home.

 

 

 

I am very happy to now be the caretaker of Lieutenant Adams uniform. As mentioned above I was able to find a lot on his service including a list of every mission he flew and the planes he flew on them. Featured below are my display card and flight record book I have created showcasing his missions and the planes he flew. I have posted some selections from his service below.

 

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Info card I have created

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A flight service booklet I created

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Some of the planes he flew

 

“Rose-Etta” was the first plane he flew in combat

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Many 780th pilots flew “E-Rat-Icator” over the course of its 120 mission career. It was the only cadre plane to survive the war, and on top of that, was never downed due to damage and never shot down.

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Two planes in the 452nd were named “Miasis Dragon.” Adam’s flew both.

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“Our Buddy” is the plane Adams flew on the Merseburg mission

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One of the last planes he flew, “Frivolous Sal”

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Oh and almost forgot, a first person photo of the first flak on the Merseburg mission. According to reports it only got worse and kept up for nearly an hour.

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Wonderful group & history. Congrats!


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Love the 452nd... same squadron as my favorite 8th AF fellow!


Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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Outstanding. One comment though. The silver oak leaf on the Air Medal represents six awards of that decoration, not five.

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Outstanding. One comment though. The silver oak leaf on the Air Medal represents six awards of that decoration, not five.

Thank you everyone for the comments! I am extremely excited to preserve his service history as part of a new mobile display I am attempting to create about US bombers of the war. I currently only need something (particularly a uniform) from a B29 crewman to have one from each of the four major bombers (B25, B24, B17, B29).

 

I also appreciate the tip, I tend to forget some of the smaller details and mix up the award of campaign stars vs valor/service medals.


GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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Have been doing some research on my uniforms while in quarantine, found a neat article that shines a little light on his service. Looks like over his 3 years of service he flew 280 combat hours and many “close calls.” His closest, the one mentioned in the article, recalls the largest single joint-operation of the 8th AF where all available ships were launched to support the US forces in the Bulge. He, flying B17 43-38358 “Slightly Dangerous,” and the rest of his squadron were sent to Bomb the German airfield at Darmstadt-Griesheim, a home for German fighters. The mission was successful but the flak was heavy, apparently his plane was a focused target and before long a 6x6 foot hole was torn out of his left wing, fragmentation peppered the hull, and several of his crewmen were hurt. A testament to the B17 and his flying ability, Adams managed to make it home and continue on.

 

I also found that after the war he became a volunteer emergency pilot and was the one who spotted the crash which killed Pennsylvania Governor Earl Snell.

 

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR ACW Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID WWI WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co. WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID WWII WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70 WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div Vietnam

 

Contact me with IDd WWII 36th Division, SSI Navy, Aviation, or Kentucky veteran uniforms.

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I've seen this before on your Instagram, but I'm glad this got bumped up for me to see again! Great story and awesome uniform


Yours Truly,

 

Nic Talley

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