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Help with Info on KIA Medal Grouping for a Robert L. Zahn


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I just acquired a KIA Medal Grouping for a Robert L. Zahn he served as His PH is engraved with Robert L. Zahn and his Air Medal w/OLC SGT Robert L. Zahn AC. Records at NARA show him as a SSG Robert L Zahn who is listed a KIA on or about 16 April 1944. Orders for both Air Medals are listed as Robert Zahn Sgt GO #224 04/16/1944.

 

On http://www.301bg.com/419th_Bomb_Squadron.cfm he is listed as a Gunner on a B17 and a member of the 419th Squadron, 301 Bomb Group, 15th Air Force since 11 Jan 1944 and according to the web sites he was awarded the Air Medal with OLC Posthumously which back up the OLC on his AM and the Distinguished Unit Citation for units action on 25 February 1944. February 25, 1944: The final day of Operation "Argument", more widely known as BIG WEEK.

 

Any information on the aircraft he was assigned to, missions flown, manner of his death and photos of him and the members of the crew he served on will be greatly appreciated. Also would the GO's for his Air Medals be issued at Air Force, Bomber Group or Squadron level?

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John,

Look to Maxwell Air Force Base for a copy of the GO.

Have you looked for a MACR yet? That will answer the airplane and crew question.

When you have other information like his, hometown, parents names, almost anything else,

let me know and I'll work with you from there.

 

I found all of the same information on a set like yours within three weeks.

I'll be happy to help you.

 

JS

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/301020-robin-ray/

 

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John - Very nice medal pair! I really like it. Air Medal GO's were created above the group level at the Air Division (Sometimes called Bomb Division) level. Writing to St. Louis for his award card would ascertain his Sqdn/Group and list the GO's for both of his Air Medals which, as Robin said, you can write a request to Maxwell for a copy. Have had mixed luck with Maxwell - Got a bunch of GOs for free however there were quite a few that they did not have on file, which was disturbing because if they do not have them, and the National Archives claim Maxwell has all Air Force related holdings... where are they? Good luck on your search and let me know if I can be of any help.

 

Kyle

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John,

Look to Maxwell Air Force Base for a copy of the GO.

Have you looked for a MACR yet? That will answer the airplane and crew question.

JS

There is a MACR with his name listed.

I don't have a subscription to open and read it.

Perhaps a member with access to a site will pull it for you.

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/301020-robin-ray/

 

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Hi JS,

I have been looking up MACR at the web site I listed above and a couple other sites but no JOY. Thank you and Kyle for the information that you have provide me and I will let you know if I find anything else. I figured I would query the forum first due to my lack of luck in getting anything worthwhile out of St Louis yet. Not pointing fingers just the deal about the big fire of 73 seems to be their first reply on anything I have asked for in the past. Again.

Thank you and Kyle both.

Regards,

John

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I cannot believe that I forgot to provided the below listed information

 

Service number is 15335692

Home Town Marion County, IN

Year of Birth 1924

Entered Service at FT Benjamin Harrison Indiana

Service Entry Date 16 November 1942

 

Thanks JS for the prompting.

Regards

 

John

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John,

 

I have a data base for MACR's and could not find his name. Not to say there isn't one, but I couldn't find him on there. I would say there is a good chance your guy was killed in action, but his plane made it back to base. I have a PH/AM grouping named to a KIA gunner and could not find a MACR for him. I finally tracked down a document showing that his plane landed at a hospital in Bari with the annotation of "wounded", which was crossed out, then written "dead man". The "dead man" turned out to be my guy. Nice group by the way. Nic.

"Sometimes the bravest meet death with their deeds known only to heaven." --S.L.A. Marshall

 

 

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John,

 

...... I have a PH/AM grouping named to a KIA gunner and could not find a MACR for him. I finally tracked down a document showing that his plane landed at a hospital in Bari with the annotation of "wounded", which was crossed out, then written "dead man". The "dead man" turned out to be my guy. Nice group by the way. Nic.

 

John,

That's exactly what happened to the last guy I researched.

 

Plane was shot-up, emergency landing at home field, gunner

pull from plane and died on tarmac next to aircraft.

 

Although, I did find a site that lists Zahn.

Maybe Nic can help you out there?

 

http://www.accident-report.com/crews/alpha/namez.html

 

JS

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/301020-robin-ray/

 

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JS,

Thanks for the information. I went to the site and filled out a request for a search. It seems like a pretty good site they will check on data and let you know what they have and what it would cost to receive a copy, so no loss if they do not find anything. Again Thanks and I will keep all in the loop as I learn more.

Regards,

John

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Although, I did find a site that lists Zahn.

Maybe Nic can help you out there?

 

http://www.accident-report.com/crews/alpha/namez.html

 

JS

 

It is my understanding that the above site lists both overseas and stateside accidents. He could of been involved in a crash during stateside training, hence his name being on the list. I couldn't find any MACR with his name attached to it. Like I said earlier, not that there isn't one out there, I just couldn't pull it up. The database I use is pretty much on point, which leads me to believe that he was killed (flak/bullet wound) on a plane that returned to base safely or possiblly killed during the actual crash landing of a damaged plane at his base. Researching my AM/PH pair wasn't easy, but I got a great sense of accomplishment when I finally learned "the rest of the story."

"Sometimes the bravest meet death with their deeds known only to heaven." --S.L.A. Marshall

 

 

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Hi Nic,

I want to thank you and Jack-Son again for all the information you have provided me. I will keep y'all updated as I get information back on the recipient of the medal Group I own.

Regards,

John

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......... Researching my AM/PH pair wasn't easy, but I got a great sense of accomplishment when I finally learned "the rest of the story."

 

To follow up, I dug around as Nic did. I found my answer wading through web sites until I hit

on an 8th Air Force page and found a historian who had unit records.

That was my key to learning what happened to the guy.

 

John, you may want to check around for a 15th Air Force site, maybe you will get lucky.

As Nic has explained, if the plane doesn't go down, there's no report.

While you're waiting on your MACR information, check the web.

Today I should hear back from Maxwell.

**PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY**

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/301020-robin-ray/

 

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Hi Guys here is the reply I received from the Mike Stowe at Accident-Report.Com, Bottom Line he is a real decent guy and I will do business with him any time. Very Helpful and provides good advice.

I will give y'all and update when I get a reply back on the IDPF FOIA request.

Regards

John

From: accireport@comcast.net

Date: Thursday, July 1, 2010 11:31

Subject: Re: REPORT INQUIRY FORM (Robert L Zahn)

To: john.schuler@us.army.mil

 

 

> John,

>

> We actually have what I believe to be a different man with the same

> name on our website. Corporal Robert L Zahn, 13133605, was a

> member of the 5th Air Force in the Pacific area. He was a gunner

> on a B-24 that ran off a runway at Koli Field on May 7, 1944.

>

> If the other Robert L Zahn died of wounds from aerial combat, there

> likely be no accident report or MACR unless the airplane crashed in

> enemy territory. I think the best way for you to proceed would be

> to request his IDPF, explained below.

>

> Mike Stowe

> Accident-Report.Com

>

> The I ndividual D eceased P ersonnel F ile (also called a 293 file)

> contains information directly related to the circumstances of

> someone's death. Currently, we only know about obtaining these from

> the Army or Marine Corps, though we will add information on the

> other services when we find it.

>

> The IDPF includes such things as:

> · a copy of DD 1300, the official casualty report. This is probably

> the best single source of official information about the actual

> circumstances of the person's death. It also has information on

> unit, (probably edited) information on next-of-kin, and other

> details.

> · a statement of identificat

>

> ion form, which deals with identification of the remains. This may

> contain things such as autopsy and dental records, or photographs.

> IDPFs were prepared primarily for military use, so these may

> sometimes be rather graphic.

> · information about funeral and family arrangements, personal

> effects, etc.

> The Department of Defense has rather strict rules for giving out

> information on living people, so some next-of-kin information may

> be edited out of the files.

>

> This information is made available under the Freedom of Information

> Act [FOIA]. To get a copy of an Army IDPF, send a letter to:

> FOIA OFFICER, Department of the Army

>

> ADMIN Section, ATTN: TAP-ALP-A (FOIA)

>

> DCS Personnel & Logistics

>

> 200 Stovall St, Alexandria VA 22332-0405.

> and simply state something like "This is a request under the

> Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec 552, for the Individual

> Deceased Personnel File of ..." and give the name of the casualty.

> You should include name, service no. etc., DOB and date of

> casualty.

>

 

> You will probably get a form letter in 2-3 weeks saying that they

> got your request. Then it takes 4-6 months to get a copy of the

> report

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  • 2 weeks later...

John, the next time I get over to the Indianapolis Public Library, I'll see if I can find his obit for you. They usually have a photo attached.

Judges 1:19- And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

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  • 4 months later...

John/Dwight, There are three articles on him in the Indianapolis papers

 

-4/6/1944 Indianapolis Star, lists him as a casualty

-3/16/1944 Indianapolis Star, Casualty (Maybe for a Robert L. Zohn)

-2/6/1945 Indianapolis News, information about him receiving a decoration

 

 

Really nice medal group! Good luck with the research!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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  • 4 months later...

Thank to Jon (Cobrahistorian) for tracking down the description of Zahn's last mission.

 

February 25, 1944

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 years later...

Here is an interesting article that provides more details on Zahn's last mission. S/SGT Zahn's mother received a letter from crew members who were on the mission with Zahn. Excerpts of the letter are included in the article.

 

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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I wasn't able to find anything about "Zeke" who is mentioned in the article, but Vincent Russo was with Zahn when they were first assigned to the 419th.

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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