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spacedmonkey13:So, you see the guy top left? That’s Gerry. Gerald L. Kerr to give him his full name,…

spacedmonkey13:

So, you see the guy top left? That’s Gerry. Gerald L. Kerr to give him his full name, from Lufkin, TX. A stand up guy, not too much of a wise ass, but able to hold his own if needed. At 23, on his 11th mission in 1944, his ship, a B-17 called “My Buddy” (the plane in this pic was an earlier one) took a hit that wiped out an engine. Despite the best efforts to feather, he knew they were going down and, given they were over the Alps, there was not going to be a good runway. Gerry ordered his crew to bail. The back crew all got out, his co-pilot, stood next to him, also bailed but his chute failed. The last words a surviving crew member heard him say was “God dammit, jump you guys!”, or words to that effect and he tried to keep the nose up to get the front crew out. Sadly, he flew into cloud, and never saw the stone ridge the other side. Gerry, his navigator and bombardier were all killed in the crash, the latter two trying desperately to find a clear route and landing zone for their pilot and refusing to leave him.

I don’t know him, obviously, since he died in 1944, but 20 years ago I saw this picture and a rush of images ran through my head. I heard the yelling to jump, I heard the comment “he was a stand up guy”, I smelt petrol and rubber and cold and zoned in on the guy on the top left. The banner underneath just said “The crew of My Buddy”. So I did a search and came up with photos of the crash site, and a list of who died and who survived. Gerry Kerr, at that point, was not forthcoming with any other information.

This afternoon, out of no where, I suddenly wanted to know what happened. I haven’t thought about these guys for 20 years, and quite unannounced, Gerry popped into my head.

I googled, to no avail. No plane called My Buddy was listed, no search of wreckage lists came up. It took over an hour of various searches before landing on a USAAF research site who listed the plane’s ref – 42-31552.

From that I found casualty evidence cards, quoting his (roughly) last words and stories of the crash. I found out that there are people rebuilding his ship from the wreckage and, today, they found a bit of the cockpit.

Source: Tales of Necromancy

by cnkguy
spacedmonkey13:So, you see the guy top left? That’s Gerry. Gerald L. Kerr to give him his full name,…

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