One in Twenty - The 398th's Killed in Action

There has never been any reliable statistics for how many combat B-17 airmen were assigned to the 398th Bomb Group (H). At the 398th Association’s reunion in San Antonio in 1987, I asked Colonel Tracy Peterson, my 601st Squadron Commanding Officer, how many crews served with the 601st Squadron. Without hesitation Capt. Pete said 132. This number multiplied by ten men per crew, multiplied by four Squadrons and adding a few for Group headquarters gives a total - that more than 5,000 served as 398th combat crew members. That total seems such a large number at first - but it is reasonable. Our best research identifies two hundred ninety four (294) 398th combat related deaths. This means that roughly one in twenty 398th combat flyers lost his life doing what he believed was necessary to save our country from evil. Listed below are the names of the 293 men that gave their full measure of devotion. Some of us can still remember what at least one, or perhaps two, of these individuals looked like. This is the 398th's roll of honor. We all respect their memory as brave and loyal 398ers who fought the good battle.

Wally Blackwell, November 2002


Killed in Action Index

As follows are various tables and summaries pertaining to the 398th's Killed in Action. Please send corrections or additional information to the 398th Group Historian.


8th Air Force Killed in Action Statistics

A total of 350,000 airmen served with the Eighth Air Force in England, and to this number, 26,000 were killed, or 7.42 percent. Compared to the percentages of other military branches – U.S. Marines 3.29%, U.S. Army 2.25%, and U.S. Navy 0.41%. - the Air Corps sustained the heaviest losses. More airman with the Eighth Air Force lost their lives than the entire Marine Corps, whose enrollment included 250,000 more people. Strictly measuring the mortality rate for the 210,000 air crewmen the casualty figure soars to 12.38% and in addition, 21,000 from the Eighth Air Force wound up in prison of war camps. Of those who flew the original twenty-five mission bomber tour in 1942-1943, just 35% survived, the twenty-five to thirty mission requirements of 1944 saw 66% completed, and by 1945, 81% of the combatants flew the full thirty-five engagements.


  1. From the book entitled: “The Mighty Eighth” by Gerald Astor, excerpted by Joe Mansell
  2. Quote is on page 486, chapter XXII, titled Debriefing (HDW)
  3. In the text above the term Army Air Force should be substituted for Air Corp. The Air Corps existed from July 2, 1926 to June 20. 1941 and then became the U.S. Army Air Forces from June 20, 1941 to Sept. 18, 1947 and then the U.S. Air Force from Sept. 18, 1947 (Harold D. Weekley)