The Kentucky Colonel
By Joe K. Mansell, Engineer/Gunner, 602nd Squadron
On August 8, 1944 on my 5th mission to the Bretteville Area, France. We were bombing in support of the ground troops. We were flying at 13,000 feet, which was really low. We were easy targets for the German artillery. I was in the Doerr airplane and witnessed Wally Blackwells airplane take a direct hit which blew off the entire tail section of his B-17. He was flying in formation off our right wing in Kentucky Colonel, a B-17 named by another pilot from Kentucky.
All of Wallys crew bailed out except the tail gunner who was never found. The crew was not captured as they made their way across the battle lines among the British forces. When Wally got back to the air base several days later, this Pilot who had named the airplane said Why did you lose my plane"? Wally said, I did not lose it. It is over by Caen, France. The guy was really upset about losing his plane.
Personal History Information
- Veteran: Joe K. Mansell
- Gunner, 602nd Squadron
- Date of Personal History: January 2003
- Author: Joe K. Mansell
- Submitted to 398th Web Pages by: Joe K. Mansell