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T/Sgt. Melvin Willard Craig - 419th Squadron

T/Sgt. Melvin Willard Craig Born: January 11, 1915 KIA: January 11, 1944 T/Sgt. Melvin W. Craig, ASN 190559322 graduated from B-26 school at Barksdale AAF Louisiana, and was attached to the 335th BG, 476th BS. T/Sgt Craig was a Flight Engineer assigned to Lt. Penrod's crew that was deployed to North Africa. According to his personal log, on 19 July 1943, he flew a five hour mission to targets around Rome. T/Sgt. Craig transferred to the 301st BG, 419th BS, and flew missions from July 1943 until he was KIA on a mission to Piraeus Greece on January 11, 1944 (MACR 1834). http://www.301bg.com/macr/macr1834.pdf According to the mother of S/Sgt John J. "Jack" Murray, a surviving waist gunner attached to the Cherrington crew on that fateful mission: "There were several hundred planes flying the mission. They flew into a snow-sleet and rain-storm. Temperatures were 45 degrees below zero. One plane in Jack's formation was having engine trouble. Since they are not permitted to fly the bomb run with engine trouble, the pilot tried to turn back. In doing so, his plane collided with another plane. They both exploded. It must have been this explosion which caused damage to the eight planes for the entire formation, all were lost. The plane our sons were in had the tail blown off and turned over, falling. They were 19,000 feet in the air. The boys were pinned and dropped to 2,000 feet when the plane hit an air pocket and began to break up.... Jack said he was sure the pilot and co-pilot were unable to escape." After the war, T/Sgt. Melvin W. Craig's remains were shpped home to the United States for permanent burial with his family at the middle section of the Dunlap Cemetery, Rose Hill, Kansas. Melvin Willard Craig One Main Street Rose Hill KS 00000 eva2xl@verizon.net
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