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Peters, co-pilot Bratton, navigator Tully, radio Jung, and crew chief Fricke

Born:                             31 January 1922       

Enlistment date:            08 August 1942

Deployments:                EAME

Units:                             301st Troop Carrier Squadron, 441st Troop Carrier Group, 50th Troop Carrier Wing, 9th Air Force

Rank:                            Staff Sergeant

Specialisations:             Radio Operator/Mechanic

Qualifications:             

Decorations:                  EMEA Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Unit Citation, POW Medal

Discharge Date:            07 September 1945

Deceased:                      25 October 2011

Other Information:        Howard was the eldest son of Frank and Minnie Jung. His father Frank served with the U.S. Army Infantry in France during World War 1.  Howard enlisted as an air cadet on 08 August 1942 and hoped to be sent to flight school.   The Army Air Corps had other ideas and sent Howard to Radio Operator and Mechanic School in South Dakota.  After qualifying, Howard joined the 301st Troop Carrier Squadron in late 1943 and travelled overseas to the European Theater of Operations with the air echelon in March 1944.  Prior to his deployment overseas, Howard married his fiancée Marjorie McCormack in New York.

Howard was a vital part of the crew of ‘B’ Flight’s Captain Leader Earl W. Peters on their first combat parachute operation on, D day, June 6th 1944.  They carried elements of the ‘D Company’ 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment into Normandy, France.  He was also part of the crew of Capt. Peters on September 17th 1944, Mission Market Garden, to Grossbeak just outside Nijmegen, The Netherlands.  On this occasion, their C-47 42-101033 was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire that set one engine ablaze.  When the aircraft’s other engine failed, Capt. Peters ditched the aircraft successfully.  Howard was severely wounded in the left leg as a result of the enemy fire, with a break just above the ankle and deep lacerations below the calf resulting in a great loss of blood.  Once on the ground, the crew members carried him from the plane and sought aid.  They were able to find an 82nd Airborne Aid Station located in the basement of a nearby farm house and left him with the medics.  Counter attacking Germans soon overran the area and attacked the farmhouse, setting it on fire. As the American troopers made their escape, Howard crawled from the basement to find himself surrounded by Germans.  As a prisoner of war, Howard was transferred from there by truck with other wounded prisoners to a German Naval hospital in Kleve.   His wounds had turned gangrenous and his captors amputated his leg below the knee in order to save his life.  Before the operation he was given a direct blood transfusion from another less seriously wounded prisoner who volunteered.  After surgery, he was in a large room with many wounded American and British paratroopers and was in and out of consciousness for about three weeks.  The battle front had been moving closer to the town and all prisoners were evacuated from the hospital.  Howard and about 15 others were driven by truck to a German troop replacement center, an old office building, and laid on a straw covered floor in a locked room. 

Only one prisoner could walk, two were dying and in need of constant medical attention.  After no attention for a day, they were given a small pail of watery soup, bread, and an old bucket for sanitary purposes.  In two days, ambulances were sent from the town Hospital in Wessel. Howard and four others were in one ambulance.  He was in this hospital for a day and a half, to have his wound cleaned and bandaged.  Howard and another leg amputee were then taken to a train... This train contained German wounded as well.  They traveled for three days and nights, to the town of Einbeck. There they were taken to what appeared to be an old factory building and put in a room with an Italian prisoner.

He now learned the American was a trooper named Paul Smallwood and his amputation was above the knee.  The Italian’s name was Tullio Vettori.  This building was considered to be a recovery hospital and a German nurse and orderly looked in on them each day. The doctor was a German Luftwaffe pilot and came to the room occasionally. Speaking in German, he bragged to Howard of work on new rockets to hit America.

 After a few weeks, four sick Russians who worked at nearby factories and farms were also brought into the room to recover.  The Russians spoke only in Russian, but indicated that while the building they were in was marked with a red cross, half of it was being used as a factory to make ammunition shells.

 About the middle of November Howard was able to get out of bed and stand on one leg.   He was in Einbeck for three months, through Christmas and New Years.  Allied bombers could be heard flying over the town daily but Einbeck was not bombed.  A delegation of town residents including a uniformed Nazi political officer came to the room with wine and cookies wishing them a Merry Christmas.

Howard and Paul were next told they would be sent to Fallingbostal. They were each given some ragged clothing and a pair of crutches and taken out at night in snow and ice and walked to a train.  After two short train rides and a trolley they arrived at a large railroad terminal in Hannover.  A large number of captive American ground forces also came into this station.  After waiting 7 hours for the end of a bombing raid, all were loaded on to box cars.  Trains moved only at night because of the bombing and strafing.  Two more trains brought them to Stalag X1 B in Fallingbostal, a part of the group known as Bergen-Belsen.  Conditions here were extremely poor.

Howard and Paul were put in a room in a large barracks.   The barracks was stripped bare, with no heat, or bedding on the steel double-decker bunk beds from which most of the board slats had been removed.  Food was a small pail of watered down potato soup brought in once a day.  Another wounded infantry sergeant also shared the room with them for the next three months of a bitter cold winter.  A number of American Infantry soldiers wounded in the Battle of the Bulge also were housed in this same building but kept separated from Howard’s room.

At the end of March Howard was transferred by train to Stalag 1X C in Meiningen.  In April American ground forces liberated the camp. Howard was transported from the prison camp to Paris Le Bourget Airfield by a plane from the 302nd Troop Carrier Squadron, a sister squadron in the 441st Troop Carrier Group.  A few days later, he was flown back to Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York, USA.  He was then transported to the Thomas M England Hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

While at this hospital Howard’s leg was re-amputated and treated in order for him to make use of a prosthesis.  His wife was able to secure employment nearby and aided in his recovery.  He remained in the hospital until his honorable discharge on September 7, 1945.

Sadly, Howard passed away on October 25th 2011 and is buried at Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, New York in Section 8, Site 10688.