John T. Palmer, Jr. 515th

by Jeff Palmer
(Waynesboro, Georgia)

Staff Sergeant John T. Palmer, Jr.

Staff Sergeant John T. Palmer, Jr.

Staff Sergeant John T. Palmer, Jr. Army Air Corps, 15th Air Force, 376th Heavy Bombardment Group, 515th Bomb Squadron, 13 October 1942 - 24 September 1945. Shot down 28 December 1943 on the disastrous mission to bomb the marshalling yard at Vicenza, Italy. Of the seventeen B24s on the mission, ten were lost after being attacked by more than 100 German fighters. Palmer was a waist gunner on the plane piloted by Lt. Oscar Frechette. Palmer remembered a particularly harrowing bailout experience: "We had salvoed our bombs and were heading for the Adriatic when our plane caught fire in the bomb bay. I opened the escape hatch and locked it open. I was trying to call the crew up front to warn them of the fire, but was not getting through. The ball turret gunner, Sgt. Virgil Utley, not a regular member of our crew assumed I was afraid to jump and kicked me out of the hatch. I was still hooked up to the plane with heated suit, throat mike, ear phones and oxygen mask in place. All that ripped loose. I had snapped on my chute upside down and did not realize that I had done this. I kept feeling for my rip cord but could not find it. I must have been falling about 100 mph and knew that I was going to die. Finally I ripped off my mask and saw the ripcord on the wrong side." After pulling the ripcord Palmer landed safely but was taken prisoner along with seven of his fellow crewmen. Two crewmen were killed in the crash. Palmer and the other enlisted men were taken to Stalag XVIIb where they spent most of the remainder of the war until the forced march in the spring of 1945. They were liberated by Patton's troups on 3 May 1945 in the Weilhart Forest west of Braunau.

Comments for John T. Palmer, Jr. 515th

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

May 16, 2019
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
JTP
by: Rosemary Palmer Berry

I never get tired of hearing this story! He was a wonderful father and a good friend to many.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Our veteran's stories.

376 ARCHIVES

The website 376bg.org is NOT our site nor is it our endowment fund.

At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.

Also, the board approved a $5,000 donation to add to Ed Clendenin's $20,000 donation in the memory of his father. Together, these funds begin an endowment for the preservation of the 376 archives.

Donate directly to the 376 Endowment

To read about other endowment donation options, click here.


My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


2019 River Cruise


2020 REUNION

DATES : TBD

CITY : TBD

HOTEL: TBD

2020 hotel reservations


previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid


The Liberandos


Three Crawford Brothers


Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior


376th Bomb Group Mission History


The Last Liberator


Full Circle


Shadows of Wings


Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War


I Survived Ploesti


A Measure of Life


Shot Down In Yugoslavia


Stories of My Life


Attack


Born in Battle