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.

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Apr 24, 2021
Response to Jamie
by: Jeff Palmer

Jamie, I did not see that Ken Palmer was looking for John or James Palmer on here. According to what I found, the encounter with Ken's "twin" was in Cincinnati in December of 1943. It could not have be my father, John T. Palmer since he was flying bombing missions over Greece and Italy at that time. Thanks for the notification though as it was a very interesting story.

Apr 21, 2021
Unsolved mysteries?
by: Jamie

Did you know Ken Palmer was on there looking for a John Palmer or James Palmer. He said he saw his twin at the train station in ohio they where both military but in different uniforms. Just might be something to check into! They pictures they look alike!

May 16, 2019
by: Rosemary Palmer Berry

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

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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.

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My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


NOTE change in month !!!

DATES: Oct 26-29, 2023

CITY:Tucson, AZ

HOTEL: Double Tree Suites Airport hotel

7051 South Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85756


Click here to read about the reunion details.

previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid

The Broken Wings of Zlatibor

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


Born in Battle

Bombardier's Diary

Lost Airmen

Langdon Liberando