- Slides: 137
Jerome Flohr A Photo Album by Bob Bogash July 2016 – Feb 2017
In April 2011, I received a photo from my cousin Linda-Lily showing Jerome (Jerry) Flohr in front of a B-17. He had been killed during World War II. Jerry was the younger brother of my Uncle Gene. It was the first I had heard that Gene had a brother, or that he had died in the War. So I began researching details of his life and death.
I found Jerome in the 1920 census, living with his brother and parents on Claflin Ave. in the Bronx.
1920 Census name: Jerome Flohr residence: , Bronx, New York estimated birth year: 1918 age: 2 birthplace: New York relationship to head of household: gender: Male race: White marital status: Single father's birthplace: Austria mother's birthplace: Hungary film number: 1821135 digital folder number: 4313483 image number: 00783 sheet number: 10 Household Gender Age parent Abraham Flohr. M 38 y parent Esther Flohr F 30 y Eugene Flohr M 4 y 6 m Jerome Flohr M 2 y 5 m Son
And in the 1940 Census
Jerry attended Cornell, and graduated in 1938
His occupation in the census was shown as: “Agriculture Dept – new work” …. . And he was still living at home
Jerry enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Jan 15 1942, about a month after Pearl Harbor Day…. .
U. S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938 -1946 Jerome I Flohr Name: Jerome I Flohr Birth Year: 1917 Race: White, Citizen (White) Nativity State or Country: New York State of Residence: New York County or City: New York Enlistment Date: 15 Jan 1942 Enlistment State: New York Enlistment City: New York City Branch: Air Corps Branch Code: Air Corps Grade Code: Aviation Cadet Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law Education: 4 years of college Civil Occupation: Managers and officials, n. e. c. Marital Status: Single, without dependents Height: 67 Weight: 160
This is the picture that started my quest Jerry is in the back row – far left He looked just like his brother Gene Photo taken in England 30 Aug 1943
Jerry’s Crew Ultimately, I tracked down all of them
This was Jerry’s crew – known as the Rodgers Crew for the pilot Henry Rodgers of Philadelphia – in the end, I tracked down almost all of them
…and this was his primary airplane
Jerry was trained as a Navigator flying Boeing B-17 s 388 th Bombardment Group (Heavy) Aircraft: B-17 Group Emblem: H Wing: 45 th Combat Bombardment Wing Division: 3 rd Bombardment Division Assigned Airfield(s) Gowen AAF 12/24/1942 - 2/1/1943 Boise, Idaho Wendover AAF 2/1/1943 - 4/29/1943 Utah Sioux City AAB 4/29/1943 - 6/1/1943 Iowa Knettishell 6/10/1943 - 8/28/1945 England
The group's first fatal accident had occurred during training on 5 May 1943 at Soda Springs (in Caribou County, Idaho) when B-17 42 -29562 crashed in bad weather, killing the pilot, Melvin H. Williams, and all nine crew members. A month later, on 20/21 June 43, another crew was lost in transit over the Atlantic Ocean when flying to England in B-17 42 -30229. After picking up their new aircraft which they had named "Shooting Star", the crew made their way to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (New York) which during the war was also used by the USAAF. From there they flew to Newfoundland and, after some delay, they took off for Iceland, flying single file instead of in the more usual 3 -plane formation. The aircraft, however, never arrived in Iceland the official report indicates that it was lost between Gander, Newfoundland Prestwick, Scotland.
Squadrons: 560 th Bombardment Squadron 561 st Bombardment Squadron 562 nd Bombardment Squadron 563 rd Bombardment Squadron Jerry served with the 562 nd – Tail Emblem “H”
Jerry’s crew flew several airplanes, but this was their first one Named Wailuku Maui – later renamed Tech Supply
Wailuiku Maui was one of the ten original 562 nd aircraft that arrived in June 1943. The Rodgers crew ferried this plane across the Atlantic First Name Origin: The name was determined by lottery of the Rodgers crew. Seldon Smith, the bombardier, was the winner with his selection of the home town of his flight school comrade. Seldon liked the way it rolled off the tongue and also wanted to pay tribute to his friend. Second Name Origin: The Tech Supply name was assigned to the plane when it was down for repairs for a month and became cannibalized for parts until the crew chief threatened anyone who would take any more parts. Hard landing collapsed gear while trying to land in fog 12/24/43 following attacks on V 1/V 2 launch sites at Pas de Calais. Airplane was later written off in this accident.
Aircraft Facts Serial 42 -3295 Ltr H Name Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply Model F-45 -DL Built Douglas - Long Beach, California Sqdr 562 Missions 40 First 30 Jul 43 Last 07 Jun 44
562 nd Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England in Jun 1943 and assigned to Eighth AF. Began operations on 17 Jul 1943 by attacking an aircraft factory in Amsterdam. Functioned primarily as a strategic bombardment Organization until the war ended. Targets included industries, naval installations, oil storage plants, refineries, and communications centers in Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, Norway, Rumania, and Holland. Received a DUC (Distinguished Unit Citation) for withstanding heavy opposition to bomb vital aircraft factory at Regensburg on 1 Aug 1943. Received another DUC for three outstanding missions: an attack against a tire and rubber factory in Hannover on 26 Jul 1943; the bombardment of a synthetic oil refinery in Brux on 12 Mar 1944; and a strike against a synthetic oil refinery at Ruhland on 21 Jun 1944, during a shuttle raid from England to Russia.
Attacked many other significant targets, including aircraft factories in Kassel, Reims, and Brunswick; airfields in Bordeaux, Paris, and Berlin; naval works at La Pallice, Emden, and Kiel; chemical industries in Ludwigshafen; ball-bearing plants in Schweinfurt; and marshalling yards in Brussels, Osnabruck, and Bielefeld. Operations also included support and interdictory missions. Helped prepare for the invasion of Normandy by attacking military installations in France, and on DDay struck coastal guns, field batteries, and transportation. Continued to support ground forces during the campaign that followed, hitting such objectives as supply depots and troop concentrations. Bombed in support of ground forces at St Lo in Jul 1944 and at Caen in Aug. Covered the airborne assault on Holland in Sep 1944 by attacking military installations and airfields at Arnheim. Aided the final drive through Germany during the early months of 1945 by striking targets such as marshalling yards, rail bridges, and road junctions.
After V-E Day, they flew food to Holland to relieve flood-stricken areas. Returned to the US in August 1945 Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.
The Rogers crew also flew an airplane called Homesick Angel. It was lost on the crew’s 14 th mission MISSION #14, Bordeaux/Merignac, August 24, 1943. Return from Africa Shuttle. Mission Facts Number 14 Date 24 Aug 43 City Bordeaux Country France Scheduled 16 Lost 1 Aborted 1 On the return bombing trip from Africa, 16 of our a/c took-off from Tulergma Field at 0600 BST and were joined by 6 a /c of the 390 th Bomb Group which tacked on as second and third elements of the high squadron. Lt. Dennis in a/c "Miss Mac" had mechanical trouble shortly after take-off and returned to the field in North Africa. They returned the following day. Wing formation was effected without difficulty and the briefed course was followed throughout.
The bombing targets were hangars and dispersal area of the airfields. Flak was meager except in the target area where it was intense. Fighter opposition was weak with most of the attacks on the high squadron and the Group following. 11 of our a/c returned to base by 2015 hours while 4 landed elsewhere because of gas shortage. Lt. Rodgers in a/c 42 -30230 "Homesick Angel", crash-landed in a field near Foxborough-Stanton after all engines died from lack of gas while in the traffic pattern. The plane is beyond repair but the crew is safe.
RAF Knettishall is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located 6 miles SE of Thetford in Suffolk between the villages of Knettishall and Coney Weston, which lies to the south. This location is on the southern side of the Little Ouse Valley and bordering the area of heath and forest known as the Breckland. Knettishall was built for United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force use during 1942/1943 by W. & C. French Ltd. It was a late-design, heavy bomber airfield to Class A specification, and had the standard fifty-yard-wide concrete runways, the main being 6, 000 feet long and the two intersecting secondary runways of 4, 200 feet each in length, with an encircling perimeter track. There were fifty hardstands, two T 2 -type hangars and full technical services. Mark II airfield lighting permitted night flying. Accommodation - largely Nissen huts - was provided in some dozen dispersed sites to the south of the flying airfield in the village of Coney Weston. The bomb store was situated on the far side of the field in a wood near Knettishall village.
RAF Knettishall (sometimes also referred to as RAF Coney Weston) is one of 19 aerodromes which were constructed in Suffolk during the Second World War. It is located roughly ten kilometres (six miles) south-east of Thetford between the villages of Knettishall and Coney Weston, on a plateau 40 metres (130 feet) above sea level on the south side of the Little Ouse Valley and bordering Knettishall Heath, now the Knettishall Heath Country Park. The aerodrome, a late design heavy bomber airfield, was constructed by W&C French Ltd. During June 1943, the USAAF's 388 th Bombardment Group (BG) Heavy arrived from Wendover AAF, Utah The 388 th BG comprised more than 500 crews (about 6, 200 men) during the war and stayed at Knettishall for the duration of their entire service in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO), flying mainly F and G models of B-17 Flying Fortresses on missions over occupied Europe as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign, with each of the squadrons having their own lead crews.
On 22 February 1957, the station was declared surplus to requirements and sold off, with large sections of the runways subsequently being broken up and crushed for aggregate and most of the buildings demolished. Not much is left of Knettishall aerodrome today and due to most of the older generation having passed on and many locals having moved away from the village nothing much is known locally about its wartime history.
Today little is left of Knettishall airfield. A few single-lane farm roads are all that remains of the runways and taxiways, along with a handful of wartime buildings in various states of deterioration. An eight hundred metre grass airstrip has been constructed, adjacent to, and north of the line of the old east/west runway. Three small hangars house around six light aircraft. On a double loop hardstand to the west of the airfield three nissentype huts and an old T-2 wartime hangar provides warehouse, storage and office space.
Jerry Flew 27 Missions as follows: Missions Mission Crew Aircraft Sortie. Crew. Data Row Number. Date City Country. Name Sqdr Msn Serial Name Msn Outcome Group Planned Position 1 2 24 Jul 43 Bergen Norway Rodgers 562 1 42 -30213 Lil' One 2 Completed 388 -A Le-1 -2 2 4 26 Jul 43 Hanover Germany Rodgers 562 2 42 -5906 Sondra Kay 4 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -2 3 7 30 Jul 43 Kassel Germany Rodgers 562 3 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 1 Standby 388 -A Ab-2 -1 4 8 12 Aug 43 Bonn Germany Rodgers 562 4 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 2 Completed 388 -A Le-2 -2 5 9 15 Aug 43 Merville-Lille France Rodgers 562 5 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 3 12 19 06 Sep 43 Stuttgart Germany Rodgers 562 12 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 7 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1
6 10 16 Aug 43 Poix-Abbyville France Rodgers 562 6 42 -30230 Homesick Angel 7 A -Legal 388 -A Ab-2 -1 7 11 17 Aug 43 Regensburg Germany Rodgers 562 7 42 -30230 Homesick Angel 8 Completed 388 -A Hi-2 -1 8 14 24 Aug 43 Bordeaux France Rodgers 562 8 42 -30230 Homesick Angel 9 C -Landing 388 -A Le-2 -1 9 16 31 Aug 43 Brussels/Evers Belgium Rodgers 562 9 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 4 A-Unknown 388 -A Ab-1 -1 10 17 02 Sep 43 Brussels/Evers Belgium Rodgers 562 10 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 5 Completed 388 -A Le-2 -1 11 18 03 Sep 43 Meulan France Rodgers 562 11 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 6 Completed 388 -A Lo-2 -1 12 19 06 Sep 43 Stuttgart Germany Rodgers 562 12 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 7 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 07 Sep 43 Watten Germany Rodgers 562 13 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 8 Completed 388 -A Hi-2 -1 21 09 Sep 43 Paris France Rodgers 562 14 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 9 Completed 388 -A Lo-2 -1 22 15 Sep 43 Paris France Rodgers 562 15 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 10 Completed 388 -A Le-1 -3 23 16 Sep 43 Bordeaux France Rodgers 562 16 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 11 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -3 24 26 Sep 43 Reims France Rodgers 562 17 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 12 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1 25 27 Sep 43 Emden Germany Rodgers 562 18 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 13 Completed 388 -A Le-2 -1 28 04 Oct 43 Bremen. Germany Rodgers 562 19 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 15 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1
20 21 22 23 24 25 29 09 Oct 43 Gdynia Poland Rodgers 562 20 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 16 Completed 388 -A Le-1 -2 30 10 Oct 43 Munster Germany Rodgers 562 21 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 17 A-Crew 388 -A Lo-2 -2 31 14 Oct 43 Schweinfurt Germany Rodgers 562 22 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 18 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1 34 03 Nov 43 Wilhelmshaven Germany Rodgers 562 23 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 21 Completed 388 -A Le-2 -1 35 05 Nov 43 Gelsenkirchen Germany Rodgers 562 24 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 22 Completed 388 -A Lo-1 -1 36 11 Nov 43 Munster Germany Rodgers 562 25 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 23 Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1
26 27 37 562 24 38 27 13 Nov 43 Bremen. Germany Rodgers 26 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply Completed 388 -A Ab-1 -1 16 Nov 43 Rjukan Norway Rodgers 562 42 -3295 Wailuiku Maui / Tech Supply 25 The crew was only obligated to fly 25 missions, but after 25, they collectively agreed to fly 3 more missions. Jerry was killed just prior to departure on the 28 th and last mission.
From June 1943 until August 1945, the 388 th BG's combat squadrons flew a total of 306 missions and 19 "Aphrodite" missions, the latter flown from Fersfield. Altogether 191 aircraft were lost and of the combat crews, 538 men died in action; more than 112 were wounded and 742 were taken prisoner of war and 43 men are still listed as missing. All of the six aircraft of the 563 rd Bombardment Squadron were shot down on the same day during a disastrous bombing mission to Stuttgart, mission #19, on 6 September 1943, which became known as Black Monday.
There were 10 men per aircraft. On that day, all 60 men from that squadron were lost. Fellow soldiers had to go through and clean out the personal effects of everyone in the squadron. A black day indeed….
Over 30, 000 American airmen died in the skies over Europe. Over 100, 000 Allied airmen died similarly. The chances of getting killed in the Air Corps were much higher than in the Marine Corps.
As I conducted my research, I tried to find out the exact circumstances of Jerry’s death, where he was buried, etc. I found several different versions, and records indicated he was variously: KIA Killed in Action DNB Died, Non- Battle KOD Killed On Duty
The 388 th BG maintained contact with members after the War, had a Newsletter, and had annual reunions. I contacted their people.
When I researched his possible burial locations, I found he was buried with other family members in Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens FLOHR, JEROME Block: 23 Reference: 16 Section: J/K Lot: Line: PP 3 Grave: 11 Society: HUNGARIAN CHEVRA Date of Death:
There was no Date of Death, nor cause. Aunt Bloss thought he died in November 1943 in an airfield accident. There was no Death Certificate on file with either the cemetery or the City of New York I found this record card noting the Date of Death as being 26 Nov 1943 with a notification letter of 15 Feb 1944 from Rabbi Israel Miller to Jerry’s father Abe. Rabbi Miller was a Chaplain during the war and later became Rabbi at Kingsbridge Heights Jewish Center
After several years of mostly fruitless research, I decided to obtain all of Jerry’s military records from the Defense Dept under a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. After a lengthy period of zero information, I reenergized the system and found there had been a long series of foul-ups handling my request. Eventually, I tracked the files to Ft. Knox, Kentucky (where I was born!), and finally, on Sept 15, 2015, I received his records – 75 pages – in this folder.
The folder answered many questions – most – but there were still a few mysteries that I unraveled later using info from the official files. Here is the original internal Air Corps notification
Jerry had been struck and killed by a vehicle while proceeding to his airplane for his 28 th and final mission. A sad ending for a brave man.
Jerry was buried with two other G. I. ’s 4 days later near London. Buried 1400 hrs 30 Nov 1943 Buried US Military Cemetery Brookwood, England Plot M, Row 1, Grave 6
There were two men buried on either side of Jerry in England Raymond Skafte and Oliver Spencer I tracked down both
Raymond Skafte was returned to the United States after the War. He is buried in: : Grace Lutheran Cemetery Winchester Winnebago County Wisconsin, USA Plot: 2 -079
Oliver Spencer was not returned and his remains are buried in England Oliver L Spencer Mississippi Service Number 34617855 Rank Technician Fifth Class Service U. S. Army Regiment 587 th Ordnance Ammunition Company Date Death 11 -26 -1943 Burial Plot E Row 4 Grave 77, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England Cemetery Details
Jerry’s death was reported to his father, Abraham Flohr, Dec 11, 1943.
Enlarged – next slide
Jerry’s personal effects were inventoried and returned to the family in three shipments. First was a check for $92. 34 representing the money he had at the time of his death Next was a Flight Log And finally, there was a 55 lb foot locker with personal effects that was shipped to Kansas City and then to New York
But first, a copy of his Will was required, and sent by his father
In 1946 legislation passed Congress providing for the final burial of the American World War II soldiers who were killed overseas. The task of carrying out this massive program was given to the Office of the Quartermaster General. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on this repatriation and seven ships were dedicated to transporting the remains.
Background PLAN FOR REPATRIATION OF THE DEAD OF WORLD WAR II or "Current Plan" as it was called in 1945. Following the end of World War II, the U. S. government created a program to return the bodies of servicemen who had been buried in temporary military cemeteries overseas. Following surveys to the population, the government decided that about three fifths of the 289, 000 personnel involved would be returned in accordance with family wishes. Between 1946 and 1951, over 170, 000 servicemen were returned. Those servicemen who were not returned to the U. S. were reburied in one of 14 permanent military cemeteries overseas (Note 1).
The Military System. During WWII the U. S. Army Quartermaster Corps operated the Army Graves Registration Service. This organization was tasked after the war to manage 15 distribution centers (Note 2). Repatriated servicemen arrived aboard U. S. Army Transport Ships (USAT) (Note 3) from their overseas locations. All mortuary preparations had been completed prior to being transported from overseas. Movement from the port of debarkation to the distribution center generally lasted about 10 days. Upon arrival at the distribution center, each serviceman was assigned an escort from the AGRS Detachment. Generally, officers escorted officers and enlisted men escorted enlisted men. Escorts received training in their duties (Note 4) and remained with the serviceman until the funeral or upon release by the family Next of Kin (NOK). Each AGRS Distribution Center notified the families by telegram. Information in the telegram included the processing center, the date of anticipated arrival, the local responsible funeral home, and the name of the military escort.
The next of kin of a fallen soldier were given several options by the War department: 1. The remains may be interred or reinterred in a permanent American military cemetery overseas. The establishment of permanent overseas cemeteries is contemplated, should the number of requests justify their establishment; 2. The remains may be returned to the United States for final interment in a National Cemetery. Burial of remains on a National Cemetery is restricted to members of the armed forces only. When this option is desired, the remains will be transported to the Continental United States and interred in the National Cemetery selected by the next of kin; 3. The remains may be returned to the United States or any possession or territory thereof, for internment in a private cemetery. Shipment will be made to the city or town designated by the next of kin
The repatriation program began on July 27, 1947 at a special ceremony at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery when the disinterment began. The first shipment of 5. 600 American Dead from Henri-Chapelle left Antwerp, Belgium the first week of October 1947. An impressive ceremony was held with over 30. 000 reverent Belgium citizens attending and representatives of the Belgium government and senior Americans presiding. At the end, about 56 percent requested the remains of their loved ones to be returned to the United States for reburial in a National Cemetery or a private cemetery.
The repatriation was formally offered to the Flohr’s in the following letter
Jerry’s body was disinterred on 16 March 1948 and began its journey to the United States, accompanied and escorted every step of the way. He was transported on the USS Lawrence Victory She was the 735 th of 890 Liberty ships built during the war. She was laid down Jan 25, 1945, launched March 7, and delivered March 25, 1945. She was named for St. Lawrence University.
Timeline: Date of Death 26 Nov 1943 Interment 30 Nov 1943 Report of Death 11 Dec 1943 Letter from Rabbi Israel Miller 15 Feb 1944 Shipment of Personal Effects Foot locker 55 lbs 15 Apr 1944 Notification of Burial location and potential repatriation 11 Jul 1946 Offer of Repatriation Letter 15 May 1947 Disinterred 16 Mar 1948 Repatriated 18 Jun 1948 Notification enroute 22 Jun 1948 Transported aboard USAT (US Army Transport Ship) Lawrence Victory Casket inspected and refurbished 2 Aug 1948 Remains received 6 Aug 1948
The War Dept. pays for casket, transport, and headstone. There was an exchange of letters of size, shape and style of the headstone.
Jerry’s headstone today – from Arlene Flohr
Is this the end of Jerry’s story? No! A big question remained – How did he die? ? ? That is the question that started my quest. From the very beginning. I had found out he had been struck by a vehicle – but where, when, why, and how? ? ?
I started with nothing and had learned a lot. But, there was more to learn. So, I continued my research.
Struck by a vehicle? ? ? Where had he been struck by the vehicle. When? How? Was he on-duty, or off-duty?
I began by tracking down every member of his crew. I was mostly either unable - in a few cases - or found they were deceased. I found Henry Rogers, the Pilot had remained active in aviation in Philadelphia. He had died in 2011. Henry S. Rodgers BORN: July 29, 1918 DIED: February 28, 2011 LOCATION: Sapello, NM Past Presidents of the Philadelphia Aviation Country Club 1989 - 1990 Henry S. Rodgers History Undoubtedly, the most noteworthy event to occur at PACC was the founding of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in the late 1930's. Today, the AOPA is "the largest, most influential aviation association in the world", and reports its number of members at over 400, 000.
My research eventually led to contacting a man named Timothy Kutz, of Clearfield, Utah. Tim, was working at the old air base at Wendover, Utah, when a pair of G. I. dog tags were found in the rubble. Wendover was a base where Jerry trained. It is also famous for being the base where the B-29 crews that dropped the A-Bombs on Japan trained for their war-ending missions. The dog tags Tim had were Jerry’s. Jewish soldiers were often given alternate dog tags to avoid possible persecution and death by the Nazi’s, if captured. He had apparently discarded his original set, which remained in the desert until discovery.
Wendover today. Travelers on Interstate 80 drive right past it.
Tim, and his son, (also named Tim), were determined to find out more about the original owner of the dog tags. In their research, they were able to track down one of the original crew members – still alive. Patrick B. Lewis of Houston, Texas, was the co-pilot, and he provided the long researched and missing final details. Bombing missions were briefed in the middle of the night, followed by before-dawn take-offs. The airfields were all blacked out to protect against German bombing raids. Likewise, vehicles drove around without lights. Jerry had, for some reason, missed the truck ride with the rest of his crew, out to the airplane after the briefing. Perhaps he had lingered to get additional details. A 61 minute historical interview with Col. Lewis from the Library of Congress can be found here: http: //memory. loc. gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc. natlib. afc 2001001. 03759 /
Tim Kutz – Sr. and Jr.
Having missed his ride, Jerry had to walk out across the pitch black airfield to the airplane. It was during this walk that he was struck and killed by a truck running without lights. This was to be the crew’s 28 th and final mission prior to returning to the U. S. I determined that the mission was never flown. The crew ended their tour of duty with 27 missions. Apparently, they were unable to obtain a replacement Navigator in time. Or, maybe, they were too upset by Jerry’s tragic death. They had been together since the very beginning as a crew, and had flown 27 combat missions together. A Band of Brothers.
Tim tracked down and contacted Arlene, and returned Jerry’s dog tags.
So, that’s the story. Starting with zero knowledge, and then a picture, I was able to recreate Jerry’s wartime story. Enlisted after Pearl Harbor. Trained as an Air Force Navigator. Flew 27 combat missions over Europe. Sadly died in an airfield accident before his 28 th and final mission. Hero.
Jerry’s surviving buddies have hung together over the years – holding annual reunions for about 67 years. The 2017 Reunion will be in San Diego Sept 7 – 10. Oh – if Jerry could only be joining them……. A TRUE Band of Brothers
Tim Jr. it turns out was a big winner on Jeopardy. The following is a news story on Tim’s investigation
A DOGGED MISSION Tim Kutz (left) holds a photograph of Lt. Jerome Flohr and the 388 th Bomber crew. Kutz and his father, Tim L. Kutz (right), received the photos after finding Flohr's dog tags from World War II and researching his name. A closeup of the photograph of Flohr and his crew. Dog tags belonging to Lt. Jerome Flohr (center) were found in the West Desert near Wendover. By Amy K. Stewart Standard-Examiner correspondent November 29, 2012 What began with the discovery of some World War II dog tags in the West Desert has led a Top of Utah father/son duo to a startling mystery, a historical investigation -- and a new long distance friend.
It all began when Tim L. Kutz, 58, of Clearfield, was working with the military at an airfield near Wendover. His manager found the dog tags and showed them to Kutz. "It looked like an Army Air Corps dog tag. It had an 'H' for religion, " Kutz said. "I didn't know what that meant and I was curious. " Kutz worked in the military bomb squad for 20 years and is now a contracted training program analyst for the Threat Management Group. But Kutz is also a history buff. After he did some research, he learned the "H" stands for "Hebrew. "
During World War II, Jewish air crew members who were going to England, and then flying over Germany, knew they could be in worse danger if they were captured and the Nazis found out they were Jewish. They would sometimes change their dog tags to "no religion" or simply list a different religion. Kutz decided to investigate further, with the help of his son, Tim Kutz, 33, who is majoring in history at Weber State University. "My dad knew I was into old stuff like that, " Tim Kutz said. "The dog tags were all rusty and worn, but we could make out a name on it. " The name on the dog tags was Lt. Jerome Flohr.
The Kutz and Kutz team decided to investigate. They obtained flight records and discovered Flohr was a navigator on a B-17 bomber and had flown eight missions into Germany. The young man crashed once in England but survived. There were two or three more flights; then his name showed up on a list titled "Deceased, non-battle. " He died in England in 1943. They couldn't just stop there. How did Flohr die? The two were able to find Flohr's co-pilot, who is a retired Air Force colonel living in Texas. The man remembered Flohr and how he died: There was a pre-bombing mission and Flohr missed his ride back to the aircraft. He had to walk back and it was a blackout -- all lights were out so the Germans couldn't see where to bomb -- so it was pitch dark outside. Flohr was accidentally hit and killed by a military vehicle. "I made it my mission to find his family, " Tim L. Kutz said. "I knew he grew up in Bronx, New York. "
They discovered Flohr's niece, Arlene Flohr, an attorney working in New York City. She knew nothing of her uncle, other than that he had died during WWII. Tim L. Kutz was able to track her down just a few days before July 4 last summer. He spoke with her over the phone. "She said she couldn't believe someone would do all that research for someone they didn't even know, " he said. "I told her, 'That's what we do in the military. We take care of each other. ' She was very grateful. " The elder Kutz sent the dog tags via Fed Ex, and Arlene Flohr presented them to her family on the Fourth of July. Arlene Flohr, speaking with the Standard-Examiner from New York via phone, said she was surprised when Tim L. Kutz called her out of the blue, but "we were pleased that someone would put so much time into this. We are very grateful about that. "
Flohr said she knew very little about her uncle. "I didn't know he was stationed in Utah and still have no idea how the dog tags got there, " she said. The Kutzes determined Jerome Flohr was stationed in Utah in 1942, and maybe early 1943. Branden Little, an assistant history professor at WSU who teaches military issues, was fascinated to hear about the dog tags and the Kutz research. "Who would have known the residue of war would surface through an old dog tag found out in the desert? " Little said. "The fact this duo pursued the history of these dog tags is commendable. " Flohr died in October 1943, which Little says was several months into the aerial campaign, a combined bombing defensive. It was a multinational operation, a joint effort with the British and American military.
That was a month before the United States began to thrust through the central Pacific. It was a point at which the U. S. was very weak militarily, but was trying to push farther and farther into Nazi-held Europe and into the Japanese-held regions of the Pacific, Little said. The fact that Flohr was killed in an accident, amid his own military, brings attention to the fact that there are military members who do get killed due to friendly fire or accidents, Little added. "Here is a crew member on a bomber who dies on an air field because he gets run over, " he said. "It's a tragedy. "
Jerome Flohr August 1917 – November 1943 February 2017