Summary

Army Air Corp enlisted in Dallas Texas from Dawson Texas, T/Sgt ball turret gunner on B-17G-31642, to the best of my knowledge he flew 33 missions out of north Africa and southern Italy. 347th Squadron/99th Bomb Group/15th Air Force/5th Wing. February 25th on a mission to Messerschmit plane factory, the bomb group of around 176 planes was attacked by around 250 German fighter planes. Their B-17 plane was attacked by 4 German fighters, attacking 2 at a time. The pilot broke formation and did a near 360 degree turn but the fighters hit the plane to the extent it exploded knocking him, his friend Lonnie & engineer Harris unconcious, Joe Jr and Lonnie were injured before the explosion. Sgt Harris came to just in time to save his life but he didnt have time to throw my uncle Joe Jr or Lonnie. Son of Joe D Freeland Sr & Annie "Statham" Freeland, Brother of Dorothy "Harper" Freeland, John F Freeland & Don A Freeland, Uncle of Rickey A Freeland & Jackie L Freeland

Birth:
21 Jun 1923 1
Death:
25 Feb 1944 1
Austria Air Space 1
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Personal Details

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Birth:
21 Jun 1923 1
Male 1
Death:
25 Feb 1944 1
Austria Air Space 1
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Birth:
Mother: Annie Freeland 1
Father: Joe Freeland Sr 1
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Conflicting information:
I was told he was on his 33rd mission but his Air Medal has just 4 oak leaf clusters, also the intended target that day? 1

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  1. Contributed by freelar
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Stories

Joe D. Freeland Jr

From Italy over Austria flying to Germany

 

February 25th 1944 my Uncle Joe Dunn Freeland Jr and the crew were on a mission from southern Italy over Austria to bomb the Messerschmit plane factory in Germany.

The bomb group of around 176 planes was attacked by around 250 German fighter planes. Their B-17 Bomber of the 99th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force was attacked by 4 German fighters, attacking 2 at a time.

The pilot broke formation and did a near 360 degree turn but the fighters hit the plane to the extent it exploded knocking my Uncle Joe Jr, his friend Lonnie Denning & engineer Harris unconcious.

Joe Jr and Lonnie were injured before the explosion, Joe Jr was the belly ball turret gunner which was hit while fighting. Per the bombadier my uncle had shot down numerous fighters that day.  

Sgt Harris came to just in time to save his life but he didnt have time to throw my uncle Joe Jr or Lonnie bot KIA approximately 12:10 PM on 02/25/1944.

That week was what the bomber pilots were calling Big Week, due to rumors something big was going to happen, 02/25/44 was the last day of big week.

Rickey A Freeland nephew of Joe D Freeland Jr

 

Dedicated to all Turret gunners on B-17 bombers during WWII

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