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Mission to Vienna rail yards
21 February 1945 | Neukirchen, Austria
The 484th Bomb Group of the Fifteenth Air Force was stationed at Torretto Airfield, Italy in the winter of 1945. Torretto was located on the Foggia plain in Southern Italy. The field was located approximately 8 miles from the town of Cerignola. The runway was constructed of compacted clay gravel with pierced steel planking at the touchdown points. The taxiways and hardstands were also compacted gravel. There were no hangers and the control tower was a temporary scaffold structure. Most of operational facilities were in tents. The crew also lived in tents with officers four to a tent and enlisted men six to a tent. The tent floors were dirt with no electricity or running water. Meals were taken in the mess tent, but airmen were required to provide their own mess kit and cutlery. This was a much harder life than the other bomb crew facilities of the Eighth Air Force in England. At times the area was sunny and dry, but when it rained the living areas could become a muddy quagmire.
From the 825th Bomb Squadron, Captain Percy H. Kramer was the pilot of B-24 L Marauder 44-49858 “Belle of St. Jo”. He and the crew were on their twenty third mission on 21 February 1945 to the railroad marshalling yards at Vienna, Austria. While making a radar run over the target, Kramer and his crew were hit by flak at 13:26 hours. From the Missing Air Crew Report 12454, Co-pilot 1st Lt. Palmer stated that all eleven of the crew members bailed out at approximately 22,000 feet and landed in the area SSW of Wiener Neustad to Neukirchen, Austria. He also stated that most received injuries as a result but none were serious. After about 14 hours after the crash, all of the crew had been captured and were gathered to be sent to Stalag Luft West – Oberusal for interrogation. The aircraft was said to have landed near Baden, Austria.
Alfred Joseph Deneault
2nd Lt. Alfred Joseph Deneault (O-2056599) was the pathfinder navigator on temporary duty with this crew. He was born on 5 February 1925 in New Bedford, MA, son of Alfred Deneault, Jr., Lieut. U.S. Coast Guard (Ret) and Rose (Gosselin) Deneault of New Bedford, MA. He graduated from St. Anthony’s Grammar School, Holy Family High School and spent a semester at the University of Akron during his training as an Aviation Cadet. He graduated from Ellington Field Navigation School as a Second Lieutenant, Aviation Navigator. He was assigned to the 825th Bomb Squadron of the 484th Bomb Group at Torrento, Italy. He was on his 32nd mission when the crash of his plane occurred.
He continued to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserve after the war and was eventually promoted to Captain.
He married Georgette J. Levasseur in 1950 and they had two sons. He was president of Purity Diaper Service which evolved into Purity Linen Services, a full service linen rental company serving Southern New England’s healthcare industry.
Deneault died on 28 November 2010 in New Bedford at age 85. He was buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, New Bedford, MA. He was a communicant of the Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish.
Ivan Noel Jordan
2nd Lt. Ivan Noel Jordan (O-722922) was a navigator. He was born on 1 April 1919 in Audubon County, IA, son of Alice Jordan of Denver, CO. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 20 February 1942 in Iowa. He married Evelyn V. (Hillard) Jordan who lived in Denver during the war. He was vice-president of Joslins, a department store. He chronicled his life as a prisoner-of-war in a short book, Kriegy Life. He described in detail his experiences of being shot down, capture, interrogation and forced march to Moosburg from notes he wrote on toilet paper during captivity. Jordan died at age 82 on 9 April 2001 in Lakewood, CO and was buried in Fairview Cemetery. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.