Photos (3) Add Images
Places mentioned on this page
Connected Pages Add Page
Links Add Link
Share Kendrick's Memorial page on Facebook
About this page
Anyone can contribute to this page. Please sign in or sign up—it's free.
Kendrick R "SONNY" Bragg, WWII "B-17 Miracle"
1943 | British Isles
B-17 Pilot, Lt Kendrick R Bragg; 97th Bom,b Group Heavy, 414th Bomb Squadron in England.
B-17, The "ALL AMERICAN" also quotes as the "Big American" ....
B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG) Crew
Pilot- Ken Bragg Jr.
Copilot- G. Boyd Jr.
Navigator- Harry C. Nuessle
Bombardier- Ralph Burbridge
Engineer- Joe C. James
Radio Operator- Paul A. Galloway
Ball Turret Gunner- Elton Conda
Waist Gunner- Michael Zuk
Tail Gunner- Sam T. Sarpolus
Ground Crew Chief- Hank Hyland
Lt. Kendrick "Sonny" Bragg, a pilot with the 97th BG/414th BS stationed in England, (Combat Mission- North Africa) who flew the B-17 plane "Big American". On 1 Feb. '43, after dropping their bomb load, the plane was hit by an ME109, a German Fighter. The wing of the plane lodged in the rear of the B-17and sheared the plane almost in two. Lt. Bragg and his crew decided to try and fly it back home and they did!. After landing at their field the tail end fell off when workmen crawled up to investigate the damage. He is said to have been the inspiration for the famous song, "On a Wing and a Prayer." ************************************************* WWII flying ace, native Savannahian, dead at 81 Kendrick R. "Sonny" Bragg, the man who brought in a crippled B-17 during World War II, saving its entire crew, died Wednesday in North Carolina. He was 81. Bragg, who was born in Savannah and graduated from Savannah High School, was a decorated athlete in peacetime and a decorated pilot in war. He attended Duke University and played on the 1938 Rose Bowl team. He later attended the University of Miami on a diving scholarship. "He was an outstanding athlete," said Jane Porter, a long-time friend of the Bragg family who lives in Irvine, Texas. But he is most famous for his piloting prowess during the war, when he served in the Air Force as the pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress. He flew in the first American raid from England to the European mainland in the Eighth Air Force. After letting his bombs go over enemy targets, he would occasionally shout over his earphones "Boy-o-boy, we got 'em today! Boy, we really got 'em," he told a Savannah newspaper reporter in April 1943. His plane, "The All-American," became famous when, after a midair collision with an attacking German Messerschmitt, he flew his crew to safety. "Although the whole tail was wobbling as if it was made of rubber," Bragg brought the plane in for a perfect landing, according to an Associated Press dispatch from February 1943. According to aircraft experts who looked at the plane, it should not have been able to fly. After the landing, when somebody opened the door of the plane, the entire tail fell off, according to the report. Sam Sarpolus, the rear gunner in the plane at the time of the attack, told the Associated Press in 1943 the Messerschmitt attacked them head-on. That was common during the first B-17 missions, said James Munday, a former Air Force colonel who also flew B-17s during the war. Later models of the B-17 included nose turrets that made them less vulnerable to frontal assaults. Bragg received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during the war. The song "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer" was written to commemorate his heroic landing. Munday, who lives in Savannah, said he didn't know Bragg personally, but he's familiar with both the famous landing and the song. Bragg has been featured in exhibits at the Mighty 8th Air Force Heritage Museum. Porter said she came to Savannah and visited the museum last year. "It was fascinating. That's a very well-done museum," she said. After the war, Bragg graduated from Princeton University with a degree in architecture. He worked in New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the moved to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, where he practiced architecture for 30 years. He died at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C.
********* Miracle in the Air over German Enemy Territory *************
Placed 1 April, 2012, Barbi Ennis Connolly, Additional Information and/ or photo's are welcome. PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com