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Ralph E. Taylor, Jr.
7 July 1944 | Bernberg, Germany
Ralph E. Taylor, Jr. was born 21 July 1921, in Oklahoma. He graduated from Bartlesville High School in 1939.
Taylor joined the Army Air Corps and went through pilot training.
Assigned to 8th Air Force, 392nd Bombardment Group, 579th Bomb Squadron as a co-pilot on a B-24 Liberator. The group was activated in January 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona, equipped with B-24 Liberators, trained at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas and Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico.
The squadron left the United States on 25 July 1943, and arrived in England on 30 July 1943. They were based at USAAF Station #118 at Wendling near the village of Beeston in Norfolk, England.
On 9 September 1943, Taylor flew his first combat mission against enemy forces at Drucat Airfield near Abbeville, France. He also flew a bombing mission against targets at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer on 6 June 1944, during the D-Day invasion on "Omaha Beach" at Normandy, France.
On 7 July 1944, he flew in the right seat as the co-pilot aboard a B-24H Liberator (nicknamed "Ski-Nose") serial #42-52160 on a mission to bombard Luftwaffe aircraft at Bernberg, Germany.
Just before bombs away, his plane was hit by enemy aircraft in the bomb bay area which caused a fire. The aircraft dropped out of formation and went down under control to around 10,000 feet and then exploded. German Report #KU2434, identified his plane as crashing at the edge of Junkers Airbase-Bernberg, 500 meters off the front hangar.
Listed as killed in action (KIA), German reports note that Taylor was buried in the village cemetery at Bernberg, Germany. After the war, his body was returned and was interred at the White Rose Cemetery in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.