1943 — Italy
John J Halko;
*** John J Halko was born 25 November, 1919 in Homestead, Allegheny County, PA and passed on 7 May, 1982 at the age of 63. John was residing at 408 Emerson Ave. Homestead Park, PA at enlistment on 4 April, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pa. His AUS Serial Number is 33 260 575. John completed high school with a Commercial Diploma from Munhall High, Munhallboro, Pa. in 1939. He was working at the Carnegie Ill. Steel Corp. 8th Ave, Munhall, Pa. as the supervisor of 14 men and was an assistant to the foremen and trained new men to their jobs. John was also in charge of time-reports and production. ("Carnegie-Illinois Steel Company" was actually United States Steel Corporation in 1939, the U.S. Steel was founded in 1901 by combining Andrew Carnegie's Carnegie Steel Company with Federal Steel Company and National Steel Company. Historical Steel research by his son John, please see links below the Map)
"In the Army Now".... John was trained at ACTS, Lowrey Field in Armament and OTU, Waterboro, SC in Gunnery. Private Halko went to basic training, A C, and then Cpl Halko learned to be an Armorer and then S/S Armorer/Gunner, AP 613, .... John's other specialties were Cook and Mess Sergeant.
321st Bomb Group, 446th Bomb Squadron, B-25 Mitchell Medium Bombers. S/Sgt John J Halko John was eventually assigned to Army Air Corp and then the 321st Bomb Group at Columbia, SC and flew across the Atlantic Ocean in the "now famous" General Bob Knapp's Flight Over" . . . . the 1st crossing, the Southern Route in a single mass without loss! It was called the "HOP" from Morrison Field, Florida, to Puerto Rico, Belem, Natal, (etc.) *** 1440 miles of nothing but water *** over to the Ascension Island and up the coast of North Africa to the Mediterranean Theatre. (leaving 12 Feb. 1943 and arriving Africa 25 Feb. 1943)
Armorer Gunner, Airplane; Operated as Tail Aerial Gunner in B-25 airplane on 11 Combat Missions. Cleaned and maintained 50 caliber machine guns. Also loaded bombs. John was then assigned to the ground crew as a Mess Sgt and departed the MTO on 9 Aug. 1945.
Stories and photo's are coming from John's proud son, John A Halko.
PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com Barbi Ennis Connolly, 319th and 321st BG Historian in the 57th Bomb Wing and Historical Researcher for WWII.