1940-1941 — Forest Park, IL
(As of 2009) My mother Florence Conlon Novak (now 83) was one of Frank J Conlon's first cousin, and recalls a few details. Frank was known as ‘Frannie’ while growing up. He was the youngest in his family, and the only son. Frank enlisted in June 1941 (before Pearl Harbor), and his parents were much against the enlistment. He didn’t enlist in Chicago, he did it in Washington DC, apparently while visiting his sisters Rita and Bonnie who lived there.
His unit, the 301st Bombardment Group, deployed to England in 1942 to become part of the 8th Air Force, where they flew several missions. In October 1942, the 301st was sent to Africa to help form the new 12th Air Force. On their first mission against Rommel's Afrika Corps docks at Bizerte, Tunesia, his plane was shot down (along with another bomber) when they were attacked by 27 German fighters. There were conflicting reports in Air Force MACR 16038; initially the crew was reported missing, then when Allied ground forces captured Bizerte on May 8, 1943, a United Press dispatch on the same date reported the crew captured and hospitalized. However the Germans and Italians never reported the crew as POWs (via the International Red Cross), and on 28 Nov 1943 (one year later) the crew was declared MIssing and Presumed Dead.
Frank's name (along with his crew mates) is listed on the "Tablets of the Missing" at the North African American Cemetary near Carthage, Tunesia.
By Chris Novak, email@example.com, first cousin once removed of Frank J Conlon Jr.