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T/Sgt Raymond D Lankford, Gunner/B-25's, 321stBG,447thBS
1943 | Africa/Italy
Raymond D Lankford, B-25 Tailgunner/MTO, WW II
1943 | Africa
Ray was a B-25 Flight Engineer and Tail Gunner !
TailGunners in 1943...Yes the 321st BG, and 447th BS had tail gunners........in the Knapp group of Feb. '43 ...in the formation, Raymond Lankford flew with Shapiro as Eng., but soon moved to the SNAFU with the Brinkley Brothers (pilot/copilot), Wm Coursen, ..........". On April 13, 1943, Ray Lankford , tail-gunner of Waco Texas, claims ME 109. He saw two enemy aircraft...., peel off and Sgt. Lankford fired 100 rounds into it. The enemy plane began to emit smoke, and dive to the ground. This claim was verified by T. S. Stanton, of the same ship, who saw it hit the ground." ( Quote, War Diary for 321st BG) Ray Lankford... also shot down another on May 28th, '43.
Ray's (has passed) and his son Steve, said " My Dad said it pulled up and started to peel away....and he had a clear shot at the belly." In the news article, Ray quoted " The sky was full of fighters and the barrel of my gun got pretty hot that day. I got one of the fighters and saw him go down in flames !"
Raymond Lankford, "321stBG,447thBS, "Survival Kit"
1943 | Africa
About Ray Lankford May 05, 2006
Subject: (Survival kit from son, Steve) Hey Barbara, I used to have the canvas bag and in it was a map that was printed on a silk panel about 3' x 3'. Unfortunately, it has been lost over the years. I talked to Luther Lalum recently. I am sending him some of the photos and hopefully they will stir his memory some. He does not go online so he is going to go to his Grandkids house and have them find the website for him. I will get back to him fairly soon. Steve Lankford (Ray's Son)
Ray Lankford's Pup/Poochie ! 321st Bomb Group, B-25 Mitchells
Italy | 1943
321st Bomb Group "Perserverence, Vision and Duty"
Ray's Dog "POOCHIE"
The Officers helped and Ray was able to bring Poochie back HOME with him.
Ray Lankford flew over the Atlantic in the Original Knapp Group, in the Lt. Leonard Shapiro Ship, #41-29775. . . as with many of the men, switched around until they had found their place. Ray flew almost all of his 50 Missions with the Brinkley Brothers in the SNAFU #41-12930. Hamilton (Big Brink) and Wilton (Little Brink) flew as Pilot and Co-Pilot much of the time. Being a Tail Gunner, Ray was accredited with shooting down 2 enemy ships, the first, 28 May, '43. . .Mission OUDNA. . .an ME 109 with a yellow nose. Then again on 13 April, '43. . .BoRizzo Airdrome, attacked more than 30 fighters, Ray shot down another enemy aircraft.
Ray told his son, Steve, that his guns were "hot" that day !
On 13 Sept. '43, on Ray's 50th Mission, he was wounded by flak and awarded the Purple Heart. Ray went home 25th Oct. '43. Poochie was a big part of his life, she could be seen sitting out there by his ship ready to go. Poochie flew with Ray in the Tail until one particularly "bad Mission" and then she refused to get back in.
After she had puppies, Ray said she was "busted back to Private" for that ! The Officers helped and Ray was able to bring Poochie HOME with him. They were featured in the LA Times.
The Numerical Designation of the Group, Bombs falling, three, two, one.
Ray Lankford, Walter Cantrell
1943 | Africa
Walter Cantrell told me that when I described that the Brinkley's came in on one wheel, and Steve Lankford's Dad, Ray (Tail-gunner) told this, That he came in so slow, and smoothly that the ship just stopped and the wing touched the ground and made a complete loop ! Walter said this was called a "Ground Loop !"