Frank Finklang

1st Lt. Frank J Finklang Jr was assigned to the 301st BG 419th Squadron.
Military Occupational Specialty (MOS): Bombardier.

President 301st BG/WG ASSN
Lt. Frank Finklang Graduation - 301st BG, Army Air Corps Library and Museum

Lt. Frank Finklang Graduation

FRANK J FINKLANG,LT/COL, USAF RET. Born 30 April,1924 in St Louis, MO. He volunteered for the ERC on 18 June 1943 to be assured of getting into the Aviation Cadet Program. He completed Bombardier training with Class 44-9 at Big Springs ,TX on 1 July 1944 and was assigned to B-17 Crew Training at Avon Park , FL .The new crew was then transferred to Hunter Field ,Savannah, GA to pick up a new B-17G and fly it overseas via Dow Field ,ME, Gander ,Newfoundland, the Azores, Marrakech, Tunis and finally Italy on 7 November ,1944.

We were assigned to the 15th AF,301st Bomb Gp ,419Bomb Sq based 8 miles west of Foggia. The living conditions were primitive , tents in an olive grove and a canvas cot to sleep on without heat during the winter. Due to a mix-up in the Battle Order on 7 Feb.1945 I was scheduled to fly with a new crew on a maximum effort mission to hit the Lobau Oil Refinery at Vienna. My crew was shot down on the bomb run as I trailed them by 10 seconds as part of a composite squadron. The Co-pilot, Lt John L DaCrema was killed by FLAK as he descended in his chute. The rest of the crew were all POW’s. Later, on a supposed Milk Run, to Maribor RR Bridge flown on Easter Sunday,1 April,1945 flak knocked out our number two engine on the bomb run forcing me to salvo the bombs. Unable to feather the prop, severe vibrations developed and the danger of prop separation and fire were immanent. We made an emergency landing at Zara on the coast of Yugoslavia, at an emergency field established for those damaged planes that couldn’t fly across the Adriatic, back to Italy. A C-47 was sent to recover two crews and a P-38 pilot . I considered this a very FULL day. I had 23 sorties credited at the end of the war in Europe. I was transferred to the 99th Bomb Gp,346 Sq on 19 May 1945 to be part of the Air Force of Occupation but later flew back to US 29 September ,1945 via Naples, Marrakech, Dakar ,Natal, Georgetown ,Puerto Rico ,finally arriving at West Palm Beach,FL.,Morrison Field on 10 October. We turned in most of our GI equipment and got orders for 45 day rehabilitation leave. I was welcomed back in St Louis and spent many happy days renewing friendships but then flew to Santa Ana,CA for assignment to Pilot Training. Unfortunately it had just been closed due to an excess of the needs of the service. I was offered a Reserve Commission and advised to apply for active duty when pilot training was opened at a later date. (I did get my pilot license in 1947 by using part of my GI Bill.)I flew with the Air Reserve until Recall in April 1951-53.

I flew as a Bombardier Instructor in the B-25 at Mather AFB and later as a class room and flying instructor in the new Single Observer Cadet Program at Harlingen AFB. I then returned to flying in the Air Reserve at Scott AFB In the B-26 and C-119 aircraft until assigned to Intelligence Officer Training . I transferred to the MO ANG as Wing Intelligence Officer in Sept.1959 for the 131st TAC Fighter Wing. Recalled to active duty during the Berlin Wall Crisis 1 Oct 1961-4 Sep 1962. The Wing was a tenant on Toul Air Base , Nancy , France. We were relieved by the newly formed 366thTac Ftr Wing and rotated to home base in St Louis.

I later reverted to Retired Reserve status on 7 Feb 1973 and retired from the USAF as LT Col on 30 April 1994. Awards include: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, EAME Campaign Ribbon with five Battle Stars, WWII Victory Medal , American Theater Ribbon and Reserve Medal. In civilian life I retired after 32 years as a manager at Defense Mapping Agency , Aerospace Center, in St Louis. My wife of 56 years ,Alpha ,died 13 April,2007 leaving six children and 14 grandchildren.

Alpha and Frank Finklang - 301st BG, Army Air Corps Library and Museum

Alpha and Frank Finklang

Frank and family - 301st BG, Army Air Corps Library and Museum

Frank and family

The following information on Frank Finklang is gathered and extracted from military records. We have many documents and copies of documents, including military award documents. It is from these documents that we have found this information on 1st Lt. Finklang. These serviceman's records are nowhere near complete and we are always looking for more material. If you can help add to Frank Finklang's military record please contact us.

Rank Order Date Award Ribbon & Device

F/O

32

01/02/1945

AM

Air Medal (AM)

2nd Lt.

2224

04/09/1945

AM/1OLC

Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

11/7/1944
1/2/45 15th AAF General Order # 32 Air Medal For missions between 11/22/44 and 12/20/44

Where is Lt. John L. DaCrema? PDF


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