Foley, John D., TSgt

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Technical Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 409th Bombardment Group, Light
Service Years
1941 - 1946
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Technical Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Illinois
Illinois
Year of Birth
1918
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Harry McCown (Mac) to remember Foley, John D. (Johnny Zero), TSgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Chicago
Last Address
Banning, CA

Date of Passing
Dec 21, 1999
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
burial unknown

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin


 Unofficial Badges 

Air Ace


 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Air Force Memorial (AFM)
  2015, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified
   
Other Comments:

John D. Foley served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He was the inspiration of the popular 1943 song "Johnny Got a Zero".[1]


Foley enlisted in November 1941.[2] After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to a non-combat role with the 22nd Bomb Group stationed in Australia. His diligent cleaning of the machine guns of a B-26 Marauder caught the attention of the bomber's pilot, Lieutenant Walter Krell.[3] As the top turret gunner was injured, Foley became his replacement, despite having no aerial gunnery training.[1][2]


After a quick introduction to the equipment and procedures and one practice mission, Foley found himself on his first combat mission two days later, a raid against shipping near Rabaul on May 24, 1942.[3] He shot down an A6M Zero,[2] even though he had not even been taught how to use the gunsight.[3] Two weeks later, he was credited with two more over Lae.[2] International News Service war correspondent Pat Robinson wrote an article about him and dubbed him "Johnny Zero".[3]


The song "Johnny Got a Zero" was released as sheet music in 1943, lyrics by Mack David and music by Vee Lawnhurst, and topped out at #4 on the Variety list for the week of April 28.[4] An a capella rendition by the Song Spinners, "Johnny Zero", stayed on Billboard magazine's charts from June to August, peaking at #7.[4] In the song, Johnny does poorly in school, with the other children mocking him with "Johnny got a zero" every time he fails a test. However, when he grows up and becomes a fighter pilot, the words take on an entirely different meaning.[4]


Foley flew on 31 more missions in the Pacific War, sharing credit for at least six confirmed victories and surviving three crashes (in the second, he was the sole survivor).[1][2] After contracting malaria, he was sent back to the United States in 1943 to undertake a promotional tour and become a gunnery instructor.


He applied to fight in Europe, and flew another 31 missions with the 309th Bomber Squadron as a gunner in a B-24 Liberator in only 60 days.[1][5] He volunteered for a third tour of duty, but the war ended.


   

 Ribbon Bar


Aerial Gunner Badge


 
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
22nd Bombardment Group, Medium5th Air Force93rd Bombardment Group, Medium8th Air Force
Bombardment Units
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 611, 22nd Bombardment Group, Medium
  1942-1943, 5th Air Force
  1943-1945, AAF MOS 611, 93rd Bombardment Group, Medium
  1944-1945, 8th Air Force
  1944-1945, 409th Bombardment Group, Light
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater
  1943-1943 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-26 Marauder  B-24 Liberator  
  1942-1943, B-26 Marauder
  1944-1945, B-24 Liberator
Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011