Last Known Activity
James Duane Clark was born in Chariton, Iowa on February 8, 1916, as the son of Melvin R. and Mabel D. Clark. He graduated from Chariton High School in 1933, and went to Cleveland where he trained as a welder. He was then employed by Selma Drake Construction Company, and spent time working in Dutch Harbor, Alaska until the war began.
He enlisted in the military on February 23, 1943 and served as an enlisted man until he was accepted for pilot training on June 5, 1943. He received flight and advanced training at Greenville, Mississippi; Americus, Georgia; and George Field, Illinois where he graduated as part of Class 44-B. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and presented pilot's wings.
He married Barbara Maxine Sutton on February 16, 1944, and shortly thereafter deployed to England, assigned to the 563rd Bomb Squadron of the 388th Bomb Group, located at Knettishall (Field 136), England.
On August 24, 1944, on his fifth mission, he was flying as co-pilot of a B-17 piloted by 2Lt John J. Chimenti on a mission to bomb the Krupp Armament Factory at Magdeburg, Germany. The aircraft was hit by flak while making the bomb run, resulting in the loss of #2 engine. Fighting for control of the aircraft, Chimenti and Clark successfully brought the aircraft home to England. They each received the Distinguished Flying Cross for their actions.
Clark was promoted to 1 Lt on October 31, 1944. On November 9, 1944, Chimenti and crew were assigned to fly on a mission to Saarbruken, Germany. This would be their 33rd mission.
As the aircraft approached the Initial Point of the bomb run, moderate to heavy flak was encountered. The #4 engine caught fire, followed by a violent explosion which tore the aircraft in three pieces. Some of the crew managed to bail out safely, but 2 crewmen were killed.
Lt. Clark's body was recovered and returned to the U.S. where a double funeral was held in Chariton, Iowa, when Lt. Clark and his brother, Beryl, killed in action on January 11, 1945, while fighting with the 90th Infantry Division, were both laid to rest in Chariton, Iowa, Cemetery. Lt. Clark lies in Section K, Row 5, Lot 69.
The Chimenti crew flew their earlier missions in B-17G #44-6102, nicknamed "Cicero Kid." This was the aircraft in the August 1944 incident. Later, they were assigned a new aircraft, B-17G # 42-97102, also named "Cicero Kid."
No Missing Air Crew Report or USAAF Accident Report was issued in the loss of the aircraft on November 9, 1944.
The 388th Bomb Group mission list shows the crew was:
1 Lt John J. Chimenti p
1 Lt James D. Clark c-p
1 Lt William M. Foster nav
1 Lt Daniel F. Gilmore bomb
TSgt Arthur E. Weiss r/o
TSgt Gratborn H. Cooper eng/tt gun
SSgt Samuel M. Lomgtine btg
SSgt Willie H. Dew rwg
SSgt Michael J. Kuzel tail gun
SSgt W. W. Black lwg (not on board during the fatal mission)
Lts Chimenti and Clark were the 2 casualties.
NOTE: In Chimenti crew photo, personnel are:
Back, from left
Front, from left
Lentz (Lentz was regular bombardier, replaced by Gilmore on the last mission)
Service photo source: