Last Known Activity
Ernest Block was born on December 20, 1923 in Webster, South Dakota. He was the son of Frank and Martha Cisewski Block. He had 2 sisters and 1 brother. He grew up in the Greenville area, and completed 8 years in the public school system. He then spent 2 years at St. Joseph School in Greenville.
He was inducted into the military on December 7, 1943. After basic training, he received aerial gunnery training at Laredo, Texas and further training at Biggs Field, Texas. He was assigned to a replacement combat crew and deployed with this crew to England in July 1944.
He flew 48 combat missions and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal twice for gallantry in action. On February 27, 1945, the crew was scheduled to participate in a bombing raid on German war facilities at Halle, Germany. En route to the target, the aircraft was hit by flak, and a wing fell off the aircraft. The aircraft went into a tight spin, but the pilot, co-pilot, and engineer managed to bail out safely. The aircraft exploded and crashed near Betzenhauser, Germany.
According to reports, the three crewmen who bailed out survived, and were captured. All remaining crew members were killed. Sgt Block's body was never recovered, but he is remembered on The Walls of the Missing at the American Cemetery in Henri-Chappelle, Belgium.
Sgt Ernest Block served as tail gunner on B-24J # 42-51518, unnamed, assigned to the 701st Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 12794 was issued, identifying the crew as:
2 Lt William I. Weaver p
2 Lt Theodore J. Spurgeon c-p
1 Lt Douglas E. Jerrold nav
Sgt Donald R. O'Fee nose gun
Sgt Howard K. Minor eng
Sgt Roland F. Castillo r/o
Sgt Paul X. Hogan rwg
Sgt Orlando R. Graper lwg
Sgt Ernest Block tail gun
Lts Weaver and Spurgeon, along with Sgt O'Fee were captured. All others were killed.
Service photo source: