Last Known Activity
According to his NARA enlistment record, John Franklin Barnousky, Jr was born in Luzerne, Pennsylvania in 1920. He enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps on August 10, 1942 at New York City, New York. His record also states he had completed 4 years of high school, and had worked as a stock clerk.
After basic training, he was sent to a technical school where he was instructed in aircraft maintenance and was awarded the MOS of flight engineer. He was then transferred to the 459th Bomb Group for further operational and combat training, including aerial gunnery courses. He was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to a combat crew headed by Lt Schonberger.
This crew ferried their aircraft to Italy in September 1944, arriving at Giulia Field. Here they were assigned to the 759th Bomb Squadron. Their first combat mission was flown in November 1944.
On February 28, 1945, while on a mission to bomb the Isarca Flack Alze railroad bridge near San Pietro, Italy, their aircraft was hit with three bursts of flak. The first two struck in the bomb bay, causing a fire. The third hit on the flight deck. The aircraft immediately began a violent spin, the wings snapped off, and the aircraft exploded, throwing the pilot and navigator clear.
The two airmen survived, but were taken prisoner. The remainder of the crew were killed.
SSgt Barnousky's body was recovered, and is now buried in the Florence American Cemetery in Florence, Italy. He lies in Plot E, Row 5, Grave 24.
NARA Enlistment records
The aircraft involved in this incident was B-24J # 44-48789, nicknamed "Edith," assigned to the 759th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report identifies the crew as:
1 Lt Claude M. Schonberger p
2 Lt Glenn G. Sundren c-p
2 Lt Robert A. Johnson nav
2 Lt Gene R. Guth bomb
SSgt John F. Barnousky, Jr eng
SSgt Glenn Pollard r/o
SSgt John N. Belt, Jr btg
SSgt William J. Marshall nose gun
Cpl Lee E. Freedman wg
SSgt William J. Burdette wg
Lts Schonberger and Johnson were the two men that survived.