Last Known Activity
Clarence C. Bixler was born in Ohio on December 15, 1919. His parents were Corbie Baltzer and Emma Pearl Lutton Bixler. The US Census 1920 shows him as 1 month-old in Pike, Ohio. The 1930 and 1940 US Census shows him at home with the family in Fairfield, Michigan. He attended Weston High School.
He enlisted on October 28, 1941 as a private in the Army Air Corps. His NARA enlistment form states he had completed 2 years of high school, and was a machinist. Other sources state this employment was with the Simplex Paper Corporation.
He was selected as an aviation cadet, and began his training in Blythe, California in April, 1942. He also received instructions in several other California sites before reporting to Pyote, Texas as a B-17 pilot. Here, he finished training and was awarded wings and a commission in July, 1943.
He was assigned to an operational unit overseas, and flew his first and only combat mission on November 26, 1943, with the Cote crew. His aircraft was last seen 10 kilometers west of Trexel Island over the North Sea. It was flying at 12,000 feet altitude, seemingly under control, but with the landing gear extended. It later crashed at Den Helder, Netherlands, just in the North Sea. All crew members were killed.
Lt. Bixler is remembered at the American Cemetery in Margraten, Holland on the Walls of the Missing.
US Census 1920
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Lt Bixler was co-pilot of B-17F # 42-29955, named "Mr. 5 by 5," assigned to 427th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 1324 and mission loading lists show the crew to have been composed of:
Cpt Addell A. Cote p
1 Lt Clarence C. Bixler c-p
1 Lt Wilbur R. Barnhill nav
1 Lt John W. Hull bomb
TSgt John R. Arter eng/tt gun
TSgt Vaughn Reaves r/o
SSgt Cecil M. May btg
SSgt John M. Micek lwg
SSgt Theadore Gomes rwg
SSgt Paul Gunsauls tail gun
Mission loading list shows Cote's rank as 1 Lt: all other 303rd Bomb Group references state Captain.
Lt. Bixler is remembered on the Walls of the Missing at the American Cemetery in Margraten, Holland. In addition, there is a memory stone in the Lyons Cemetery in Fulton County, Ohio.
NOTE: There is a possibily that Lt. Bixler flew more combat missions. A family inquiry asks for information concerning a Lt. Clarence C. Bixler who was a pilot on B-26 # 41-31612, named "Mr. 5 by 5," assigned to the 396th Bomb Group, 565 Bomb Squadron. No information found by his researcher has been able to confirm (or disprove) any information on this request.
Service photo source: