Bruce, John B., Capt

 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1091-Pilot, B-17
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1942-1942, AAF MOS 1091, 32nd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1941 - 1942
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Bruce, John B., Capt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
32nd Bomb Squadron

Casualty Date
Nov 28, 1942
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Mediterranean Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial - Carthage, Tunisia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Walls of the Missing

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1942, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Pilot Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Aviation Cadet Flight School301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  32nd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1941-1942, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1091, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1091, 32nd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Egypt-Libya Campaign (1942-43)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1942-1942, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
John B. Bruce was born in Iowa in 1918, according to enlistment documents. The US Census 1940 shows him residing in Pasadena, California.

He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet program at March Field, California on April 22, 1941. His enlistment papers state he had completed 2 years of college (unnamed), and was working as a general office clerk.

After completing the course, he was commissioned, awarded wings, and sent to transitional training on multi-engined aircraft. Later, he was assigned to combat crew training before deploying to North Africa (via England) in 1942.

On November 28, 1942, the crew was assigned to bomb several targets in the Bizerte, Tunisia area. En route to the target, the aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters and shot down. It crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. There were no survivors, and no bodies were recovered.

According to records, this was the first 301st Bomb Group aircraft lost in combat action due to enemy fighters.

Captain Bruce is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing in the North Africa American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia.
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records



Captain John B. Bruce was the assigned pilot of B-17F # 41-24363, named "Bad Penny," assigned to the 32nd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 16197 was issued. Mission loading lists show the crew as:

Cpt John B. Bruce  p
2 Lt Robert Earl  c-p
2 Lt Charles Tannehill  nav
2 Lt Charles Knop  bomb
SSgt Henry P. Hughes, Jr.  eng/tt gun
Sgt   Leonard McGriff  r/o
SSgt Alpheus Backus  wg
Sgt Samuel Scott  wg
SSgt Merle Gilger  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

SSgt Gilger's name is recorded as "Merle" in the loading list: however, all other records reflect" Merril."

The only known photo of this crew is one in England where King George VI is congratulating the crew. Unfortunately, no crew identifications are available.

The name "Bad Penny" was selected by the crew because a "Bad Penny always comes back."

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