Hope, Virgil E., 1st Lt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1035-Bombardier
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Officer)
Primary Unit
1942-1943, AAF MOS 1035, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1941 - 1943
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Hope, Virgil E., 1st Lt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
353ed Bomb Squadron
St. Donat, Algeria

Casualty Date
Apr 18, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - 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
  1943, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Bombardier Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1941-1942, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1035, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 1035, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1035, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Egypt-Libya Campaign (1942-43)
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
 Colleges Attended 
Oklahoma State University
  1937-1940, Oklahoma State University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1942-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Virgil E. Hope was born in Maysville, Oklahoma on November 9, 1918, a son of Lawrence L. and Alabama Basic Anderson Hope. Although the US Census 1920 lists the family in Elmore, the US Census 1930 and US Census 1940 shows them residing in Maysville. Oklahoma.

Hope enlisted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on October 28, 1941 as a private in the Army Air Forces. His enlistment documents state he had completed 3 yeas of college (unnamed, but later determined to be Oklahoma State University), and his civilian occupation lay in the actor/actress category. The document also states he was an enlisted man, within three months of discharge at that time.

Records indicate he married Willie Juanita Chandler, and had 2 children.

He was selected for flight duty, and given training as a bombardier. Upon completion of the training, he was commissioned, awarded wings, and assigned to a B-17 crew in training. Later, he deployed to England and flew several missions, mainly against targets in France.

In October, 1942, the 301st Bomb Group transferred a number of aircraft and crews to North Africa to assist the bombing campaign there. Moving as territory was recaptured, he moved to several bases while flying against North African and Italian targets.

On April 18, 1943, the crew was assigned as part of a formation to attack the marshalling railway yards at Palermo, Sicily. Approximately 20 miles from target, the formation was attacked by German fighters, and 2 ME-110s shot down Hope's aircraft. The #2 engine caught fire, and the bomber plunged into the sea, killing all personnel on board.

No recovery of remains was made, and all crew are remembered on the Walls of the Missing in the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia. There is also a memory stone for him in the Maysville Cemetery in Maysville, Oklahoma.

Lubbock (TX) newspaper, April 9, 1943
US Census 1920
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records


Lt Virgil E. Hope was the assigned bombardier on B-17F # 41-24371, named "Devils from Hell," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 16508 was issued, but contains only aircraft identification, crew listing, and that with #2 engine on fire, it crashed into the sea. Mission loading lists show personnel on board as:

1 Lt Bobby M. Godwin  p
1 Lt John W. Houck  c-p
2 Lt John H. Person  nav
1 Lt Virgil E. Hope  bomb
Sgt  Robert B. Imler  eng/tt gun
Sgt  Robert S. Littrel  r/o
Sgt  Arthur L. Nilges  btg
Sgt  Frank Spatafore  wg
Sgt  William M. Hawkins  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Some accounts show Lt Hope as co-pilot, but 301st Bomb Group records indicate bombardier in all sources.

NOTE: On October 5, 2015, the wreckage of the aircraft was discovered by an Italian dive team, approximately 4 miles off Palermo, Sicily, in 75 feet of water. No recovery of anything from the wreckage, including human remains, will be attempted as it is now classified as a "war grave."

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