Spatafore, Frank, Sgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1942-1943, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1941 - 1943
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Spatafore, Frank, Sgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
353rd 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

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner 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 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1942, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 611, 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
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1942-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Frank Spatafore was born on June 16, 1921 in West Virginia. Nothing else has been located concerning his parentage or early childhood.

He enlisted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 5, 1941 as a private in the Army Air Forces. His NARA enlistment file states he had completed 4 years of high school, was employed as a cook, and was single.

He received training as an aerial gunner, then was assigned to a B-17 combat crew in training for more familiarization with aerial gunnery techniques. He deployed to England, was assigned to the crew led by Lt Godwin, and flew on several missions, mainly over France.

In October, 1942, the crew was among those selected for transfer to North Africa to take part in the bombing campaign the Allies opened there. He flew with the crew on missions over North Africa. On April 18, 1943, this crew was scheduled to participate in a raid on the railway yards in Palermo, Sicily.

The formation was approximately 20 miles from the target when it was attacked by enemy fighters. Two ME-110s singled out this aircraft as a target, and raked it with cannon shells. The #2 engine began burning, and the aircraft crashed into the sea, killing all the crew.

No remains were ever recovered, and Sgt Spatafore is 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 National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Crest, Pennsylvania. It stands at Section MI, Site 3.
NARA Enlistment Records


Sgt Frank Spatafore was the assigned waist gunner 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 ID, crew lists, and the notation that the aircraft crashed into the sea with engine on fire. Mission loading lists show the crew as:

1 Lt Bobby M. Godwin  p
1 Lt John W. Houck  c-p
2Lt 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.

NOTE: On October 5, 2015, the wreckage was found by a dive team in 75 feet of water, about 4 miles from Palermo. Nothing will be attempted to be salvaged, as the wreckage has been designated a "war grave."

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