Last Known Activity
Eugene B. Fleming was born in Washington state around 1920. No census data has been found concerning his parents or himself.
Fleming enlisted on November 1, 1940, at Fort Lewis, Washington for a 1-year enlistment. His enlistment record states he enlisted as a private, had completed 4 years of high school, but gave no civilian occupation.
He was selected for flight duty and trained as an aerial gunner. He then was assigned to a combat unit, possibly in England. Later, some of the 301st Bomb Group were transferred to North Africa, and Fleming may have been one of the personnel.
On July 27, 1943, the target area was Capua, Italy, near Foggia. The bomb run went as expected. The bomb bay doors opened, and the bombs fell in trail.
Observers in the formation then noted the top turret was vacant (usually occupied by the flight engineer) and that the bomb bay doors were not closed. This led to speculation that a mishap had occurred, and the flight engineer was attempting to repair it.
Then, the aircraft suddenly nosed up and almost collided with another aircraft. The pilot "dumped the nose" and the aircraft went into a steep dive. The observers saw several parachutes out and deployed, as the aircraft plunged into the sea. There was, however, only one survivor.
No remains were recovered, and after 1 year, a Finding of Death (FOD) was issued for the crew. SSgt Fleming is remembered on the Walls of the Missing in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.
NARA enlistment Records
SSgt Eugene B. Fleming was acting as waist gunner on B-17F #42-3170, no name, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 339 was issued, although it merely identifies the aircraft, crew, and target. Details of loss provided by observers in the formation. Mission loading lists show the crew consisted of:
1 Lt Denis G. Booker p
2 Lt Robert T. Dix c-p
2 Lt Harvey P. Harrington nav
2 Lt Bernard Turansky bomb
SSgt William L. Hayes eng/tt gun
SSgt Seeburn V. Rosheger r/o
SSgt Jasper C. Pearson btg
SSgt Eugene B. Fleming wg
SSgt Fred S. Luke tail gun
SSgt Charles A. Hurlbutt photo
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Sgt Hayes was the only survivor