Luke, Fred S., SSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
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
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Luke, Fred S., SSgt.

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
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
St. Donat, Algeria

Casualty Date
Jul 27, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Mediterranean Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Sicily-Rome, Italy
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

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
Fred S. Luke was born in Ogden, Utah on April 17, 1918, a son of Frederick John and Nellie Augustine Campbell Luke. Census data states his parents were deceased, and he was being raised by a guardian, Raymond Field. The US Census 1940 shows him in Salt Lake City.

Luke enlisted on May 25, 1941 at Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a private, and his enlistment papers further state he had completed 4 years of high school, and was employed as a skilled mechanic on motor vehicles.

He was selected for flight duty, and trained as an aerial gunner. He was assigned to a combat crew, supposedly in England in 1942. According to the custom at the time, he flew on at least 45 credited missions, although some of them were undoubtedly flown against targets in North Africa and Italy after transfer to North Africa.

On July 27, 1943. the target area was Capua, Italy, near Foggia. The bomb run was made in a normal fashion, and the bombs fell in trail. Observers within the formation noticed the bomb bay doors did not close, and that the top turret, usually manned by the flight engineer, was empty. This led to a speculation later at crew interviews that a malfunction had happened, and the engineer was attempting to correct it.

The aircraft suddenly nosed upward, almost colliding with another aircraft. The pilot pulled the nose down, the aircraft entered a steep dive, and fell into the sea. Observers accounts vary, but many reported seeing parachutes out. There was, however, only one survivor.

No remains were recovered, and after 1 year, the crew's status was changed from Missing In Action (MIA) to Finding of Death (FOD.) Sgt Luke is remembered with his comrades on the Walls of the Missing in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records


SSgt Fred S. Luke was the assigned tail gunner on B-17F #42-3170, not named, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 339 was issued, but only contains aircraft and crew identification, with target information. Mission loading lists agree 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.

At this stage of the war, most units awarded an Air Medal for each 5 missions credited, and a combat tour was 25 missions. Later, this tour length was increased to 50 missions, and the interval for the Air Medal went to 7 missions (or even 10). Units varied in their policies.

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