Michael, Robert L., 2nd Lt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Second Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1034-Navigator
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Officer)
Primary Unit
1943-1943, AAF MOS 1034, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
Service Years
1941 - 1943
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
Second Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
North Carolina
North Carolina
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Michael, Robert L., 2nd Lt.

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
Aug 17, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Rhone, France
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot C, Row 5, Grave 8

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1943, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Navigator Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Formal Schools and Training Courses301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1941-1942, Aviation Cadet Navigator Training Course
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1034, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1943, AAF MOS 1034, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 1034, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Egypt-Libya Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 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
Robert L. Michael was born in 1920 in North Carolina, according to his NARA enlistment record. His parents were Joseph E. and Ava B. Michael. The US Census 1930 shows the family residing in Wiley's Cove, Arkansas.

Michael enlisted in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 5, 1941 as an aviation cadet. His enlistment file states he had completed 4 years of college (unnamed), and confirms nativity and birth year. It also states he was employed as an architect.

After completing navigational training, and additional crew training for improving navigational skills such as night flights and formation flying, he was commissioned and awarded wings. He was then sent overseas.

On August 17, 1943, the 8th Air Force in England planned "deep penetration" missions into Germany in order to attack the ball-bearing factories at Regensburg and Schweinfurt. To create indecision, the planners ordered units in North Africa to attack German fighter fields in France.

No enemy aircraft rose to challenge the formation, but flak was intense and accurate. Over the target, Michael's aircraft was struck in the nose by a shell. The nose was blown off, killing the forward crew, and the aircraft exploded. Observers stated later they saw parachutes out, but could not agree on the number.

German reports show that 6 bodies were retrieved from the burnt wreckage of the plane. They were buried locally, but recovered after the war and moved to various cemeteries. Lt. Michal is buried in the American Rhone Cemetery in Draguignan, France. He lies in Plot C. Row 5, Grave 8.

US Census 1930
NARA Enlistment Records


Lt. Robert L. Michael was the assigned navigator on B-17F # 42-30314, named "Beautiful Baby," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 407 was issued for this aircraft/crew loss. Mission loading lists give the crew as:

1 Lt William J. Cunningham  p
2 Lt Lewis E. Howard  c-p
2 Lt Robert L. Michael  nav
2 Lt Milton W. Miller  bomb
TSgt Samuel Barnett  eng/tt gun
Sgt  Harold J. Jacobson  r/o
SSgt Sebastian C. Smith  btg
SSgt Alvin W. Roberts  wg
TSgt Charles E. Van Buren  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Jacobson, Roberts, and Van Buren were the only survivors. They were captured and held as POWs until war's end.

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