Day, John W., 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
1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1944
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
North Dakota
North Dakota
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Day, John W., 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
North Rockford
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
Cerignola, Italy

Casualty Date
Jan 11, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Saint Johns Cemetery - New Rockford, North Dakota
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Block 5, Lot 12, Grave L

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1944, 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
  1942-1943, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
John W. Day was born on August 4, 1921, in New Rockford, North Dakota to Warren D. and Elizabeth O'Keefe Day. Both the US Censuses 1930 and 1940 show the family residing in New Rockford.

Day enlisted at Fort Snelling, Minnesota on August 6, 1942. He had completed 4 years of high school, and was working as a sales clerk.

Picked for flight duty, he was trained as an aerial gunner. He was then assigned to a unit in North Africa. No listing of missions flown have been located for Day, but according to Air Medal count, he flew at least 30 missions.

On January 11, 1944, he was acting as the waist gunner on a combat crew taking part in a raid on the harbor facilities at Piraeus, Greece. While on the way to the target area, the formation was forced to fly into a dense cloud bank. Inside the clouds were excessive winds, and icing conditions were noted. Two of the leading element aircraft decided to abort, but turned across the path of the on-coming second element.

Accounts vary. It is stated that the 2 B-17s almost collided, but Williams was forced to bank steeply to the left, causing him to lose control and crash. Another source states Williams' aircraft actually hit one of the aircraft and exploded. The wreckage fell near Poretso, Greece.

All of the dead were retrieved by monks from a near-by monastery, and buried locally. The grave was not located until 1946, and the bodies were returned to the U.S. for burial. Four are buried in a common grave in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery; 2 are buried in the Long Island National Cemetery in a common grave; and SSgt Day is buried in the Saint John's Cemetery in New Rockford, North Dakota. His grave is at Block 5, Lot 12, Grave L.

NOTE: American Battlefield Monuments Commission has a listing stating he is buried in Italy. The grave in New Rockford could be a memory stone.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records


SSgt John W. Day was acting as the waist gunner on B-17F # 42-30357, not named. This aircraft is listed in the MACR as being from the 353rd Bomb Squadron, but it is not on their listing of aircraft.

Missing Air Crew Report 1831 was issued for this loss. Mission loading lists show the crew as:

1 Lt Richard D. Williams  p
2 Lt Thomas A. Shields  c-p
2 Lt Neil F. Daley  nav
2 Lt Jerome Elkin  bomb
SSgt Roland A. Ruisseau  eng/tt gun
TSgt Foster D. Rappleye  r/o
SSgt Thomas H. Harkey  btg
SSgt John W. Day  wg
SSgt James H. Young  tail gun
Sgt  Monte Ogens  photo

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Elkin, Rappleye, and Ogens survived, but became POWs.

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