Last Known Activity
Robert W. Goen, Jr. was born in Millsap, Texas on September 5, 1921 to Robert, Sr., and Bertha Goen.
Goen enlisted in Houston, Texas on January 20, 1942 as an aviation cadet. According to his enlistment forms, he had completed 1 year of college, unnamed in the documents, and was working as an unskilled mechanic or repairman. Another source gives his college as the University of Texas - Arlington, Class of 1940.
Goen was trained as a pilot, commissioned, awarded wings, and sent to transitional training on B-17 aircraft. Then, he was assigned to North Africa, where, according to reports, he flew 50 missions.
On January 11, 1944, he was part of a bombing raid on Piraeus Harbor, Greece. As the formation neared the target area, it encountered large cloud banks. Entering the clouds, it found excessive winds and icing conditions. Two of the leading element aircraft decided to abort.
As the turned, they flew directly into the second element emerging from the clouds. Goen's aircraft struck another, shearing the tail assembly from the aircraft. The aircraft became uncontrollable and crashed near the target.
But one of the miracles of war happened. The tail section, with the tail gunner trapped inside, "fluttered" to the ground some 19,000 feet below, and landed in a grove of small trees, allowing the tail gunner to emerge unscathed. He was immediately captured, and was a POW for the remainder of the war.
Evidently, the dead were recovered and buried locally, for in 1948, Captain Goen was returned to his family for burial. He now lies in the Goen Cemetery in Millsap, Texas.
NARA Enlistment Records
Application for Headstone or Marker Records Card (1948)
Captain Robert W. Goen, Jr, was the assigned pilot on B-17F #42-3098, named "Skippy," assigned to the 353d Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 1832 was issued for this report, but is reproduced as dark and unintelligible for the most part. However, the crew roster can be read, and the crew aboard was:
Cpt Robert W, Goen, Jr p
1 Lt Henry J. Sudol c-p
1 Bruce E. Hicks nav
1 Robert B. Fassett bomb
SSgt John A. Kemmler eng/tt gun
TSgt Lucio A. Pittoni r/o
SSgt Leonard E. Matkey btg
SSgt Eldon C. Steerman wg
SSgt James A. Raley tail gunner
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
SSgt Raley was the only survivor.