Kemmler, John A., SSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 748-Airplane Mechanic-Gunner, Flight Engineer
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, AAF MOS 748, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1943
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home Country
Year of Birth
Not Specified
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Kemmler, John A., 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
Not Specified
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
Ceginola, Italy

Casualty Date
Jan 11, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Sicily-Rome, Italy
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot G, Row 14, Grave 39

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen

 Ribbon Bar

Flight Engineer Badge
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 748, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 748, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  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
According to his NARA enlistment documents, John A. Kemmler was born in Germany, but was an American citizen when he enlisted on January 2, 1942. He is listed as having completed 3 years of high school, and employed in the pressman plate production occupation.

After enlisting as a private in the Army Air Forces, he was trained as a flight engineer. He was also given training as an aerial gunner. When these course were completed, he was assigned to a B-17 combat unit in North Africa, arriving there on August 19, 1943.

According to records, he flew at least 15 missions. On January 11, 1944, he was utilized as flight engineer/top turret gunner on a mission to bomb the harbor installations at Piraeus, Greece.

As the formation neared the target area, it encountered cloud conditions that forced it to fly through the clouds. In the clouds, wind forces were excessive, and icing conditions occurred. Two of the lead aircraft decided to abort, but turned into the path of the second element.

Two of the B-17s collided, shearing the entire tail section from one aircraft. Somehow, it landed in a clump of trees, and allowed the trapped tail gunner to escape. He was immediately captured, and remained a POW throughout the war. All the other crew members were killed.

Evidently these dead were buried, then later retrieved as they are now buried in various cemeteries around the world. SSgt Kemmler today lies in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy in Plot G, Row 14, Grave 39.
NARA Enlistment Records


SSgt John A. Kemmler was acting as the flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-17F # 42-3098, named "Skippy," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 1832 was issued for this loss. No loading list is given, but the crew roster can be obtained from the MACR. The crew is listed as:

Cpt Robert W. Goen, Jr.  p
1 Lt Henry J. Sudol  c-p
1 Lt Bruce E. Hicks  nav
1 Lt 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.

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