Last Known Activity
Loren C. Bowns was born in Flint, Michigan on August 28, 1922. His mother (Viola) is listed in the US Census 1940 as head of the family, and is marked as "Divorced." His father's name is unknown at this time.
Bowns enlisted in Detroit, Michigan on October 13, 1942. His enlistment forms show he had completed 3 years of high school, and was working as a tool maker.
He received training as an aerial gunner, and then was assigned to a bomber unit in North Africa in 1943. He flew at least 35 missions.
On January 11, 1944, he was part of a crew assigned to bomb the harbor facilities at Piraeus, Greece. Weather conditions deteriorated during the flight. Just as the formation reached the target area, 10/10 skies were encountered, along with excessive winds aloft and icing conditions.
Two of the lead aircraft decided to abort. But during their reversal of course, they flew into the path of the second element. Two pairs of B-17s collided, crashing and killing most of all airmen on board. These dead must have been buried locally, because after the war, most of them were buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a common grave.
Bowns, however, was returned to his family in 1948, and today lies in the Grace Lawn Cemetery in Flint, Michigan.
NARA Enlistment Records
Application for Headstone or Marker Record Cards (1948)
SSgt Loren C. Bowns was acting as tail gunner on B-17G #42-31396, not named, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.
No loading list is available, but a crew roster is listed in Missing Air Crew Report 1833. The crew on board consisted of:
1 Lt Joseph S. Dunbar p
Cpt Homer G. Mills, Jr. c-p
2 Lt Reed W. Dean nav
1 Lt Charles R. Glenn bomb
SSgt Don E. Brundage eng/tt gun
TSgt Hilary F. Helsabeck r/o
SSgt Adolph G. Bauman btg
SSgt Ward V. Phillips wg
SSgt Loren C. Bowns tail gunner
Ranks and grades as of mission date.