Chelminiak, Richard L., 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
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Chelminiak, Richard L., SSgt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
El Paso, Indiana
Last Address
353rd Bomb Squadron
Cerignola, Italy

Casualty Date
Jan 21, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Mediterranean Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Rhone, France
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Walls of the Missing

 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, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, 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 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
Richard L. Chelminiak was born in El Paso, Indiana in 1924. His parents were Leo and Helen Chelminiak.

Chelminiak enlisted in Chicago, Illinois on October 27, 1942. His NARA enlistment file states he had completed 3 years of high school, and was working as a sales clerk.

After basic training, he was trained as an aerial gunner, and assigned to a bomber unit in North Africa. He flew at least 15 missions. On January 21, 1944, he was part of a crew assigned to a raid on the airdrome located at Salon De Provence, France.

As the formation approached the target, the aircraft with Chelminiak aboard encountered trouble. For some reason, the # 3 engine began smoking. The pilot fell out of formation and was immediately attacked by enemy fighters as a straggler. Although hits were inflicted by the enemy, the aircraft appeared under control, yet began a slow, sweeping spiral, and was ditched or crashed about 20 miles south of Toulon, France.

Observers in the formation later stated that the crew was spotted in life rafts on a course to Marseilles, France. None were ever seen again. No remains were recovered. The crew was listed as Missing in Action and later, declared dead. Sgt. Chelminiak is remembered on the Walls of the Missing in the Rhone American Cemetery in Draguignan, France.
Star (South Bend, Indiana newspaper) issue of 23 March 1944, pg 2


Sgt Richard L. Chelminiak was acting as the ball turret gunner on B-17F # 42-30472, not named, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Mission loading list does not contain one crewman, but Missing Air Crew Report 1952 does. The MACR crew roster shows the crew as:

2 Lt Howard W. Ryan  p
2 Lt Paul C. Peters  c-p
1 Lt Alvin P. Goldstein  nav
2 Lt Baldwin J. Krober  bomb
TSgt Kenneth E. Canady  eng/tt gun
TSgt Joseph J. Buschko  r/o
Sgt  Richard L. Chelminiak  btg
SSgt Harley A. Kelly  wg
SSgt James T. McBride  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

TSgt Kenneth E. Canady is not listed on the loading lists in 301st Bomb Group records.

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