Last Known Activity
Hayward S. Alexander was born in Oklahoma in 1918. His parents were Fordham and Prasice Alexander. The US Census 1930 shows Hayward as a nephew, living with his aunt, in Dodge, Kansas.
He enlisted in 1942. Selected for flight duty, he was trained as a radio operator. After completing his training, he was sent overseas in 1944, and joined a bomber unit in Italy. According to award traditions, he flew at least 15 credited combat missions.
On February 1, 1945, he was part of a Lead crew sent to bomb the Moosbierbaum oil refinery near Vienna, Austria. Over the target, the aircraft was hit by flak, severely damaging the aircraft. The co-pilot was sent aft to assess the damage and jettison the bomb load. He returned with the utterance, "It's on fire, and they are all dead."
The pilot instructed the crew to bail out, but only six men jumped. All reached the ground safely, and while two evaded and returned to duty, four were captured by the Germans. The dead were recovered and buried, with only three identified, in a local cemetery on February 5, 1945.
In October, 1946, these remains were recovered by Allied forces and moved to Allied cemeteries. The unknown was reburied, but in 1946, it was exhumed and identified, then moved to an American cemetery.
Sgt Alexander was moved to the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France where he lies in Plot B, Row 13, Grave 40.
Headstone Inscription and Interment Record Card
Sgt Hayward S. Alexander was acting as radio operator on B-17G # 42-97736, not named, assigned to the 419th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 12078 was issued for this loss. Mission loading lists show the crew was composed of:
Mjr Frank J. Muskus p
1 Lt Bernard G. Dick p
2 Lt Robert C. Schlarb nav
1 Lt Harvey E. Baer nav
Sgt Willie G. Horton eng/tt gun
Sgt Hayward S. Alexander r/o
Sgt James B. Boyle wg
Sgt Walter L. Stubak wg
2 Lt David A. Hotem tail gun/obs
This was evidently a Lead crew on a Lead aircraft. Two navigators were standard. With no ball turret gunner listed, it can be assumed the plane was radar-equipped and one navigator was a radar (Mickey) navigator. In the case of Lead aircraft, a command pilot would fly as First pilot, and the normally assigned co-pilot was used as tail gunner/observer.
Ranks and grades as of mission date.