Last Known Activity
Norman Henry Apking was born in Garfield County, Nebraska in May of 1918. His parents were Henry E. and Carrie Apking. The US Census 1920 lists the family in Rockford, Nebraska while the US Census 1930 shows them in Precinct 7, Cedar, Nebraska.
No NARA enlistment records have been located, but an assumptive date for entry into the military would be 1942, based on training, rank, and assignments. Apking was selected for flight duty, and trained as a pilot. Upon being commissioned and awarded wings, he was assigned to crew training as a co-pilot. The crew finished training, and departed for England, arriving there on May 9, 1944. They flew one combat mission, on May 23, 1944, over Germany.
Their second mission came the next day - May 24, 1944. The target area was Berlin, Germany. The formation had difficulty in assembling, and so arrived at the target in trail. The formation, such as it was, was attacked by an estimated 200 enemy fighters. Fifteen B-17s were shot down, with nine coming from the 349th Bomb Squadron.
Tales abound concerning this aircraft being hit by a bomb dropped from a higher altitude, but actually, a FW-190 pilot mis-judged distance and collided with the B-17. Fire broke out, the aircraft went into a tight spin, and then crashed near the village of Itzstadt, Germany.
Ten bodies were recovered from the wreckage, according to German records. These were buried on May 27, 1944, in the South Cemetery in Neumeunster, Germany. The ceremonies were carried out by a priest and a German honor guard. After the war, the remains were retrieved, and moved to other cemeteries. After being buried in a temporary military cemetery, Lt Apking now rests in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium, in Plot A, Row 36, Grave 13,
Headstone and Interment Record Card for US Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil (signed by wife, Maxine A. Apking, 1945.)
Lt Marvin H. Apking was performing duty as the co-pilot on B-17G # 42-102635, unnamed, assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 5171 was issued for this loss. Crew rosters show the crew consisted of:
1 Lt Martin T. Hoskinson p
2 Lt Marvin H. Apking c-p
2 Lt Joseph C. Silvestro nav
2 Lt Norman G. Robitoy bomb
SSgt Thomas L. Sibert eng/tt gun
SSgt Jerome Miller r/o
Sgt Salvadore Romero btg
Sgt A.V. Perry Lwg
Sgt George Sneckus Rwg
Sgt Marlyn M. Schrader tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Lt Silvestro was a "fill-in" from the crew of Lt McKeague.
Sgt Perry's name was the initials of A.V., that stood for nothing.
Service photo source: