Payne, Joseph H., Jr., Capt

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1034-Navigator
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1944, AAF MOS 1034, 350th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
Service Years
1942 - 1944
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home Country
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Payne, Joseph H., Jr., Capt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
350th Bomb Squadron
Thorpe-Abbots, United Kingdom

Casualty Date
Apr 28, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Normandy, France
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot F, Row 11, Grave 16

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

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

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 Ribbon Bar

Navigator Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)Formal Schools and Training Courses100th Bombardment Group, Heavy350th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
  1942-1942, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1942-1944, Aviation Cadet Navigator Training Course
  1944-1944, AAF MOS 1034, 100th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1944-1944, AAF MOS 1034, 350th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
 Colleges Attended 
University of Kentucky
  1938-1942, University of Kentucky
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Joseph H. "Bubbles" Payne, Jr.  was born in Coblenz, Germany on February 1, 1921.  His parents were Joseph H., Sr, and Gertrude Payne. He arrived in the U.S. with his parents on the SS Cambrai in New York in 1922. The US Census 1930 shows the family living in District 1, Jefferson County, Kentucky, while the US Census 1940 has them in Lexington.

Payne, a naturalized citizen, enlisted in Fort Thomas, Kentucky on January 19, 1942 as an aviation cadet. His enlistment record states he was enlisting from the National Guard, had completed 4 years of college, ( unnamed, although further research proved it to be the University of Kentucky,) and his civilian occupation lay in the "actor/actress" category.

After completing training as a navigator, he was commissioned, awarded wings, and sent to crew training. He was an original member of the Blakley crew, one of the first in the 100th Bomb Group. He made a name for himself as a navigator, and soon became the Group navigator. According to medal tradition, he flew at least 20 combat missions.

On April 28, 1944, he was on the Lakin crew when the crew was assigned to bomb V-weapon sites in France (The so-called "No Ball flights.") The 100th Bomb Group commander, Colonel Robert H. Kelly, who had assumed command 9 days earlier, took over as pilot of the Lakin crew, and flew it as Command Lead Pilot. For unknown reasons, no bombs were released on the first bomb run. Colonel Kelly ordered another run on the same heading, and at the same altitude and air speed. The German gunners had all the information from the first run, so they bracketed the formation with intense and accurate flak.

Kelly's aircraft took several direct hits, and crashed near the target in flaming wreckage. Nothing has been located concerning burial there nor subsequent retrieval, but today, Captain Payne rests in the Normandy American Cemetery near Omaha Beach, France.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Headstone and Interment Record Card (Foreign Cemeteries)
University of Kentucky Yearbook (1942)


Captain Joseph H. Payne, Jr. was performing the duties of Lead Navigator on B-17G # 42-107024, unnamed, assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 4234 was issued for this loss. Crew rosters and personnel files show the crew consisted of:

Col Robert H. Kelly  COM p
Cpt William G. Lakin  p
2 Lt Herbert Alf  c-p
Cpt Joseph H. Payne, Jr.  nav
2 Lt Maurice H. Cain  bomb
TSgt James C. Brown  eng/tt gun
TSgt Leo R. Cannon  r/o
SSgt Albert M. Fertas  btg
SSgt John N. Spiker  wg
SSgt Joseph A. Richard  wg
SSgt Delbert E. Barnhart  tail gun

Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Lt Alf was in the tail gunner's position, acting as Observer for the formation. SSgt Barnhart was in the radio room, acting as dorsal fin gunner. (This was usual manning on Lead Crews.)

Service photo source:

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