Abshire, Wilbert, 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, 755th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1943 - 1944
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

15 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Abshire, Wilbert, SSgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Horsham St. Faith, England

Casualty Date
May 27, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Other Accident
North Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Cambridge, United Kingdom
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

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Aerial Gunnery School458th Bombardment Group, Heavy755th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, Aerial Gunnery School
  1943-1943, 458th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, AAF MOS 611, 755th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
  1939-1939, Others/Not Listed
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-24 Liberator  
  1943-1944, B-24 Liberator
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Wilbert Abshire was born in Kaplan, Louisiana on May 23, 1920, the second child of Jeneus and Alecia Simons Abshire. He attended and graduated from Indian Bayou High School, where he was studious and participated in athletics, in 1938. He enrolled at the Southwestern Louisiana Institute (present-day University of Southwest Louisiana) but after a few months dropped out because of lack of financial means. He returned home and worked on the family farm.

On January 5, 1940, Abshire joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and after orientation was sent to Farmersville, Louisiana for radio operator training. There, he also operated the camp canteen and was pitcher on the camp'e softball team. He was discharged from the CCC on June 14, 1942, and returned to help with the family farm.

He tried to enlist in the military but was found to be underweight. After a time, he tried again and was accepted in early 1943. He was sent to Lake Charles, Louisiana for basic training, and then to Keesler Air Field, Mississippi for training on service and maintenance of the B-24.

In July 1943, he was assigned to the Flexible Aerial Gunnery School at Laredo, Texas. He graduated September 5, 1943, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He served 2 short-term tours at Gowen Air Base, Idaho for flying training and assistant engineer ground school.

In October 1943, he and others were assigned to the 755th Bomb Squadron, and became a crew under the command of 2LT Mattson. The crew picked up a new B-24 at the factory and flew the Southern Ferry route to England, arriving in January 1944.

Abshire's first combat mission was flown on March 3, 1944, with the target Berlin. The aircraft developed trouble in the pilot''s oxygen regulator and the plane's mission was aborted. After a March 6, 1944 raid on the Daimler-Benz Werke at Genshagen, Mattson was relieved of duty, and 1 Lt Olney took over. The crew then went on to fly some 25 combat missions.

On May 27, 1944, a pick-up crew was needed, so Abshire was picked to go with Lt. Lester Martin's crew. During assembly, this aircraft collided with another. Martin called "bail out" at which time the engineer salvoed the bombs and jumped. Abshire also jumpred. Neither survived. The aircraft, although damaged, was returned to base safely.

SSgt Wilbert Abshire fell into the North Sea, and his body was never recovered. His name is listed on the Walls of the Missing in Cambridge American Cemetery, and his name is inscribed in the Book of Remembrance in Central Library in Norwich, England.

NOTE: Full details and description of the collision and events are given along with pertinent crew data and references on the profile of Sgt Norman J. Picard.



Most of SSgt Abshire's mission were flown on B-24H #41-29359, nicknamed "Tail Wind," first under Lt Mattson, then Lt. Olney. However, he was on Lt. Martin's "Briney Marlin," B-24 # 95183 when he was killed.

The crew of "Briney Marlin" that date was listed:

2 Lt Lester C. Martin    p
2 Lt Frances S. Thompson    c-p
2 Lt Robert T. Craig      nav
2 Lt Charles L. Gribi    bomb
SSgt Chester R. Carlstrum     eng/tt gun
TSgt Garland O. Meadows      r/o
SSgt Wilbert Abshire     tail gun
SSgt George E. Hoesfel     gun
SSgt Warren S. Cohlmeyer    gun
SSgt Roy A. Cassady     gun

Missing Air Crew Report 5632 was issued, and indicated Abshire and Carlstrum had jumped but did not survive. Lt Martin credits Carlstrum with quick thinking in salvoing the bombs as that action assisted him in regaining control of the aircraft.


Picture labeled Assignment, Abshire is third from left, front row.

Picture labeled Abshire, Abshire is 4th from left (or on right)

Picture Tail Wind Crew, Abshire is middle, front row

Picture labeled Matson Crew, Boise, Abshire is right, front row.


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