Arooth, Michael L., MSgt

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Last Rank
Master Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1942-1947, AAF MOS 611, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
Service Years
1942 - 1962
Enlisted Collar Insignia
Master Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Arooth, Michael L., MSgt.

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.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
St. Augustine, Florida

Date of Passing
Feb 15, 1990
Location of Interment
National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona - Phoenix, Arizona
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot 29 O 45

 Official Badges 

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 (2nd Award)

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Michael L. Arooth was officially considered the top "bomber ace," having 19 aerial victories officially credited. He accomplished this feat as the tail gunner on a B-17 bomber.

Not much has been found concerning the life and service of Michael Arooth.
His parents were Salem and Dora Arooth. The US Censuses 1930 and 1940 show the family residing in Springfield, Massachusetts.

His NARA enlistment record confirms certain facts. He enlisted in Springfield, Massachusetts on August 25, 1942. He had completed 3 years of high school and was single. He had been employed as a semiskilled machine shop employee. The bits and pieces found to date indicate he served from 1942, and retired as a Master Sergeant. His grave marker indicates he served in Korea as well as in World War II, but nothing has been found to substantiate this.

One instance of his service can be cited. The bomber crew of which he was a part participated in the infamous Schweinfurt raid in September 1943. They encountered flak and enemy fighters, and the aircraft was severely damaged. Sgt Arooth had shot down 3 enemy aircraft on this mission, but now, on the return trip home, more trouble erupted.

The oxygen system of the aircraft was damaged and only partially working, and Sgt Arooth was severely wounded when he discovered one gun was jammed. In spite of the situation, he repaired the gun in time to shoot down his 4th adversary. The aircraft attempted to make it to base, but was eventually ditched in the English Channel, with all hands being saved. For his efforts, Sgt Arooth was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. (Excerpt from citation for award of the Distinguished Service Cross.)

NOTE: According to a family friend, information concerning a mission on September 6, 1943 in which Arooth was shot down and rescued from the North Sea was received on July 28, 2015. This info states that the pilot on this mission was Bohn Fawkes, not Carl Brinks listed in the mission loading list. According to this source, Brinks had become a POW some time earlier.

Nothing else has been found concerning Sgt Arooth except that he passed away February 15, 1990 in St. Augustine, Florida. He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, located in Phoenix. His resting place is Plot 29 0 45.

NOTE: There is no record of service other than that quoted above. The ribbon rack, with the exception of known awards, has been constructed to show the decorations and service awards that could be construed from the length and places of service.

The service time is extrapolated from his known combat record (1943) and the fact he retired for longevity; therefore the time given (1942-1962) is but an approximation.


Other Comments:
Michael L. Arooth flew as part of crew 32 (Brink's crew) on B-17G # 42-29896, nicknamed "Tondelayo," from the 527th Bomb Squadron of the 379th Bomb Group out of Kimbolton, England.

Crew is given as:

2 Lt Carl W, Brink, Jr      p
2 Lt Bohn E. Fawkes. Jr      c-p
2 Lt Elmer S. Bendiner     nav
2 Lt Robert L. Hejuy      bomb
TSgt Lawrence H. Redmann   eng/tt gun
Sgt Herbert J.  ??
Sgt Frederic W.  ??
Sgt John A. Leary
SSgt Elvin E. Doll
SSgt Michael L. Arooth    tail gun

NOTE: The orders that assigned this crew is blotched and smudged, and in some area,

NOTE: Because the air crew were rescued, there is no Missing Air Crew Report. The USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory does show this aircraft as lost in the English Channel on July 30, 1943.

Today, there is an airworthy B-25 bomber that is named "Tondelayo" that flies at air shows around the world.

 Citation to Accompany the Award of the Distinguished Service Cross

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sergeant Michael Arooth, United States Army Air Forces for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as a Tail gunner on a B-17 Heavy Bomber of the 527th Bombardment Squadron, 379th Bombardment Group (H) Eighth Air Force while participating in a a bombing mission on July 30, 1943, against enemy ground targets in Germany. On this date, Staff Sergeant Arooth shot down three enemy planes, and though the aircraft's oxygen line was broken, one gun was jammed, and he was severely wounded, he remained at his post, repaired the gun, and hot down the fourth plane. Thee personal courage and zealous devotion to duty displayed by Staff Sergeant Arooth on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.

General Order 61, (1943( Hdqters, European Theater of Operation, US Army
US Census 1930
US Census 1940


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 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
527th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy379th Bombardment Group, Heavy8th Air DivisionUnited States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1942-1945, AAF MOS 611, 527th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1945, AAF MOS 611, 379th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1945, AAF MOS 611, 8th Air Division
  1942-1947, AAF MOS 611, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
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