Last Known Activity
Alonzo P. Adams III entered the military from Albany, New York, on June 24, 1941. He received training as a pilot, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.
He was assigned to the newly-activated 100th Bomb Group, and received further combat crew training at Wendover, Utah and Walla Walla, Washington. He was assigned a crew that trained together, and deployed with the unit to England, arriving there in June, 1943.
The 100th Bomb Group received transitional training, and flew its first combat mission on June 25, 1943. This was a scheduled bombing raid on German ship building yards at Bremen, Germany. Lt. Adams and his crew would fly this as their first mission.
After take-off, assembly, and flying across the North Sea, the formation drew intense flak from batteries located on islands approximately 20 miles off the enemy coast. As the formation neared the mainland, it was attacked by 30 enemy fighters. One singled out Adams' aircraft, and made a slashing attack. The B-17, raked by cannon and machine gun fire, fell out of formation, out of control. The pilot rang the bail-out bell, but most crew evidently did not hear it. In the words of the only survivor, "There was this enormous explosion, and I found myself outside the aircraft." He parachuted successfully to the ground where he was captured by the Germans.
The tangled wreckage of the aircraft fell into the North Sea, about 30 km North of Langeoog, Germany. Feldwebel Edgar Dorre, flying a BF-109 from JG 26/9 was given credit for shooting down the bomber.
The bodies of Adams and one other crew man was recovered as they washed ashore, and were buried in a local village cemetery. After the war, Adams was transferred to Ardennes American Cemetery where he now lies in Plot B, Row 36, Grave 40.
The aircraft "Desert Rat" that appears behind the crew was a training aircraft used at Wendover, Utah. The crew, as well as Adam's gravestone, appear in the "Photo" section of the profile.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
Missing Air Crew Report 271
USAAF Accident Reports
The aircraft involved in this incident was B-17G # 42-3260, nicknamed "Angel's Tit," assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 271 applies. Loading lists and 100th Bomb Group documents identify the crew as:
1 Lt. Alonzo P. Adams III p
F/O George Z. Krech c-p
2Lt Nicholas Demchak nav
2 Lt Jessie D. Gurley bomb
TSgt John K. Sullivan eng/tt gun
TSgt James D. Purcell r/o
SSgt John D. Kruzich btg
SSgt Edmonde J. Walker wg
SSgt Norman Asbornsen wg
SSgt Bryant Hutchinson tail gun
Lt. Demchak was the only survivor.
Only the bodies of Adams and Asbornsen were recovered. The remainder of the crew is immortalized on The Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge, England, Cemetery.
Service photo source: