Adam, Richard J., Sgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1944-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1944
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Adam, Richard J., Sgt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Lucera, Italy (Air Drome 8)

Casualty Date
May 29, 1944
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
Woodlawn National Cemetery - Elmira, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot G, Site 4855

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 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  2014, World War II Fallen

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Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Aerial Gunnery School301st Bombardment Group, Heavy  353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1943, Aerial Gunnery School
  1944-1944, 301st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1944-1944, AAF MOS 611, 353rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  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
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Richard J. Adam was born in Merchantsville, New Jersey, on May 29, 1915. In 1933, the family moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania to operate a dairy farm. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Richard and his brother quit farming, sold the dairy equipment, and Richard entered the Army Air Corps in March 1942.

After basic training, he was trained as an aerial gunner, and stationed at Tonopah, Nevada. In January 1944, he married Bette Dowdell at Tonopah. In March 1944, he was sent to North Africa where he was a crew member on a B-17. The unit moved across North Africa as bases were liberated, and finally moved to Italy.

Sgt Adam flew 30 missions, and on May 29, 1944, on a scheduled bombing mission to Wollersdorf, Germany, his aircraft was hit by flak. The aircraft went into a steep dive, trailing smoke from #2 engine. The aircraft banked to the left, dove, went into a tight spin. The aircraft exploded, but all the crew managed to bail out. They landed in Yugoslavia, and were found by partisans. Two of the crew were killed during the jump, and one was badly injured.

Wreckage from the aircraft fell to earth near Velike Plain. The partisans rescued five of the crew, but the injured man died.

On 10 June 1949, Sgts Adam and Leonard were returned to the U.S. and were buried together in Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York. They lie in Plot G Site 4855.

The partisans buried Sgts Adam and Patersen at the crash site. (See photos.) A memorial was erected on the crash site in Yugoslavia in 1990.

Sgt Richard J. Adam died on his 29th birthday.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
USAAC Accident Reports



The aircraft in this incident was B-17G #42-97580, unnamed, assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 5444 applies, and identifies the crew as:

2 Lt Francis A. DiDonizio      p
2 Lt Otto H. Hinds       c-p
2 Lt Jerome M. Cohen      nav
2 Lt Charles L. Wensley     bomb
Sgt William M. Lessere     eng/tt gun
SSgt George A. Bertuzzi      r/o
Sgt Richard J. Adam      btg
Sgt Lester F. Paterson    wg
Cpl Harold G. Swensen   tail gun
SSgt Jimmie G. O'Leary     photographer

Sgts Adam and Paterson were KIA; Lt Hinds died in partisan hospital; Lt DiDonizio and Sgt Benuzzi were captured; remainder were returned by partisans.

One of the POW crewmen later related that Lt Hinds stayed at the controls, steadying the aircraft long enough for the rest of the crew to bail out. Then, in his struggle to leave, he opened his parachute accidentally. According to reports, he jumped with his chute bundled in his arms, and released it after he was clear of the plane. Because he jumped at under 1,000 feet, the chute never opened properly, severely injuring him upon landing. These are the wounds he died from after four months in the partisan's hospital.

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