31 May 1941 – The Indiana Gazette -THOMAS GOES TO PLANE SCHOOL – Langley Field, VA. PFC Robert P. Thomas assigned to 49th Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group, airplane mechanics course to begin 2 June at Aeronautical University, Chicago.

5 March 1942 – The Indiana Gazette – Local Soldiers Receive Promotions – PFC Thomas was promoted to Corporal; Langley Field, VA. Assigned to 90th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) – aerial engineer. Graduate of the Aeronautical University in Chicago for aircraft mechanics.

24 July 1942 - The Indiana Gazette – Cpl. Robert P. Thomas overseas since 23 April (India).

16 December 1942 – Harrisburg Telegraph – Bomber Group led by Maj. Earl R. Tash – includes Sgt Robert P. Thomas; SSgt Peter Seman.

12 June 1943 – The Pittsburgh Courier – Cpl. Robert P. Thomas, Kelly Field, TX, spent 10 day furlough with parents, Mr. and Mrs. Randall Thomas, 905 Railroad Ave., West Monroe, PA.

10 July 1943 – The Indiana Gazette (Indiana, PA) – Just a week after hearing of his unit’s valorous decoration with the Presidential Unit Citation, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Thomas, 31 E. Grant St., Latrobe, PA, have received word he is missing in action since July 3.

NORMAN, HOWARD B , Staff Sergeant, # 18025280, USAAF

 

Howard B. “Jazz” Norman was born 27 February 1922 to Isaac Walker Norman (1893-1935) and Winifred (Rickard) Norman (1894-1979). A sister was Wynette (Norman) Farley.

 

He enlisted 8 November 1940 at Kelly Field (San Antonio) Texas, and at the time was noted to be 5’8” and 143 lbs. Trained to assist in other roles and as a gunner, he was sent overseas. He listed “Irene Walker Norman” as his mother in Taylor, Texas, as his next-of-kin. The bomber and crew were assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group, 436th Bombardment Squadron. He was working hard to assist others and as a gunner manning a .50 caliber machine gun. It was last sighted by 1stLt Robert J. Clarke, 0-431388, 1stLt Robert G. Brittenbach, 0-659652, and 1stLt Henry W. Gilmer, Jr., 0-440853. 1stLt Clarke wrote, “It was last seen in formation with five other bombers entering a cloud bank. After fifteen minutes, the formation broke into the clear and only five aircraft could be accounted for. After another fifteen minutes, a crew hear, “Any B-24D for Help.” The call was answered but received no reply. An enemy fighter, type I45 (Kawasaki Toryu, for “Dragon Slayer,” allied name “Nick”), made an attack on a plane in the formation (not the missing bomber) and this was included to show there were enemy aircraft nearby.” Two search missions were flown. Called off because of poor weather. The bomber did not emerge from clouds with the other five on the mission. Enemy fighters were seen in the area; one attacked one of the B-24s. The bomber was not found. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart. The family placed a memorial marker in the Hutto City Cemetery, Hutto, Texas.