LUDWIG, MICHAEL B., Technical Sergeant, # 39181221, USAAF
Michael B. Ludwig was born on 19 January 1916 in Little Falls, Morrison Co., Minnesota, to Michael Peter Ludwig (1876-1934) (Wisc.) and Mary Josephine (Vilas) Ludwig (1880-1973) (Wisc.) (married 1897). Siblings were Mary Kathryn (Ludwig) Hill (1899-1972), Franklin Joseph Ludwig (1901-1976), Charlotte C. (Ludwig) Esser (1904-1976), Robert John Ludwig (1906-1990), Donald M. Ludwig (1908-1969), Rowland John Ludwig (1911-1990), Vilas Josephine Ludwig (1914-1992), Kenneth Florian Ludwig (1919-2005), and two sisters. He was married to Margaret Olive (Golladay) Manor nee Ludwig (1920-2007) on 28 March 1940 in Camas, Clark Co., Washington.
He enlisted in the USAAF in Tacoma, Washington, on 11 May 1942. He was trained to maintain and monitor the mechanical systems (crew chief) on the B-24 Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India and China. On 15 September 1943 a B-24J Liberator, “Daisy May,” # 41-24218, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron, Yangkai, China, departed the airfield to bomb Haiphong, French Indochina (Annam or Vietnam). The flight of five of seven B-24s (two were unable to take off) were to bomb the cement plant. Planners were unaware of enemy fighters that had been brought in and were nearby. The B-25s had no fighter cover and were attacked by about 50 enemy fighters over Haiphong at about 8,000’ altitude. A crew reported that they saw 41-24218 going down in a spin, its bomb bay door close, and no parachutes were seen. Capt. Don B. Smith, 0-793188 reported that he saw the B-24 flip inverted and crash into the Gulf of Tonkin. There was an explosion when it impacted the water. The body of TSgt Pershke was recovered by French who saw the crash. The rest of the formation parted and dropped their bombs in the Gulf of Tonkin to improve their chances of escaping the many enemy fighters. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
His brother, Donald M. Ludwig, born 28 June 1908, served in the 75th Coast Artillery, Sergeant, during WWII. He died 7 July 1969 and is buried in the Washougal Memorial Cemetery, Washougal, Clark Co., Washington.
His brother, Rowland J. Ludwig, born 28 February 1911, served from 21 August 1943. He died 4 October 1990 and is buried in Bend, Deschutes Co., Oregon.
His brother, Kenneth F. Ludwig, born 8 April 1919, served in the U.S. Army from 19 July 1945. He died 27 February 2005 and is buried in the Myrtle Crest Memorial Gardens, Coquille, Coos Co., Oregon.