GROUT, VERNON WALTER HAGEN, Corporal, # 17001688, USAAF

 

Vernon W. Grout was born 2 February 1922 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota to Vernon Milow Grout (1890-1921) and Bertha “Betty” Eline (Hagen) Grout (1890-    ). He graduated from Rochester High School, Rochester, Minnesota. He was married to Ruth P. Grout, living in Broughton, Illinois, when he went overseas. In the 1930 census for Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota, his mother is a widow, age 39, and he has a sister, Dorothy A. (Grout) Sauer (1918-1998). When he registered for the WW I draft, Vernon M. Grout wrote that his DOB was 16 June 1890, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was married. His address was 1607 Clinton Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minn.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on 9 September 1940. He had completed one year of college. was trained extensively as an armorer, responsible for the maintenance and function of the weapons aboard the B-24 and was trained as a gunner (of the .50 caliber Browning aerial machinegun). He was sent overseas to India. On 15 April 1944 a flight of B-24J bombers assigned to the 7th Bomb Group, 9th Bomb Squadron, departed the 10th Air Force base at Pandeveswar, India, on a bombing mission to Port Blair. B-24J, # 42-100243, was in the flight and was last seen at about 1212 hours and crashed from fire from enemy aircraft. Staff Sergeants Page and DiBello, in another B-24J, reported that the formation of B-24J bombers was attacked by enemy fighters. The first pass knocked out the # 2 engine of our lead aircraft, flown by 1stLt Allison. It was feathered. The second pass started engine # 1 on fire. The remaining passes concentrated on the crippled B-24J. Their B-24J was on 1stLt Allison’s right and could see that the right waist gun, tail guns, and the left nose turret gun were not firing. 1stLt Allison pulled out of formation and descended to about 300 feet. Four parachutes opened, three landed in the water and another in trees on an island. The B-24J lost altitude rapidly and crashed into the sea about 100 yards from shore. Upon water impact, the B-24J exploded and burned, and the fire died out immediately. They could still see the tail of the B-24J protruding from the water. He is remembered on the memorial at the Manila American Cemetery & Mausoleum, Philippines.  He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.