HARKINS, HARRY HALE, Technical Sergeant, # 18199897, USAAF
Harry H. Harkins was born on 26 October 1919 in Berram, Burnet Co., Texas to Ernest Edward Harkins (1889-1962) (AL) and Della Mae (Reynolds) Harkins (1890-1975) (IL). Siblings included Sidney Stillman Harkins (1911-1999), Doyle DeWitt Harkins (1913-1978), Jolly Joe Harkins (1915-2015), Claude Everett Harkins (1922-2009), and Ernest Edward Harkins (1924-1997). Living with them in 1920 was his paternal grandmother, Martha Annette (Bryan) Harkins (1848-1925) (widowed). He married Mary Elizabeth (Ballard) Harkins and they had a daughter, Harrilyn Sue Harkins (1942-1992).
He enlisted in the USAAF in San Antonio, Texas, on 30 October 1942. He was trained in the maintenance and repair of the mechanical and electrical parts of the B-24 and earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 22 October 1944, a flight of B-24Js, including # 44-40588, # 44-40992, and # 44-70414, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Pandaveswar, India, on a bombing mission over Moulmein, Burma. The bombers were hit by anti-aircraft fire, collided, and crashed, exploding. Five minutes after bombing the target at about 1202 hours, the formation was attacked by eight to twelve enemy fighters. He saw Oscars. Lt. Blair was in the # 2 position on the wing of Lt. Young. Maj. Jack Bradford, 0-424404 (OK), was in the # 4 position behind Lt. Young. 1stLt. Bodmer was in the # 3 position and Lt. Hill was in the # 5 position. When the enemy fighters were sighted, the formation closed. On the 3rd or 4th pass by the enemy, Lt. Blair’s # 2 engine caught on fire. He pulled out slightly left and feathered the engine. The fire went out and Lt. Blair made a diving left turn into clouds. He was not seen afterwards. Five minutes later, Maj. Bradford appeared to be looking back to see what happened to the other bombers. He was flying a rough formation but none of his bomber’s movements were violent. His bomber descended slightly to the left. He pulled up just under Lt. Bodmer, who was flying to the front and left of him. As he pulled up, Lt. Bodmer climbed up and out. After Maj. Bradford moved back into position, Lt. Bodmer took his own position. Almost immediately, Maj. Bradford climbed under Lt. Bodmer, his left vertical stabilizer went into Lt. Bodmer’s bomb bay doors.