GAMBALE, GENEROSO "GENE," Second Lieutenant, Service # 0-121948, U.S. Army Air Force
Gene Gambale was born 1 September, 1920, to Alfonso (1894-1986) and Rose Gambale (1901-1980), New York. He enlisted 10 September 1942 (enlisted service # 12141686) in Kings, New York. On 1 July 1943, he married Helen J. Ricci (1921-2008) at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Brooklyn, New York, and was survived by his wife and a son, Gene. After flight training and his wedding, he was sent overseas and assigned as a bombardier to the 9th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, 10th Ar Force. His B-24J, Tail # 42-73435, departed India on 5 April 1944 on a combat bombing mission to a target at 15 degrees, 32 minutes North and 98 degrees, 07 minutes East. It was last seen at 1700 hours over the target. The crew included: observer Captain James W. Dorst, 0-306030, pilot 1st.Lt. Warren R. Kauffman, 0-742726, co-pilot 1stLt Charles K. Pittman, 0-666814, navigator 1st.Lt. Alexander L. James III, 0-736314, 2nd.Lt. Gambale, TSgt. James M. Faulkner, engineer-gunner, 34266447, TSgt. Donald E. Ball, radio-operator-gunner, 31167451, SSgt. James M. McKernan, assistant engineer-gunner, 32281809, Sgt. Edward J. Harris, assistant engineer-gunner, 6708432, SSgt. Tynan H. Wallls, armorer-gunner, 34478136, and SSgt. Melville E. Schultz, armorer-gunner, 35669388. The witnesses who last saw the B-24J was 2nd.Lt. Edward J. Thielen, 0-684912 and Capt. James W. Dorst, 0-306030.
2ndLt Thielen's statement reads: " While ...[on] a combat mission on [5 April 1944] I was flying number two position in a three-plane formation. The bombing was being done individually. After I had completed my bombing run I made a turn to the left. After my turn I could see Lieut. Warren R. Kauffman's aircraft on its bombing run and saw his first two bombs drop. After which I lost sight of him. That was the last time I saw him."
Captain Robert L. Stell listed the armaments on board the B-24J: eleven .45 calibers M1911A1 pistols, ten .50 caliber Browning M-2 aircraft machine guns, one .30 caliber Springfield rifle, two .45 caliber Thompson Model 1928A1 machine guns.
A Casualty Questionnaire reads: Lt. Gambale bailed out thirty miles east of [target], Burma. He bailed out just after I did. He was slightly injured. I last saw him in the Rangoon Japanese prison. He was killed in prison by Japanese, from a beating the Japanese guards gave him. The Japanese buried him at that time.
Lt. Gambale's remains were recovered from grave # 196 in the prison cemetery by the Graves Registration team.
Casualty statements read: (2) 1st.Lt. James did not bail out. He stayed with the pilot. He was last seen on the flight deck helping the pilot, who was injured. When the airplane hit the ground it blew up and the Japanese said they found seven bodies. (3) 1stLt Pittman was last seen keeping the airplane in the air, flying the plane. When it hit the ground it blew up. The Japanese said they found seven bodies. (4) 1stLt Kauffman was injured by ground fire and died in the arms of the navigator, while Lt James was giving him first aid. (5) Capt. Dorst told us to bail out. He was last seen after he bailed out and was never heard from again. (6) SSgt. Schultz was last seen in nose of airplane and did not bail out.