My grandfather (Major Joe Carnes) was in the Army Air Corps and trained as a B-17 Bomber pilot during WWII. He served with the 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group and assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (heavy) and stationed at RAF Grafton Underwood outside of Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.
Joe was credited with 30 combat missions; 2 as co-pilot, 19 as pilot, 9 as commander, and had an additional 2 missions that were aborted, all across 19 different aircraft - one of which was named the "TREMBLING GREMLIN".
B-17G (42-37982 SU*K) "TREMBLING GREMLIN". Source: The Quentin Bland Collection.
On 19-Sep-1944, Joe and his crew of the "TREMBLING GREMLIN" were flying lead squadron for the Railroad Marshalling Yard target in Hamm, Germany when they were struck by flak in the rear fuselage. After dropping the payload on their target, they left formation and the crew bailed out over Binche, Belgium.
TREMBLIN GREMLIN struck by flak, 19-Sep-1944, mission in Hamm, Germany. Image courtesy of Morgan Himmelstein, via Marc Poole, July 2014.
Joe was awarded numerous service medals, including 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 6 Air Medals with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the American Victory Medal, the EAMS Campaign medal, the American Theater Campaign Medal and 4 Bronze Stars.
Joe passed away on 6 August 2017 at the age of 95. He was buried with full military honors at Houston National Cemetery.