Sargent Orvil E. Wright was born September 24, 1917 in Los Angeles, California to Eugene and Anne (Dobie) Wright. He joined the US Army Air Corps on February 12, 1943, and married a woman named Matilda Pfefferkon Hall on July 24, 1943. He was the Tail-Gunner on B-17 Flying Fortress 42-98010 which had no known nickname, and unfortunately, that is how he met his heroic demise. On October 6, 1944, B-17 42-98010, piloted by 2nd Lt. Deloy Taylor, was flying in a squadron of 29 planes, when they were reportedly ambushed from above and behind by somewhere from 25-70 enemy planes, while en route to their targeted destination. No aircraft in the group returned to base that day. Of B-17 42-98010's crew of 9 men, 8 were KIA, leaving 2nd Lt. Bruce C. Martin (Bombardier) the sole survivor/ POW.
Orvil is buried at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Henri-Chapelle, Arrondissement de Verviers, Liège, Belgium.
The 7 other men from B-17 42-98010 that died that day with Orvil were;
TSGT Ira M. Barnes Top-Turret Gunner
SGT Albert Beenes Radio Operator
SGT Elvin Brown Waist Gunner
SGT Vernon W James Ball-Turret Gunner
2nd Lt. Orlando A Krupka Navigator
2nd Lt. Miles W Osmer Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. Deloy Taylor Pilot
B-17 42-98010 was a part of the 385th Bomb Group, as well as the 551st Bomb Squadron.
The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Brigadier General Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9 October 1943, during which only two out of one hundred B-17s were lost and all of the buildings on the site were damaged or destroyed. They won two Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, awarded to all 4th Bomb Wing Groups, was for accurately dropping their pay load on an aircraft factory at Regensburg, on 17 August 1943 and the Group's second was awarded after leading a difficult long-range mission to destroy an aircraft repair works at Zwickau, south-west Germany, on 12 May 1944.
"California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V25D-Z1V : 13 December 2014), Orvil E Wright, 24 Sep 1917; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
"United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8GF-6BL : 5 December 2014), Orvil E Wright, enlisted 12 Feb 1943, Santa Ana Aab, California, United States; citing "Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946," database, The National Archives: Access to Archival Databases (AAD) (http://aad.archives.gov : National Archives and Records Administration, 2002); NARA NAID 1263923, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
"California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGLW-GPWR : 18 January 2018), Orvil Eugene Wright, 24 Sep 1917; citing Birth, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States, California State Archives, Sacramento.
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