|Birth: ||Apr. 20, 1923|
|Death: ||Jun. 10, 1943|
FLIGHT OFFICER, US ARMY AIR FORCES WORLD WAR II
34th BG, 7th B Sq
He was the second of five children of George Franklin Churchwell and Lucy Churchwell. His siblings were BMC Hillery Lee Churchwell, Mona, Stacy, and James 'Jimmie'.
He was Class President of Leakesville High School, Greene County, Mississippi. He is survived today by two brothers and one sister. His brother tells that Junior was always drawing pictures of airplanes growing up. He joined the U S Army Air Corps at Ft Barrancas, Florida two days after graduating from high school, and then went to basic training at McCoy Army Air Base, Orlando, Florida, and next to Westover Field, Massachusetts. He then attended aviation cadet training at Turner Field, Albany, Georgia, and as a Staff Seargent he was honorably discharged April 1943 to accept immediate appointment as a Flight Officer. He was awarded his pilot's 'wings' at age 20, 29 April 1943, Class 43-D, at Turner Field.
He always said, 'There's room at the top'. His epitaph reads, 'Brief, brave and glorious was his young career'.
As a CoPilot, he was the last one in control of B-24E #42-7119 on a nighttime training mission when it crashed over Weed, California, due to mechanical failure of both the #1 and #2 port side engines, being careful to try to ensure others had time to bail out. He did not survive the crash. The crew members were~
2nd LT Alfred J Demeusy, ASN O-794542, Pilot, from Oakdale NY, Bailed Out
FO George F Churchwell, Jr, ASN T-60915, CoPilot, from Leakesville MS, DNB
1st LT Douglas J Thornburg, ASN O-439091, Instructor Pilot, from Casa Grande AZ, Bailed Out
2nd LT George H Clarke, ASN O-798071, Navigator, from Cooperstown NY, DNB
2nd LT Charles L Wiest, ASN O-736742, Bombardier, from Baltimore MD, Bailed Out
SSGT Willet F Draker, ASN 35329411, Engineer, from Ft Wayne IN, DNB
SSGT William W Powell, Jr, ASN 18117310, Engineer, from Houston TX, DNB
SSGT Alvin Dschaak, ASN 39610191, Radio Operator, from Beulah ND, Bailed Out
SSGT Alonzia E Johnston, Jr, ASN 15323452, Gunner, from Canton OH, DNB
SSGT John F Kennedy, ASN 15333120, Gunner, from Peru IN, DNB
The crew is listed here in the virtual cemetery for B-24E #42-7119
Lt Thornburg, along with his crew, died three weeks later on 06 Jul 1943 in B-24E #42-7160 while on a search and rescue mission for two airmen that bailed out over the Pacific in B-24E #42-7011 'The Eddie Rickenbacker' Major Thorel 'Skip' Johnson's Crew. While on a combat mission over interior China to Bangkok, Thailand, this crew also bailed out of B-24J #42-72835 'Flamingo II/For Sale' of the 308th BG, 373rd B Sq, although there were several different crew members on board that day. All bailed out safely, however, Pilot Major Thorel 'Skip' Johnson reported that they 'were twenty-one days walking back to [their] base'. The crash of B-24E #42-7160 and the site was more recently visited and documented by aviation archaeologist and wreckfinder G Pat Macha of www.aircraftwrecks.com.
Sgt Alvin Dschaak was killed later in December 1943 in B-24J #42-73428 ‘Big Nig'; he and 8 others were KIA, there was one survivor, SSgt Robert Renner, who was captured and taken as a POW. Lt Charles L Wiest and his crew was shot down over Germany on 8 April 1944 in B-24J #42-73506 'Black Jack'; Lt Wiest and 8 other crewman survived and became POWs, however the Pilot, Lt Guy Johnson was killed on the ground.
George Franklin Churchwell (1899 - 1948)
Lucy Churchwell Churchwell Shattles (1901 - 1973)
Maintained by: B24CoPilotNiece
Originally Created by: ShaneO
Record added: Nov 05, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61158526