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Coyle J. Acuff
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Birth: Feb. 23, 1904
Death: Oct. 7, 1977

USAAF WORLD WAR II
Gunner S/Sgt. Coyle J. Acuff POW
Hometown: Washburn Tennessee
Squadron: 506th 44th Bomb Group
Service# 14134043
Awards:
Pilot 1st/Lt. Bernie L. Scudday KIA

MACR #6744
Target: Creil, France
Mission Date: 15-Feb-44
Serial Number:#41-29496
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter:Bar-Q,
Aircraft Name: ARIES also known as RAM IT-DAMMIT.
Location:
Cause: Flak
Crew of 10 7 KIA 3 POW

The primary target was the site of a rail tunnel and marshalling yards in this German defensive area. Flak was intense and accurate over the target, with many 44th BG aircraft sustaining damages. Three men were wounded by flak, and the 506th Squadron lost two aircraft – one over the continent and the other crash-landed at Manston, Kent on the return. One of the wounded men was from the 67th Squadron.

The MACR reports that this aircraft was hit by flak approximately 30 seconds before bombs away, at 23,500 feet. It is believed hits were chiefly in the radio compartment since many flares were observed at same time. Aircraft went into a steep glide, later going into steep dive at about 15,000 feet. This aircraft was afire at this point. It crashed or exploded just above the ground. One chute was observed to open, perhaps one other. 1st Lt. Raymond A. McCormick (now an M.D.) sent me his Recollections: “The history of #41-29496 and crew is reasonably accurate. We were on an unusually long bomb run from Rheims, France, straight into the target which was a bridge over the Seine River, just north of Paris. There was a G-H aircraft (radar controlled) in the lead, being vectored from England. In establishing the bomb run, he was all over the sky, and our bombardier, Paul Richardson, flying in the deputy lead slot, decided to go up on the flight deck because he said he could not follow the lead ship through the bomb sight. This was a fatal decision! Carl Tepe and I were in the nose when we were hit. (M. Dyer reported, “went belly-up”)“I saw Carl start to come out of the nose turret, and I turned to open the nose wheel doors. Those doors were kinked upward and jammed. I made a wild dive at the doors that propelled me out of the nose wheel opening. I found out later that Carl Tepe had hooked his shoe laces on the gunsite, and had some difficulty freeing himself from the electrically heated felt boots. He did, however, get free and was picked up on the ground shortly after parachuting. “Coyle Acuff, a waist gunner, reached for his chute on the plywood floor that had replaced the ball turret, when the plane began to burn and he thinks he was blown out through the floor! He hung onto his chute and placed it on his chest in midair. One of the other gunners in the rear, either Warren or Riess, bailed out and did not open his chute at once, but when he did deploy it, the chute went through the propeller of the number one engine of another 44th plane that was trailing the formation at approximately 1500 feet below. That airplane was piloted by a Lt. Milliken (lost at a later date). His co-pilot was Manierre, from Lake Forest, Illinois. I do not know if it was Warren or Ries, but the chute then became a long, single rope-like structure, and I followed it all the way to the ground. A terrible way to go! “The flight deck was destroyed by that original flak burst, which entered behind the nose wheel and took out the entire flight deck – a direct hit. I looked back from the navigation compartment and the entire flight deck was empty, and it looked like a big canoe. No roof! “Since I had impulsively opened my chute at about 20,000 feet, I think, it took me a very long time to get to the ground. It seemed about 20 minutes. I fell in a wooded area, caught between two birch trees, like a towel in a clothespin. I sustained a partially ruptured urinary bladder for which the Germans hospitalized me at Beauvais, France. Later, I met Tepe and Acuff at a transient camp in Beauvais. They went to Memel, in Lithuania, and I went to Stalag Luft 1. In this camp with me were at least twenty other officers from the 44th BG.”
Lt. Jack Wind, pilot of an adjoining 506th plane, stated, “Bernie and I talked about this mission that morning – it was the 31st for both of us, and we hoped it would be our last. Sadly, it was for both of us as his was the HARD WAY. “He was flying deputy lead and I led the 2nd element, just behind him. When we turned onto the bomb run, our leader was fouled up and we were six minutes behind the lead squadron. They dropped their bombs with a smoke marker and the German Ack-Ack used it to zero in on while our leader followed the smoke marker on the bomb run. I recall calling the leader and I think Scudday did also, yelling at him to change altitude. “The Germans had us dead to right, but he flew right into the smoke. The first shell hit Scudday directly in the cockpit. I saw his window blow out with smoke and flames. The plane seemed to stagger, and then fall off into a spin. The next thing I knew, we were about five miles from the formation, flak all around us. My crew reported they saw one chute from Scudday’s plane.” “My co-pilot said that I suddenly kicked rudder and slid away from the squadron. And I found a note in my diary that I said I had “blown my cork” and that was it! When I snapped out of the ‘panic,’ the co-pilot had the controls. The crew reported they saw one chute from Scudday’s plane, then the engineer (mine) reported our gas gauges were at zero as we approached the coast of France. We called Air-Sea Rescue for a vector to the nearest field in England, and gave the crew the option of bailing out over France, or to stay if I was to try for England. I never did like the idea of trusting that bundle of silk canvas at 20,000 feet. So we went into a glide with everything cut back and landed on a P-47 field in England. Found we had 800 gallons of fuel. Took off again and returned to base with another crew that had crash-landed at the same field.

RAM IT-DAMMIT Crew
1st/Lt. Bernie L. Scudday Pilot KIA
1st/Lt. John A. Farrell Co Pilot KIA
1st/Lt. Raymond A. McCormick Navigator POW
1st/Lt. Paul Richardson KIA
T/Sgt. Joseph E Wycheck Engineer KIA
T/Sgt. Joseph E. Wycheck Radio Op. KIA
S/Sgt. Carl W. Tepe Gunner POW
S/Sgt. Robert P. Ries Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Coyle J. Acuff Gunner POW
Sgt. Lester D. Warren Gunner KIA
 
 
Burial:
Lynnhurst Cemetery
Knoxville
Knox County
Tennessee, USA
 
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: Sue Reneau Damewood
Record added: Sep 01, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29472822
Coyle J. Acuff
Added by: Diana
 
Coyle J. Acuff
Cemetery Photo
Added by: 48875
 
 
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