|Death: ||Jul. 2, 1943, Italy|
Staff Sergeant Yoakum served in the 68th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.
The following account is from a Department of the Army's investigation of the incident that took Sergeant Yoakum's life:
On July 2, 1943, Major Thomas Cramer was commanding a B-24 [#42-40745] with a crew of ten. Sergeant Yoakum was the Tail Gunner. They departed Benina, Libya, on an operational mission to Lecce, Italy. Shortly after crossing the coast of Italy, the airplane was intercepted by a German fighter, a Me 109, and a running battle ensued. The Me 109 riddled the bomber from its bomb bay to cockpit with machine gun and cannon fire. The right wing was severely damaged, number four engine was smoking, and smoke was coming from the left wing. The cockpit of the bomber was hit and the plane turned over and went down out of control. None of the crew was seen to parachute from the plane during its descent. Immediately after the plane crashed to the ground, it burst into flames.
Members of the American Graves Registration Service recovered remains from a mass grave in Muro Leccesse Civilian Cemetery, and the Civilian Cemetery of Cavallino, Italy. These remains were reinterred in the United States Military Cemetery, Bari, Italy, with unknown designations, pending further investigations. Although the circumstances rendered individual identification impossible, sufficient evidence was present to determine that the unknown remains were those of the ten service members of flight #42-40745 and to warrant a group identification of the remains. These remains were interred in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Ky. on February 15, 1950.
B-24 Liberator, 42-40745, “Bar-A,” and crew were assigned to the 68th Squadron of the 44th Bomb Group. They were shot down on July 2, 1943 with no survivors.
Major Thomas R. Cramer, Command Pilot
1/Lt Robert E. Peterson, Pilot
2/Lt James A. Tabor, Navigator.
2/Lt Eugene R. Monahan, Bombardier
T/Sgt Charles W. Pharis, Engineer
T/Sgt Woodrow J. Cooney, Radio Oper.
S/Sgt Steve Niznok, Asst. Eng.
S/Sgt Clifton C. Hall, Asst. Radio.
S/Sgt Harry G. Smith, Waist Gunner
S/Sgt Arthur M. Yoakum, Tail Turret
Merle Yoakum (1895 - 1940)
Elsie R Yoakum (1897 - 1948)
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
Plot: Section E - Site 271
Created by: Gary Powell
Record added: Sep 10, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41810591
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