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SSGT Willet Francis Draker

SSGT Willet Francis Draker

Birth
Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, USA
Death 10 Jun 1943 (aged 22)
Weed, Siskiyou County, California, USA
Burial Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, USA
Plot sec 3 lot 125
Memorial ID 34661667 · View Source
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US Army Air Corps WWII
34th BG, 7th B Sq
S/Sgt and Aerial Gunner

He was the son of Mrs. Marie (Huddlestone) Draker Biggs and the stepson of Ray Biggs. He enlisted in the army on June 22, 1942. He was stationed in Mississippi, Utah, Arizona, and Salinas Army Air Base, California.

A graduate of North Side High School, Sergeant Draker was a track star during his high school years. Before entering the Army, he was employed at the Tokheim Oil Tank & Pump Company. The father, Willet Draker, a city lineman, was killed in an accident in August of 1920, approximately three months before his son Willet F was born.

Aged 22y
His last residence was reported to be in Medford, OR.
He was killed on a nighttime training mission on B-24E crash due to mechanical failure over Weed, Siskiyou Co, CA. He did not survive the crash. He died attempting to save his fellow crew member, Sgt Kennedy, in assisting him to exit the aircraft when his gear became hung up on the waist door opening.

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' 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.

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.

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Family Members

Parents

  • Maintained by: B24CoPilotNiece
  • Originally Created by: Tera
  • Added: 10 Mar 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34661667
  • Linda Crawford
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for SSGT Willet Francis Draker (4 Nov 1920–10 Jun 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34661667, citing Lindenwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by B24CoPilotNiece (contributor 47391745) .