1Lt Robert J. Palenscar

Photo added by Gary W. Metz

1Lt Robert J. Palenscar

Death 29 Mar 1943 (aged 21)
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec: 35, Site: 2455
Memorial ID 49346145 · View Source
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Born on June 9, 1921, Robert J. Palenscar was the son of an electrical contractor. Raised in an area of Philadelphia called Germantown, Bob was one of four children. He graduated from Germantown High, where he had been an outstanding athlete, in June of 1939. With his younger brother Bill, he designed and built airplanes that were then turned into models by SAS Models and Aeroplane Models.

Bob joined the United States Army in October of 1939 and was attached to Bolling Field, Washington, DC. He graduated from the Spartan School of Aeronautics. He was then detailed to the Philadelphia District as Recruiting Sergeant. On Army Day, May 5th, 1941, he was selected as “Typical American Soldier”. Convinced by his own recruiting pitch, Bob joined the Army Air Corps as a flying cadet on November 5th, 1941 He graduated from Flight School on the 20th of May, 1942, and was assigned to the 60th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Group stationed at Bolling Field, Washington DC. The 33rd FG was part of the invasion of North Africa in November of 1942 called Operation Torch. Their Curtis P-40 fighter planes were launched from an escort carrier and landed at Port Lyautey, French Morocco, on November 10th, 1942, under extremely hazardous conditions.
On Monday, March 29th, 1943, while flying a fighter bomber mission Bob was shot down near Mezzouna, Tunisia. Palenscar’s P-40 was struck in the tail section by anti-aircraft fire. A shell seemed to have struck an oxygen tank located there and the ensuing explosion not only set the plane afire but also jammed all the controls to the tail surfaces. The plane, flying at treetop level, immediately nosed over and went down in flames. Bob was flying a new plane that day and had just had his girlfriend’s name, Janie, painted on the nose. He was officially listed as Missing in Action
In 1960 his parents conducted a search in North Africa to recover his body. Unable to find the remains, they called upon then President John F. Kennedy for help. An investigator, Wesley Neep, of the Army Mortuary Service was assigned. After months of research, Bob’s remains were identified and flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on March 10th, 1963, just southwest of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.



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  • Created by: John C. Anderson
  • Added: 6 Mar 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 49346145
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1Lt Robert J. Palenscar (9 Jun 1921–29 Mar 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 49346145, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by John C. Anderson (contributor 47208015) .