Flew 62 missions. Received 2nd Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers Medal and the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters. Has four Japanese Zeros to his credit as B-17 tail gunner.
On February 8 1942, nine B-17E bombers departed Malang, Java to bomb a Japanese occupied airport at Kendari on the island of Celebes. While en route the formation was attacked by a swarm of Japanese fighters over the Java Sea and two planes were shot down. Wateski's plane (B-17E #41-2483, nicknamed 'Mormon Meteor') was so badly damaged that it went out of control, falling 7,000 feet before the pilot was able to bring it under control. Unfortunately, by that point three crewmen had bailed out, believing the plane was not recoverable. Their bodies were never found.
Florence Mikolaichik Wateski
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