Staff Sergeant Bernard C. Chapman, US Army Air Forces, was assigned to the 340th Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group Heavy, flying a B-17 out of Amendola. Italy.

He was killed in action on 21 January 1945, and is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, Florence American Cemetery, Florence, Italy.

The B-17 bomber departed from Foggia, Italy, on 21 January 1945, to participate in a bombing mission to Austria. While returning from the mission, the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in the Adriatic Sea because of lack of fuel. Every available type of rescue equipment was sent to the scene. However, the high waves and wind prevented aiding the crew members and all except three of them (Whalen, Couvillion and Gorman) drowned.

Crew members
Pilot 1st Lt John V. Potkalitsky
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Melvin H. Cummings
Navigator 1st Lt William R. Hill
Bombardier S/Sgt Bernard C. Chapman
Radio Operator Sgt Earl C. Poovey
Engineer/Gunner T/Sgt Thomas F. Gorman
Armorer Gunner S/Sgt Daniel R. Shea
Armorer Gunner Elbert F. McKinlay
Gunner S/Sgt Harold J. Whalen
Gunner S/Sgt Leroy P. Couvillion Jr.

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Date of death: 21 January 1945
  • County: Unicoi
  • Hometown: Erwin
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 340th Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Florence American Cemetery, Via Cassia, Italy
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XIX, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Bernard C. Chapman

Image Gallery

Click a thumbnail below to view at full size.

Submit more information on this veteran →