Charles William Willet
Born 22 April 1924, Greeneville, Tennessee
Died 22 August 1944
96th Bomber Squadron, 2nd Bomber Group, 15th Air Force
Aircraft B-17G with serial number 42-38069, nickname Big Widget, departed from Amendola, Italy on a combat mission to Odertal Oil Refinery in Germany. Statement from S/Sgt Charles H. Hill, tail gunner on B-17 no. 395. After we left the target, B-17 no. 069 lagged behind us. Our element was separated from the squadron at the time. I heard over the interphone that they were going to throw out all extra equipment and salvo the ball turret. A few minutes later I saw one chute go out, then three FW-190 attacked no. 069. Four chutes came out then, one after the other. The plane flew on behind us for some time until I lost sight of it. This was at 1315 hours from 19000 feet at 46 deg 25 min North 17 deg 10 min East. S/Sgt Willet didn’t bail out. He was killed by shrapnel from 20mm in the forehead at the tail position. The aircraft crashed in Hungary.
Pilot, 1st Lt Charles M. Duncan
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt Harold Bogie
Navigator, 2nd Lt Merle A. Clark
Bombardier, T/Sgt Robert P. Cazier
Upper Turret Gunner, T/Sgt Warren W. Van Denplas
Lower Turret Gunner, S/Sgt Regino Rodriguez Jr.
Right Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Samuel P. Wentzel Jr.
Left Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Teddy V. Tomasik
Tail Gunner, S/Sgt Charles W. Willett
Radio Operator/Gunner, T/Sgt Joseph T. Levine