Aircraft B-24D with serial number 42-72852 departed from Pancrazio, Italy on a high altitude mission to Vincenza, Italy. He is memorialied at Florence American Cemetery, Italy.
Statement from Sgt Herbert G. Esaw:
I was flying in plane number 80, in number 2 element number 2 ship of the 515th Squdron, in the tail turret. The 512th formation was behind and way out to our left as we approached the target. The first fighters attacked them from behind out of the sun. Then they came in from every direction. The two wing men in ‘b’ element were first to go down. Then the leader of the 512th Squadron before we dropped our bombs. One of the remaining three went down as they were making for our formation, the other two each had two engines smoking and went down about 1500 to 2000 yards before they got to us. During this time I saw six fighters go down and chutes opening in every direction from the B-24´s. It was impossible to tell what planes the chutes came from. One B-24 blew up before it hit the ground and the others all went into spins. I did not see them either blow up or hit the ground as we were attacked ourselves.
William McKenna didn’t bail out. He was critically if not mortally wounded according to a crewmember. He was last seen by the tail gun position.
Pilot, 1st Lt Paul H. Brown
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt Arthur B. Fontaine
Navigator, 1st Lt Charles C. Banks
Bombardier, 1st Lt Arthur W. Vigheron Jr.
Engineer, T/Sgt Oscar C. Moseley
Radio Operator, T/Sgt Stanley Wesson
Assistant Engineer, S/Sgt John A. Swearingen
Assistant Radio Operator, S/Sgt Morton Milstein
Tail Gunner, S/Sgt William T. McKenna
Armorer Gunner, S/Sgt Robert R. Cline
- Rank: Staff Sergeant
- Date of birth: 14 June 1922
- Date of death: 28 December 1943
- County: Hamilton
- Hometown: Chattanooga
- Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
- Division/Assignment: 512th Bomber Squadron, 376th Bomber Group, Heavy
- Theater: Europe
- Conflict: World War II
- Awards: Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters
- Burial/Memorial Location: Florence American Cemetery, Via Cassia, Italy
- Location In Memorial: Pillar X, Top Panel
- Contact us to sponsor William T. McKenna Jr.
Click a thumbnail below to view at full size.