Capt. Wm. R. Heck - WWII
WWII - Captain William R. Heck, Feb. 12, 1944, Mill Creek Crash, Pilot
Another relative came through with a picture of one of the, Feb. 12, 1944, Mill Creek, mid-air victims. The picture was taken when he was a cadet. A later pic may turn up but I am grateful to have this one. His sister is still alive and her son made contact after finding the website (Our Little Memorial Blog) several months ago.
I provided the family with the details of his death of which they had little knowledge. Also put them in email and telephone contact with the only survivor, the tail gunner. They have become close email acquaintances. A description of the crash for the blog follows:
"Captain William (Bill) R. Heck, 25, Middletown, Ohio, was pilot of B-17G, (42-30481), the aircraft that was cut-in-two in a mid-air collision near Mill Creek, Oklahoma, February 12, 1944. Ten crew members died as a result as the aircraft plummeted to earth; One member, Cpl. Joseph (Jack) W. McClanahan, the tail gunner, survived without injury, after parachuting from the severed tail section. The 12 planes, in tight formation, were turning and descending from 14,500 feet when the collision occurred under turbulent air conditions. They had been in the air for four-plus hours and were returning to Ardmore Army Air Field. The other B-17G, though severely damaged, landed safely at Ardmore. None of its crew was injured. Several weeks after the accident, the crew was shipped to England, serving with the 8th Air Force. A few days after arriving, the pilot of the surviving aircraft, Lt. Verne H. Lewis, flying as co-pilot with another crew for experience, was shot down, June 14, 1944, and became a prisoner of war."
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