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MEMORIAL FOR JOE ADAMS

In honor of the following who lost their lives or became POW's in the loss of the B24 Black Widow of the 446BG/707BS on February 4th 1944 at 11:58 AM.  The aircraft crashed  near Amiens France as a result of German fighter action.

 

Sad Sack was the airplane the crew claimed as their own...it was the B24 that they flew from the US to England in the latter part of 1943.  The Sad Sack nose art sketched and painted on the side of the B24 nose section was was done by Joe Adams' wife, Helen Bliss Adams.  We have never been able to locate Helen to inform her of these details...she remarried and we do not know her current last name. (On the day of the fatal flight the crew was flying a subsitute aircraft known as the Black Widow with two substitute crew members...Hinton and Kieley.

The Sad Sack Crew

B24H "Sad Sack" crew in fall of 1943 at a base in the US.
Left to right: S/Sgt Paul Sallee, T/Sgt Earl W Lee, S/Sgt Vincent L Riel, Lt Koonse, S/Sgt John D Fletcher, Lt John T Carmody, Lt Joseph B Adams, S/Sgt Francis A Stewart (stdg), Lt Marvin W Garber and T/Sgt Anthony J Nardozzi. 

NOTE: S/Sgt Sallee and Lt Koonse were not with the crew on the "Black Widow's" fatal flight.

 

THE CREW

1/Lt   Garber, Marvin W. Pilot KIA
2/Lt   Hinton, Foster J.  Co-pilot  POW - now deceased
2/Lt   Carmody, John T. Navigator  KIA
l/Lt   Adams, Joseph B. Bombardier  KIA
T/Sgt  Nardozzi, Anthony J. Radio Operator POW
T/Sgt  Lee, Earl W.  Engineer KIA - shot in parachute
S/Sgt  Stewart, Francis W.  Ball Turret  POW
S/Sgt  Riel, Vincent L. R Waist Gunner POW - now deceased
S/Sgt  Kieley, Adrian W. L Waist Gunner KIA
S/Sgt  Fletcher, John D. Tail Gunner POW

Joe Adams was a personal boyhood friend of mine in Kansas. We both joined the Kansas National Guard and were mobilized into the US Army on 23 Dec 40.   Subsequently we both transferred to the USAAF Aviaiton Cadet rogram and were commissioned 2nd Lt Bombardiers.  Joe was shipped to the 8AF/446BG/707BS at Bungay in England, and I was shipped to the 15AF/376BG/412BS at San Pancrazio in Italy.  I was fortunate and survived 51 missions.  I had received a letter from home telling me that Joe was MIA, but I never knew the full story and the crew's fate until this past year...some 53 years later.

With the help of a grateful British historical researcher, Maurice Rowe, the story is now known in great detail.  He even found a record of the fighter track, the exact time of the shootdown and the name of the German fighter pilot who claimed the victory.  The badly mangled remains of those KIA were first buried in a common grave in a French cemetery.  After the war Joe's father, Frank B Adams, while working with the US Army graves registration organization, found the initial burial site, identified one of the bodies as his son, and arranged with all of the next of kin for burial in a single grave site in the Jefferson Barracks National Centery near St Louis, MO.

A Memorial service honoring the World War II service of lst Lt. Joseph B. Adams, was held in El Dorado, Kansas on Memorial Day, 25 MAY 1998 at the El Dorado Cemetery Sunset Lawn cemetary.  El Dorado was Joe's hometown...where he grew up and graduated from El Dorado High School in 1939.  It was from there that he entered the military service on 23DEC1940. The Grave of Joe Adams

On 4 FEB 1944 Joe, along with four of his fellow crew members, was killed in action when a German FW190 shot down their B24 bomber over France.  Due to a set of unusual circumstance's the word of his death was never reported or recorded in his hometown.   Two of the surviving gunners, John Fletcher and Anthony Nardozzi, and the widow of Vincent Riel, Shirley Riel, are attended.  The British historian who managed the research efforts of this search for the full story attended, and he was the featured speaker at the ceremony.

Read Bob Lehnherr's speech at the dedication of the plaque to Joe Adams on Memorial Day, 1998.

I would like to hear directly from anyone who was acquainted with any aspect of the life of Joseph B Adams.  I would be very pleased to correspond with any of the surviving crew members or anyone who knew him in the 707BS/446BG.  Feel free to contact me at ifmo@compuserve.com.

More details about the Joe Adams story...the story of the successful search for the crash site of the Black Widow will be found at http://www.bogo.co.uk/air_research/aarecent.htm.   Scroll down the page until you come to the story of the Black Widow.

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Robert Lehnherr a.k.a IFMO

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