New England Air Museum
James J. Drnek
Back row - L to R: E.I. Mann, Jim W. Evans, J. N. Sanders, Jack S. Walling, Joe Ned Brown, Aubrey S. Perry
Front row - L to R: J. E. Jarmon, James J. Drnek, Robert J. Brophy, David A. Capshaw, James G. Glessner (Bailey photo)
Recent Address: Brecksville, OH
Family Information: Parents: Frank and Barbara; Children: Joan
Date Entered Service: February 20, 1943
Service Number: 35048060
Bomb Group: 40th
Squadron: 25th
Location of Unit: Chakulia, India; Chengdu, China, Tinian Island
Missions Flown: 31+.  At the end of May 1945, S/Sgt Drnek led all CFC Gunners in the number of missions flown to date with 31.
Hump Missions Flown:
Awards/Decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal(s)
Service Schools Attended:
Military Specialty(ies): Central Fire Control - MOS 580
Rank Upon Discharge: Staff Sergeant
Crew Type: Flight
Airplane Serial No.& Name:
42-6282; Sanders Crew.
42-24888 - Smiln' Jack
42-24471 - flew back to US in this war weary plane on or after July 2, 1945.
Were you a POW?
Were you interned?
Date Transferred from the 58th:
Date Discharged from the 58th: October 5th 1945
Post-WWII Military Service:
Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:
On the first 58th Bomb Wing mission to Bangkok on June 5, 1944, on returning alone from mission the ship was forced to ditch in the Bay of Bengal.  Mechanical failure of fuel transfer system necessitated ditching when gas supply in wing tanks were exhausted.  At time of ditching combat crew of the aircraft consisted of 11 men, 7 of whom were rescued and 4 lost. Sgt Drnek did not remember anything until he found himself caught by his belt on cots and armor plate door in the radar compartment. When he came  to he went out through the door of the radar compartment into the unpressurized aft  compartment where he could see Capt Sanders tugging at the life raft blocking the hatch. Capt Sanders pulled him out as related. Every thing was very hazy until he found himself on the fuselage.
Mr. Drnek passed away August 25, 2003


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