New England Air Museum
Robert William Jurgensen
Robert W. Jurgensen, 1944
Robert W. Jurgensen, 1944
Recent Address:
434 Highgate Avenue, Worthington, OH 43085
Email:
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Family Information:
Parents: William and Charlotte; Wife: Alice; Children: Eric, Ingrid, Christian, Matthew
Hometown:
Niles, MI
Date Entered Service:
December 14, 1942
Service Number:
O-826996
Bomb Group:
462nd
Squadron:
770th
Location of Unit:
Piardoba, India 12/11/44
Missions Flown:
19
Hump Missions Flown:
3
Targets:
Formosa (2), Gulf of Siam-mine laying, Rangoon, Malay,
Hamamatsu, Koriyama, Tokyo (2), Kyushu (2), Fukui, Takarazuka, Hachiogi, Toyokawa, Hikari Shikuko (POW supply mission)
Awards/Decorations:
Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal, India-Burma Campaign, Central Burma Campaign, China Campaign, Air Offensive Japan, Presidential Unit Citation
Service Schools Attended:
Advanced FlightTraining-Valdosta, GA Jan-Mar 1944; B-17 Transition Training-Hendricks Field, FL Mar-May 1944; B-29 Crew Training, Clovis, NM July-Nov 1944
Military Specialty(ies):
MOS 1093-Pilot B-29 VHB
Rank Upon Discharge:
1st Lieutenant
Crew Type:
Flight crew
Airplane Serial No.& Name:
42-65232 Missouri Queen
Were you a POW?
No
Were you interned?
No
Date Transferred from the 58th:
November 22, 1945
Date Discharged from the 58th:
November 22, 1945
Post-WWII Military Service:
Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):
Engineer with American Electric Power
Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:
I've lived a very fortunate life. As an 18 year old, I was fortunate to get into the Aviation Cadet program in 1942 and fulfill a dream to learn to fly. Two years later I was given the opportunity to fly the most advanced bomber in the world at that time -- the B-29. Fortune continued to smile on me as I was assigned to a wonderful crew of men under the leadership of the Aircraft Commander, Al Keller. We flew a brand new B-29, the Missouri Queen, named in honor of Al Keller who was from St. Joseph, Missouri, from Kearney, Nebraska, east around the globe to Piardoba, India. We were a replacement crew in the 770th Sq., 462nd Grp. of the 58th Bomb Wing. I've always been proud to have served with the 58th Bomb Wing, but not without feelings of guilt. So many good people lost their lives and I never received a scratch. As I grow older, I can't help thinking about how I was allowed to live while those with more promise than I, died. Nonetheless, I am most grateful for the sacrifices made by so many so that I could enjoy a long, peaceful, free and happy life with family and friends.
Comments:
While I was back in the States for Lead Crew training, Al Keller, Pilot, and his crew including Lew Patton, Bombardier, and Jack Gruber, Navigator, encountered Japanese "George" fighters over Osaka, Japan, on July 7, 1945. The bombardier took a 20mm in his lap. He was blinded and severely crippled for life. The plane was badly damaged. The tail gunner's compartment caught on fire and the tail gunner, Dale Kinninger, was severely burned over much of his body. With all instrumentation, navigation and hydraulic systems out, Jack Gruber was able to navigate by dead reckoning to Iwo Jima and Al Keller was able to land the damaged aircraft with all hands surviving.

Mr. Jurgensen passed away September 19, 2013 and is buried at All Saints Lutheran Cemetery, Worthington, OH.

 

Bob Jurgensen, Al Keller, Lew Patton, Jack Gruber
Bob Jurgensen, Al Keller, Lew Patton, Jack Gruber

 

Back Row: Alfred J. Keller, Pilot; Robert W. Jurgensen, Co-Pilot; Lewis Patton, Bombardier; Jack Gruber, Navigator; Ivle Lindy, Flight Engineer; Billie J. Gabe, Radio Operator.
Front Row: Raymond E. Stevens, Radar Operator; Thomas F. Harrington, CFC Gunner; William Diaz, Waist Gunner; Steve Mikstay, Waist Gunner; William D. Kinninger, Tail Gunner

 


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