Sunday, June 4, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Silver Star Hero and B-24 Pilot John Reed + CBS Tie-in

B-24 pilot Lt. John Reed, standing third from left with his crew. 

John Warner Reed, IV never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on June 4, 1917 in Michigan. His parents were also both born in Michigan. His father worked as a fruit farmer. John had one younger brother. By 1940 John had finished four years of high school and was working as a gas station attendant while living with his parents and brother.

He enlisted in Army Air Corp on October 22, 1941.

He served as a second lieutenant in the 577 Bombardment Squad, 392nd Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force where he was a pilot flying B-24s based in England.

Lt. Reed earned a posthumous Silver Star for gallant action taken on the day he died. The citation read:

A large force of ME-109's made a vicious attack as the formation approached the target and Lieutenant Reed's aircraft sustained severe damage. Two engines were disabled, the fuel and hydraulic lines punctured, and the left rudder and stabilizers badly torn by cannon fire. 

Ordering the bomb load to be released, Lieutenant Reed abandoned the formation and started the long return journey alone. Though the crippled bomber was exceedingly difficult to control, he flew it back to England. Shortly after crossing the English coast, he was informed that the bomb-bay section was choked with gasoline fumes from the leading fuel lines. 

Rather than risk the lives of his crew from an explosion which could be caused by a chance spark on landing, Lieutenant Reed ordered the entire crew to bail out. When they had all abandoned the stricken plane, he headed for the coast where the aircraft could crash harmlessly into the sea. Before he was able to bail out the aircraft crashed, killing Lieutenant Reed. 

His gallantry, flying skill, and devotion to duty and his comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of his crew.

Sadly, of the nine men he saved that day only one survived the war -- the other eight were killed on missions later that year.

His remains were returned to be buried at Crystal Springs Cemetery, Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Thank you John for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for John.


Charles Collingworth, fourth from left with other Murrow war correspondents.
Also born on June 4, 1917 was Charles Collingworth who worked as one of Ed Murrow's CBS reporters covering the war in Europe. Collingworth graduated from Cornell University and received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford in 1939 so he was already in Europe when the war started. He landed with the American troops at Utah Beach on D-Day just hours after the first wave. He worked on CBS Television News until he retired in 1982 and died in 1985.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share.

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