|Sgt. Gerald Craven was B-17 flight engineer for the 359th Bombardment Squadron.|
Normally, I profile one of the fallen each day on his 100th birthday. That means twenty or more fallen, born on the same day and year are not profiled. It can be a tough choice to honor one and ignore the others who also earned this attention.
Today, there were two stories that especially struck me of worth. I could not decide which to leave out, so in an exception to my normal practice, today I am sharing two profiles. You can read the other one here.
Gerald H. Craven never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on April 15, 1918 in Michigan. His parents Charles and Ethen were born in Ohio and Indiana, respectively. His father worked as a factory machinist and later as a tank factory laborer. Gerald had two younger sisters and one younger brother. He married Helen Taylor in 1938 and they had two sons.
By 1940 Gerald was working as a tool room helper.
He was drafted into the army on December 20, 1943 and volunteered for the Army Air Forces. He became a sergeant and flight engineer in the 359th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, which was equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses.
On January 13, 1945 Sgt. Craven's B-17 was part of a 39 bomber mission to bomb the railroad bridge at Mannheim, Germany. While at his station at the top turret gun, Sgt. Craven was hit by flak through the arm and into the chest. Damage to the plane left him pinned in the turret. He did not survive the flight back to base. More details about his final mission were written by his grandson here.
His grave is at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis, Michigan. His widow remarried and died in 1994.
Last year on this date I profiled Armando Garden, 29th Infantry Division. You can read about Arrmando here.
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!
I created this video to explain why I started this project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY.
Please consider joining the public Facebook group to increase the exposure of this project. Go to: WW2 Fallen 100