Thursday, April 26, 2018

WW2 Fallen - Distinguished Flying Cross hero and B-17 pilot Clarence Aaberg

Distinguished Flying Cross hero Lt. Clarence Aaberg was a B-17 pilot in the 447th Bombardment Group. 
Clarence A. Aaberg never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom and his nine crew mates.

He was born on April 26, 1918 in North Dakota. His parents Carl and Anna were both born in Minnesota. Three of his grandparents were from Norway. His father worked as a farmer. Clarence had one older half-brother, one older sister, two younger brothers, and one younger sister. By 1940 Clarence had completed four years of high school and worked as farm laborer while living at home.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces on November 18, 1941, after attending one year of college. Clarence became a 2nd lieutenant and B-17 pilot in the 711th Bombardment Squadron, 447th Bombardment Group. The 447th BG began operating from Rattlesden, England in November 1943. Lt. Aaberg joined the 711th BS as a replacement. 

The mission to bomb an aircraft plant at Regensburg, Germany on February 25, 1944 was his third mission. Lt. Aaberg was piloting the B-17 named Rosemary III. Ten minutes after dropping its bombs, the #3 engine stopped working, perhaps from prior flak damage. Lt. Aaberg was able to fly back to the English Channel on three engines, but flak on the French coast knocked out two more engines. Lt. Aaberg flew over the channel on one engine, losing altitude all the way. Once he reached the English coast he ordered all his men to jump out. All of them landed safely. When Lt. Aaberg jumped as the last one onboard, his plane was too low and his chute did not have time to open and he was killed as a result.

Lt. Aaberg was posthumously award the Distinguished Flying Cross. 

(See comments below for additional information provided by readers. Also here is the link to a Facebook page Honoring Clarence Aaberg)

His grave is at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in Coton, England. His older brother lived to be 101 years old.

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

Last year on this date I profiled Charles Hedrick, USS Jacob Jones. You can read about Charles 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:

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WW2 Fallen 100 is supported by

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  1. Joe Moriarty in the Facebook group "447th Bomb Group Association" wrote the following:

    Thanks to the bravery and courage displayed by this man my father who was co-pilot on this mission was able to make it home. I am eternally grateful. He is truly a hero. Although I’m sure he would never say so himself. God rest his soul.

  2. There is a Facebook page honoring Clarence Aaberg. Here is the link: