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Kenneth Wayne Thomason

3/3/1922 – 3/9/2015
Branch:  Army Air Corps 12th Air Force
Unit: 350th Fight Group
Outfit: 347th Squadron
Service Dates: 1942 – 1945
Veteran Station: Mediterranean Theater
County: Johnson, Mo.
Conflicts/Significant Events: Was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying 141 missions in World War II in North Africa, Casablanca, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Southern France.
He recalls one particular mission, Christmas Eve, over the Po Valley in Italy, where he destroyed an enemy fighter airstrip and planes, crippling the enemy’s air power.
On another occasion, he bailed out over the ocean when an engine malfunctioned, qualifying him as a member of the Caterpillar Club, or those who had “hit the silk” in a bailout and survived.
Story uploaded:  Thursday, May 24, 2007 / updated: Monday April 24th, 2023


Glen Warren Francis
8/24/1920 – 10/6/2007
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Sergeant
Unit: B-26 “Marauders”
Outfit: 669th Bomb Squadron
Service Dates: 1942-11 – 1945-10
County: Cape Girardeau
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, 6 Air Offensive Campaign Bronze Stars
Interviewed at Missouri Veterans Home Cape Girardeau, Mo. Story uploaded: Friday, June 22, 2007 / Updated Thursday, April 20, 2023


Arthur Ward

7/31/1922 – 1/11/2017
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Aviation Cadet
Unit: Tuskegee Airman
Service Dates: 1942 – 1944
County: St. Louis
City: Florrissant, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II

In 1943, Ward joined the U.S. Army and trained to become a pilot at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, which produced the 99th Pursuit Squadron, an all-black fighter squadron in the then-segregated military. He spent five months at Tuskegee.

When Ward did not qualify as a pilot, he declined an offer to train as a bombardier or navigator and joined a regular Army unit, he said in a 1996 interview with The Advocate. He was in the Philippines when the war ended.

Story Uploaded: Sunday, November 11, 2007 / Updated Saturday, April 8, 2023




John Robert Wren Jr.

1/7/1921 – 1/25/2022
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: 766th Squadron
Outfit: 15th Air Force 461st Heavy Bombardment Group
Service Dates: 1942 – 1944
County: St. Louis
City: St. Louis, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, POW, Shot Down Over Italy on 13th Mission
Story uploaded: Sunday, November 11, 2007 / updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Stanley J. Zita

9/16/1923 – 1/3/2010
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Active Cpl – Army, Chief Warrant Officer – National Guard
Unit: Army Air Force and National Guard
Outfit: State Headquarters
Service Dates: 1943 – 1978
Veteran Station: Phelps
County: Phelps
Medals: 5 Battle Stars, Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II Two years as an Active Corporal in the Army Air Force, 33 years as a Chief Warrant Officer in the National Guard
Story uploaded: Friday, June 15, 2007 / Modified: Monday, January 30th, 2023



Charlie “Norman” Swafford

StorySeal™ 01085

3/17/1921 – 4/22/2006

Norman was inducted at Fort McClellan, Alabama 10/23/1942

Branch: Army 9th Air Force, 806th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron

Rank: Tec 3 Medical Technician 409

SN: 34 396 321

Norman was discharged on 10/10/1945 in Fort McPherson, Ga.

Service Dates: 11/06/1942 – 10/10/1945

Home: Maysville, Alabama

Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Paired with a Nurse and 2 Pilots he flew 150 plus missions over enemy territory in Northern France, Central Europe, Normandy D+5, and Rhineland. He received Four Campaign Bronze Star Cluster Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal



History Highlights of The 806th

(Notes From a 806th Nurse.)

In early November 1943, the 806th made its first history – Lt. Jean K. Bartholomew and a surgical technician evacuated twelve patients from the ETO to the United States. This was the first transatlantic Medical Air Evacuation from the ETO.

Our greatest opportunity came after D-Day and in the months of war that followed while stationed
at Grove with the 31st Air Transport Group.  June 11: Official aerovac began on D+5 when 2d Lt. Grace E. Dunham, chief nurse of the 806th MAES, flew into Normandy Omaha Beach in a C47 that was still painted with invasion stripes. Upon landing, she jumped from the airplane wearing her oversized flight suit, provided care to the wounded, and flew with 18 Litter Patients to England. By the end of the month, the 806th had helped evacuate about 7,500 patients from France to England
Then during June, July, and August, with the 31st, we evacuated 20,142 patients and received two
letters of commendation from Wing Headquarters for this.

5 December was our first permanent move to France; to Orly and who among us can forget that lovely building we fell heir to! It had everything except heat, hot water and window panes. (The warmest place was outside in the snow). On the 7th of December 1944 Lt. Flo E. Twidale and T/ 3 David Winston made the first evac of American wounded from the continent for a transatlantic flight, the plane was a C-54 and there were 16 litter patients. During the months of December and January with ATC, 4,928 patients were evacuated.

During our stay at Melun and later Villacoublay, France, in the months of 1945, there was much hard work and many changes. A short tour of duty with a tent hospital near Le Mans preceded our real work, and after the Rhine para-drop in March, we began the Germany to France flights with the 436th T.C. Group following General Patton and the Third Army in their sweep across Europe.

In April 1945, the 806th set a world-wide record, which still stands, by evacuating 17,287 patients during that one month. This was more patients than had ever been evacuated in one month by any squadron in any Theater of Operation. We received a letter of commendation from Major General Paul Williams of the Ninth Troop Carrier Command for this effort.

Also in July we made the first Air Evac of patients from Berlin, Germany “Hawksie-Mae” did this. Four of us, along with Major Cannon, had been assigned to Berlin in order to evacuate by air any personnel attending the Potsdam Conference.

On 8 May 1945,the war had ended in Europe and tho’ our hard work continued, the winds of change were in the air.

806th Sqdn. – Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland. Received a letter of commendation for its record achievement of evacuating 17,266 patients during the month of April 1945. Commendable also is the fact that 16,997 of these patients were flown directly from front lines.

Story uploaded/modified: December 24th, 2021