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Kenneth Willard Smithers

Article about: In my collection I have this grouping of items that used to belong to Tailgunner Kenneth W Smithers, 385th BG, 551st BS. Thought i would share it with you guys and also ask for help if anyon

  1. #1
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    Default Kenneth Willard Smithers

    Kenneth Willard Smithers
    Kenneth Willard Smithers
    Kenneth Willard Smithers

    In my collection I have this grouping of items that used to belong to Tailgunner Kenneth W Smithers, 385th BG, 551st BS.
    Thought i would share it with you guys and also ask for help if anyone has an idea of where to find his crew pic.
    He was part of the McCutchen crew, and they were a replacement crew that flew their first combat mission
    early 1945.

    Here are a mission list:
    Combat missions
    TG 259 28-Feb-45 Kassel McNamara ? 43-38717
    TG 260 1-Mar-45 Ulm McCutchen ? 43-38717
    TG 264 8-Mar-45 Dortmund McCutchen ? 43-38717
    TG 268 14-Mar-45 Hanover McCutchen Li'l Audrey 42-32008
    TG 269 15-Mar-45 Oranienburg McCutchen Li'l Audrey 42-32008
    TG 270 17-Mar-45 Bitterfeld McCutchen Li'l Audrey 42-32008
    TG 272 19-Mar-45 Jena McCutchen Hit Parade, Jr. 42-38031
    TG 274 21-Mar-45 Zwischenahn McCutchen ? 44-8763
    TG 277 24-Mar-45 Zwischenahn McCutchen ? 43-39056
    TG 278 26-Mar-45 Plauen McCutchen Ole Doodle Bug 43-38625
    TG 283 4-Apr-45 Kiel McCutchen This Is It 43-38336
    TG 284 5-Apr-45 Unterschlauterbach McCutchen Vat 69 42-107054
    TG 285 7-Apr-45 Gustrow McCutchen This Is It 43-38336
    TG 286 8-Apr-45 Hof McCutchen Patches 42-37952
    TG 289 11-Apr-45 Ingolstadt McCutchen Ole-O-Oboe 42-102614
    TG 290 14-Apr-45 Royan McCutchen Ole Doodle Bug 43-38625

    He was born January 22, 1926 in Pittsfield, Illinois the son of Otto Enoch and Nellie J. Willard Smithers, Sr.
    On March 30, 1946 he married Mary Ileen Musick in Quincy, and she preceded him in death on November 21, 2000.
    He was a 1944 graduate of Quincy Senior High School, but was in the service at graduation time and received
    his diploma when he returned home in 1945.
    In 1942 Ken worked nights and Saturdays at the A&P Store, 9th and Broadway while attending high school.
    In June of 1943 Ken worked for ABC Packing Machine Company, 11th and Maine,
    and was foreman of two shifts in the electro-plating department which made cadmium plating fuses for
    the US Army tank shells.
    Ken passed the United States Army Air Force Cadet Program in 1943, and entered the service on March 30, 1944.
    He was a Tail-Gunner on a B-17 Bomber, 385th Bomb Group, Wolf Squadron near Elmswell, Suffolk County, England.
    Ken was a Sergeant and flew 18 missions over Germany. He was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters,
    the EAME Ribbon with four Battle Stars, the American Theater Medal, the Victory Medal of WWII,
    and the Good Conduct Medal. On January 3, 2003 Ken was awarded the French Consulate’s Special Diploma
    for serving in French Airspace from 1944-1945. Ken completed two government sponsored courses on Gunnery and Armament Schools while in the service.
    Ken was employed at Gardner Denver for 31 years and worked as a Purchasing Agent for Maintenance,
    Repair and Operational Supplies.

  2. #2
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    The short snorter is signed by many other NCO's of 385th including all gunners of his own crew.

  3. #3

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    Nice grouping, thanks for sharing.


    Mart

  4. #4
    MAP
    MAP is online now
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    Fantastic grouping. And great to know so much about him. Glad this wasn't split up just for a few extra $$$.
    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  5. #5
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    Excellent grouping of Mr. Smithers you have.
    Have you tried making contact with anybody from the 385th BG website?
    Somethimes there is a historian or someone who keeps the NARA records that can help with finding info.

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE 385TH BOMB GROUP ASSOCIATION

    Just a tid bit of 8th AF awarding of air medals. You were awarded one after your 5th combat flight and would get a oakleaf for every 5th flight you flew after that.

    Semper Fi
    Phil
    Last edited by AZPhil; 08-03-2020 at 05:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Phil!
    I have tried the 385th bg associaton site, and their facebook. But as they were a replacement crew
    late in the war it doesnt seem like there are any official bg photos.
    So my next step is to try and work out where they trained and see if i can find a photo of him there.
    Im going to build a display of these items, and are planning to frame the sort snorter and hang together with the other items.
    A modelkit of one of the planes he flew (a small, maybe 1/144 scale) and a photo of him in uniform would make it great!

    Last year i built a smull hut to have as my own private museum/mancave, having collected 20+ years i should have realized i should have med it twice as big!

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