Black Jack's Last Mission


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WAIST GUNNER
James R. Peterson

Corporal James Riefe Peterson, 17043264 was born April 28, 1920 and had a twin brother Dean Peterson in Vinton, Iowa. He was raised in Mason City, Iowa and graduated from Mason City High School in 1938. He also attended junior college in Mason City then enrolled at the University of Iowa.

In February 6, 1942, he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF). Assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron and flew combat missions.

In May 1943 he joined the De Loach crew in May 1943 as a waist gunner on "Black Jack".

After the July 11, 1943 ditching of "Black Jack", he was awarded an Air Medal, and flew in B-24 Liberators. He returned to the United States in April 1944 after flying a total of 42 missions.

On April 10, 1954 he married Gwendolyn Bohning in Springdale, Arkansas. The couple lived in Springdale, Kansas City and Salina before settling in Fargo, North Dakota. He retired in 1985 to Minnesota and spent winters in Arizona. He lived in retirement in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

On October 12, 2018 Peterson passed away at age 98 at Colfax Health & Rehabilitation Center in Colfax, WI.

On October 18, 2018 was his memorial service and burial at First Presbyterian Church Columbarium in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.


References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James R. Peterson
Leader-Telegram - Obituary James R. Peterson October 16, 2018
FindAGrave - James Riefe Peterson
Thanks to Michael Tandberg (son in law) for additional information.


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