On behalf of the 99th Bomb Group Historical Society (BGHS) Officers, Board of Directors, and Membership, it is our honor and privilege, to recognize our 99th BG 346 BS Veteran, Alan Axtell for his service, and the celebration of his 100th birthday on July 5th, 2018.
Alan flew 12 combat missions from March 02, 1945 until April 23, 1945 as a pilot. The photo above shows a smiling Lt. Axtell after receiving his Pilot wings. Alan entered the Army Air Force in April 1942 and upon receiving his commission and wings his first assignment was as an instructor pilot helping train new crews preparing to go overseas to combat. During that time he requested combat duty and was finally given a crew and headed for combat in December 1944. The photo below is of his crew taken stateside prior to heading overseas:
Bottom Row L to R: Lts Axtell, Pilot; Boyce, Co-Pilot; Coe, Navigator; Dual, Bombardier
Top Row L to R: Sgts. Doss, Engineer; Bonanti, Radio Operator; Farnsworth, Gunner; Karper, Ball Turret Gunner; Heller, Gunner; Striebeck, Tail Gunner
The Axtell crew left the States on January 12, 1945 by ship in a convoy that took 22 days to get from Norfolk, VA to Naples, Italy. From there the Crew proceeded by a very, very slow train to Foggia and thus did not fly their first mission until March 02, 1945 to bomb the Marshalling Yards in Linz, Austria. After each combat mission, Lt. Axtell sat down and wrote a report of what happened during that mission. As paper was scarce, he wrote each report on blank pages torn from his flight log record book. See the attached file to read an exact copy of what Alan wrote for the 12 missions he completed before the War in Europe ended with the Nazi surrender and VE day.
You can also see a photo of Alan celebrating his 99th birthday completing one of his major bucket list items by visiting the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, OH.
Alan is in very good health with a sharp mind and is looking forward to September 12-14, 2018 when he and other Veterans from Oregon will be traveling on an Honor Flight to visit the WWII and other Veteran Memorials in Washington, DC. You may contact and send him your best wishes at the following email: Alaxtell4246@gmail.com
Please contact us by email below if you have any news on our 99th BG Veterans or events of interest, you would like to share with our membership. We welcome your contributions for consideration for use on our website, historical archives, or for assistance with your historical research.
Gary T. Staffo
99th BGHS 2nd Vice President