451st Bombardment Group (H) 15th Air Force

724th Bombardment Squadron (H)

Harry Fryar's War

Ball Turret

Crew Photo

Courtesy of Michael Roush

Standing L-R: S/Sgt. Clair Shughart (NG); 1st Lt. Robert James (P); 2nd Lt. Moses Hanna (N); 2nd Lt. Lew G. Stewart (CP)

Squatting L-R: S/Sgt. Israel Willig (TG); T/Sgt. Ken Gevry (E/WG); S/Sgt. Harry F. Fryar (BTG); S/Sgt. Guy N. Shipe (RO/TTG); S/Sgt. Ed Pelt (AE/WG)

2nd Lt. C. A. Kleppner (B) not shown in the above photo.

This is a WWII combat journal told from the viewpoint of Harry Fryar—B-24 ball turret gunner. Harry did not keep a journal. This combat journal is a composite made from war journals of other airmen (in the 376th, 449th, 450th and 451st bomb groups), S-2 reports of the missions from the 449th, 450th, 451st and 461st bomb groups, and memories of the missions from Harry Fryar and Robert James.

Stephen Crane once said that he wrote The Red Badge of Courage because reading the cold history was not enough; he wanted to know what it was like to be there, what the weather was like, what emotions the men went through. In order to live it he had to write it. This combat journal was written for much the same reason.

Harry and crew #12 (Robert James’ crew) flew almost all of their missions together in these two aircraft. They flew SAKINSHACK over to Italy from the United States at the end of 1943. Ship 42-94808 was assigned to the 451st Bomb Group in May of 1944 and Robert James’ crew got this new aircraft and named it JESSE JAMES. A newer crew was assigned the old airplane, SAKINSHACK.  Harry finished his 50 missions on July 2nd 1944 and JESSE JAMES was shot down on July 7th 1944 over Blechhammer, Germany (occupied Poland) with a different crew aboard.