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George Raymond Moon
Bomb Group: 322nd, Bomb Squadron: 451st

T/Sgt George R. Moon
322nd Bomb Group, 451st Bomb Squadron

George R. Moon grew up at Salmon Bay, Washington, underneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, with his father Delmar, his mother Louise, and 6 sisters! George loved to fish, and often wrote home dreaming of the day when he would be out on the water yet again.

George R. Moon was bitten by the aviation bug from the day he was born (Feb 1923).  His sister Pat recalls, "the family had no money for flying lessons, so as soon as he was old enough, he joined the Army Air Force  (Feb 1941).  In basic training, George qualified for pilot training in every way but one, age.  His mother, thinking it was too dangerous, wouldn't sign the papers giving him permission, so instead he studied avionics.

He was assigned to the 17th Bomb Group, 34th Bomb Squadron at McChord AFB, Washington State.  From there, he went to Pendleton Field, Oregon, and on to Tyndall Field, Panama City Florida for flexible gunnery training.

Excerpt from letter dated Feb 28, 1942:  "Dear Folks,  Things happen fast in the Army, and they have to me too.  Darned near my whole Army life has changed in the last couple days.  At noon Wednesday they told me to be ready at one o'clock to go to gunnery school.  They shipped us down here to Panama City, Florida.  At the end of our five weeks training course, we will either be kept as instructors because this is a new school, or shipped off to where gunner-radio operators are needed.  You can guess where that would be.  (....)  This sure is a swell place.  We are living in Stucco barracks with 6 men to a 25' x 30' room.  That means we really have a lot of space. (...)  I guess they are treating us nice now because we will catch hell later on." 

Mar 3, 1942  "(...) I am getting to hate this place more and more.  Every night we have to get out and do exercises ... I can hardly stand up.  And we have inspections every day.  Have to wear a uniform all the time; and I thought we came down here to learn how to shoot a machine gun.  We do have to be able to detail strip one and name every part in it.  We are also supposed to be able to identify all airplanes friendly and enemy, and know the exact fuselage length and wing-span.  Oh-h-h Mommy.  I wanna go home."

Mar 6, 1942 "(...) I just got back from a two-day leave in London. I had a swell time. They had a big Lancaster bomber right in the middle of Trafalgar Square. It had been on about 30 missions over France and Germany. Up by St. Paul's Cathedral, they had a Stirling Bomber. I am still trying to figure out how they got them there."

George graduated with the Tryndall Field Aerial Gunners Class 42-14, Squadron B in April 1942.  He then spent time at Columbia Army Air Base, Columbia South Carolina, and Barksdale Field, Louisiana where he became Acting Section Chief.   

Excerpt from letter June 28, 1942:  "The squadron is being busted up.  They are going to make a new squadron out of it. (...) That makes me third executive. (...)  Mom, I've never drunk a thing yet.  I've gone 19 years without never once getting plastered or taking a drink.  I hope you will not hate me too much if I go over there tonight and have a couple.  I'll use discretion, I promise you.  But look Mom and Dad, I am not exactly doing the safest thing in the Army.  And it seems to be a lot of fun for some people, and I would like to try it just once." (Note: In a subsequent letter, George commented that drinking didn't seem to affect him any more than a Coke, and was sure a lot more expensive.)

George was sent overseas, to the 451st Bomb Squadron, 322nd Bomb Group, at Great Sailing, Andrews Airbase, England in Sept 1942. 

Dec 26, 1942 (from England): "Dear Folks, Well, here it is the day after Christmas, a Christmas which did not seem like one. (...)We have moved to a muddy hole (...) but that is better than not living at all. We had turkey, or chicken, or sea-gull, or something like that yesterday."

George was a B-26 radio operator/aerial gunner, and flew on the B-26C-45-MO Marauder, Serial # 41-18276 ( ID# 42-107680)  named the PICKLED-DILLY  (one of the "century" planes; Over 100 Missions!) while overseas.  The story passed down in the family is that George had completed his missions and was waiting for transport home.  His best friend in the unit had one final mission to fly.  This gent had a wife and child(ren) at home, so George volunteered to take his place. 

The 322nd bomb group was sent on a night mission July 7, 1944.  32 B-26s plus 3 Pathfinders were sent to bomb German V-1 Noball Headquarters at Chateau de Ribeacourt, France, housing key personnel for the launching of pilotless aircraft against England.  Attacks by ME1902, JU88s and ME110s began in the Oisemont area and continued to the Target, and then on to about 10 miles out in the Channel on return. Some 40-50 twin and single engine enemy fighters were active against the Marauders, and the enemy reported our planes from approximately the time of entry of the first aircraft to the time of exit of the lat aircraft. At least 9 enemy fighters engaged in about 14 combats with the bombers.  Two of the fighters were destroyed by the bombers, at least one other was damaged.

It is reported that most of the attacks came from 5-7 o'clock low. Heavy flak and searchlights coordinated with the fighters resulted in heavy casualties. It was reported that flares were also used to illuminate the Marauders.  9 B-26s were shot down, 2 B-26s were damaged beyond repair.   Unfortunately the Pickled-Dilly was one of the B-26s that went down on that mission, and all aboard were killed.  The crew included:

Pilot: 1st Lt. Claude B. Jones, KIA  Normandy Cemetery D-3-34
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt Wilfred L. Allen
Navigator-Bombardier:  1st Lt. Robert E. Silverman
Engineer-Gunner:  S/Sgt Ramond M. Close, KIA Normandy Cemetery B-6-23
Radio Operator:  T/Sgt George R. Moon, KIA Normandy Cemetery D-1-34
Tail Gunner:  S/Sgt Jack W. Tolbert

 Technical Sergeant George R. Moon is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.  Plot D, Row 1, Grave 34.

T/Sgt George R. Moon's many honors and Decorations:
* Distinguished Flying Cross; 
* Air Medal with ten Oak Leaf Clusters
* Purple Heart; 
* Good Conduct Medal;  
* American Defense Service Medal
* American Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star for participation in the Antisubmarine Campaign
* European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars for participation in the Air Offensive Europe and Normandy Campaigns
* WWII Victory Medal; 
*  Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem

Ed Safars Pickled Dilly Crew Chief

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