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1st Lt. William Shannon Crew
722nd Squadron

Shannon Crew

Back Row - Left to Right
Lt. M. Silverstein - Bombardier
1st Lt. William Shannon - Pilot
2nd Lt. Ray A. Bland - Co-Pilot
Charles Wills - Navigator

Front Row - Left to Right
Cpl. Arthur C. Nordell - Assistant. Armorer/Gunner
Cpl. Lawrence C. Powers - Assistant Engineer/Gunner
Cpl. Rufus W. Hamman - Radio Operator/Gunner
Sgt. William E. Lusby - Assistant Radio Operator/Gunner
Cpl. Howard P. Nase - Engineer/Gunner
Sgt. William L. Waldrop - Armorer/Gunner

Shannon Crew

Picture taken 10 June 1944 at Chatham Field, Savannah, Georgia

Shannon Crew

Copy of the narrative that was written for the mission that Lt. Shannon was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross



WILLIAM S. SHANNON, 0-793183, Captain, Air Corps, 722nd Bombardment Squadron (H), 450th Bombardment Group (H), Army of the United States.

For extraordinary achievement in aerial flight.
On 24 February 1945, Captain Shannon was pilot of a B-24 type aircraft, leading seven (7) of his squadron's aircraft on a mission to bomb the highly strategic Verona Marshalling Yard at Verona, Italy.
Destruction or damage to any of the rolling stock or installations would greatly cripple the enemy's transportation system on the Brenner Pass Railroad Line.
Throughout the flight to the initial point, Captain Shannon exhibited outstanding leadership despite the bad weather conditions encountered and as a result, his squadron made the turn onto the bomb run exactly as planned. While on the bombing run, heavy and very accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered and ten (10) seconds before bombs away the #4 engine received a direct hit from a one hundred fifty five (155) MM shell. The shell failed to explode but it cut all the accessory lines leading to the engine. The aircraft swerved toward the right but as a result of quick thinking and exceptional pilotage, Captain Shannon was able to right his aircraft without breaking up the formation. He held the aircraft in formation just long enough to release his bombs and a heavy concentration hit the target causing fires and explosions among the rolling stock.
Just after bombs away, Captain Shannon was unable to maintain his aircraft in level flight and due to the excessive drag of the windmilling propeller he was forced to leave the formation. The oil lines leading to the #4 engine were shot away and he was unable to feather the windmilling propeller. Terrific vibrations were set up throughout the entire aircraft and Captain Shannon realized that it was of the utmost importance that he land as soon as possible. He had to reduce the throttle settings for the engine temperature was running very high and there was great danger of detonations. Altitude was maintained by the use of ten (10) degrees of flaps at a speed of one hundred fifty five (155) MPH.
Again Captain Shannon's superior airmanship and professional skill was taxed to the utmost for any malfunction of the crippled aircraft would have meant disaster, in the mountainous country he was flying over. He contacted the radio tower at Florence, Italy and received instructions to land there for the air strip he had picked out had not been cleared of enemy mines.
The aircraft circled the field at an altitude of 3,500 feet and Captain Shannon made a high approach for a three (3) engine landing. The runaway was 3,200 feet in length and only through the exceptional flying skill of Captain Shannon was his aircraft able to make a safe landing.
Throughout the dangerous flight in his disabled aircraft, Captain Shannon displayed outstanding coolness and his professional skill was instrumental in preventing a possible loss of life amount the members of his crew. By his exceptional flying ability, leadership, dauntless courage and a great devotion to duty, Captain Shannon has reflected great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

Combat sorties: 25

Operational hours: 175:20


Information provided by William L. Waldrop
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