Glenn Edward Waddell
- Born: 2 Feb 1919, Billings, Yellowstone, Montana, USA 44
- Died: 10 Jan 1944, Capua, Abadia a Isola, , , Italy at age 24 44,81
- Buried: 2 Dec 1948, Billings, Yellowstone, Montana, USA 44,82
Cause of his death was Died in action, WWII.83
Name: Glenn E Waddell
Rank in US Air Force: 2nd Lt
Serial Number: 0-725824
Stationed at Pomigliano d'Arco Air Base, outside Naples, Italy from Nov 1, 1943 until death.
Quote from "What Did You Do in the War Daddy" page 42, 43, 44.
January 10th and our flight was on early alert, but I was not flying because of my bad cold. The weather was marginally cloudy, so I scheduled Glenn to take O'Reagan up for his second mission and G.E.'s 60th, on a Corps front weather hop, to see if the ceiling was high enough to fly the other missions that were scheduled. I then went back to my room to try and get rid of my cold. Operations called me a short time later, to say that G.E. had bailed out someplace north of our base, near the front. I immediately went down to the line, to talk with O'Reagan. He said they were just returning from the weather run over enemy territory, when he saw Glenn release the canopy of his plane and stand up, then there was a flash in the cockpit. Glenn's plane skidded under O'Reagan's and he lost sight of him. On circling, he could not find Glenn's plane. They were flying at about 1200 feet. That scared me, because it was not a very safe height for a parachute jump. We established that he was probably on our side of the front, when they got separated. Wickus and I took a car, Raf and Davy took another, and we went to the general area, but found no one that knew anything about a possible crash. We returned to the base, hoping to hear good news. One report had come in stating that a plane had crashed in an area northeast of Aversa. Nothing more was known.
After dinner, Angus, our Adjutant, got a phone call and Wickus told me that the plane had been found, and the pilot was dead! To say that I was heartbroken, or that I cried, could not begin to express the way I felt. It was the worst day of my life. Doc gave me a sleeping pill, which really helped get me through the night. . .
Doc received more information about the crash site, and asked if I wanted to go with him in the squadron ambulance, to pick up Glenn. We drove to Grazzanise, where we were told to drive about two miles south, to an old German airfield. After passing several wrecked German planes and a hanger, we were told to take a right on the first road. Bomb craters in the road prevented us from driving more than a hundred yards, where we left the ambulance. From there we walked about two hundred yards east, to where we saw an English soldier, who appeared to be on guard. He pointed out the wreck, about 50 yards away. The plane was completely demolished and appeared to be in a crater. We asked the soldier if he had seen the crash. He said no, but some of the men in his outfit had. He also said that he had opened G.E.'s parachute and covered him with it. I was shocked to learn that they had not removed him from the cockpit! I told the guard that the pilot was my best friend, and he advised me not to go over to the plane. Doc went over and looked around for any clues that he might find and took several pictures. I returned to the ambulance for a stretcher and some blankets as several more Englishmen came over to help. Doc took the stretcher and told me to stay over on the road with the vehicle, which I was glad to do. Even from there, I could see Doc and four soldiers place Glenn on the stretcher and cover him with the blanket and the blood-stained parachute. Finally, I turned away, and wished that I had not looked at all.
When we started back, Doc answered several questions that I put to him: No, Glenn was not recognizable, but was in one piece; No, the plane did not burn, it dug a six foot deep hole when it hit and did not bounce, but remained where it landed; one of the soldiers who saw the crash said that the plane came over, the nose went up then almost straight down. As near as I could figure, O'Reagan saw the flash after G.E. had thrown off his cockpit canopy. This sounded like he started to bail out, then something exploded to cause the flash: the engine, a flare in the cockpit, an anti-aircraft shell hit the plane? He may have decided that he was too low to bail out and tried to get back into the seat to make a forced landing. By that time, the plane stalled and he had no chance to recover. It could be also that what ever caused the flash, injured him and prevented a recovery. . .
The Chaplain stood just in front of them, facing north. To his left was the firing squad of eight men and a bugler. In front of him was Glenn's casket, covered with the American flag, beyond him, we stood in a row facing south. We overlooked all of the graves and in the distance exactly centered, was Mt. Vesuvius, sending up a column of light gray smoke. The sun was shining brightly and the air was warm. There was a restful silence, except for an occasional bird's song; as beautiful a day as we had had in many weeks. Fischer gave an excellent sermon and I was particularly glad that he knew both Glenn and me. We all stood with our hats in hand and sang "Rock of Ages." At the close of the sermon, the firing squad fired three volleys and the bugler played taps, as we saluted in tribute and farewell to a great friend. The tears that came to my eyes were from sorrow for his leaving us, but also for the joy that he had brought as a friend. 84
Noted events in his life were:
• Census: Age 10, birth MT, 2 Apr 1930, Billings, Yellowstone, Montana, USA. 67
• Military Service: First Lieutant, 111th Tac Recon Sqdn.
• Killed in action, 10 Jan 1944, , , , Italy.