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First Name: Leo

Last Name: Harper

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Forces (1941 - 1947)

Home of Record: CA
Middle Name: Loyd

Date of Birth: 10 April 1923

Date of Death: 18 December 1944

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1943 - 1944
Leo Loyd Harper, Jr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Leo Loyd Harper, Jr.
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces

In December 1944, Staff Sergeant Leo Loyd Harper, Jr. was serving as a radio operator with the 759th Bomb Squadron, 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 304th Bombardment Wing, 15th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Forces, based at Giulia Airfield, Italy. The 459th Bombardment Group flew B-24 Liberator bombers on missions in Italy, France, the Balkans, Austria and Germany.

On 18 December, SSGT Harper was the radio operator on B-24H Liberator bomber Serial Number 42-95265 named ’Frisco Kid alias The Whip’ that was on a mission to bomb a target at Oświęcim, Poland. [Missing Air Crew Record (MACR) 10685.] The aircraft had a crew of 10.

MACR 10685 says the aircraft was last sighted by a witness at 1500 hours. The witness, 1LT William F. Bertrand, said he last saw the aircraft when it crashed into the Adriatic Sea north of Manfredonia, Italy. One parachute was seen to leave the plane.

The body of Radio Operator Staff Sergeant Leo L. Harper, Jr. washed ashore at 2030 hours on 18 December 1944 and was the only body recovered.

In was decided in June 1945 that all ten crew members were Killed in Action on 18 December 1944.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal with Award Numeral 3
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army Air Forces Aircrew Badge

B-24H Liberator bomber Serial Number 42-50513 Serial Number 42-95265 named Frisco Kid alias The Whip had the following crew members on 18 December 1944.

● Pilot: 2LT Andrew J. Schmidt [Honoree Record ID 77577] KIA
● Co-Pilot: 2LT Sheldon F. Thomson [Honoree Record ID 78140] KIA
● Navigator: FO Nelson E. Sellers [Honoree Record ID 207574] KIA
● Bombardier: 1LT Charles A. Butler [Honoree Record ID 73726] KIA
● Engineer: SSGT John B. Thackston [Honoree Record ID 78099] KIA
● Radio Operator: SSGT Leo L. Harper, Jr. [Honoree Record ID 202998] KIA
● Nose Turret Gunner: CPL Bernard A. Haltiwanger [Honoree Record ID 75095] KIA
● Waist Gunner: SGT Harold D. Geller [Honoree Record ID 202449] KIA
● Ball Turret Gunner: CPL Charles O. Mercer [Honoree Record ID 76486] KIA
● Tail Turret Gunner: CPL Paul J. Zullo [Honoree Record ID 78691] KIA


Staff Sergeant Leo Loyd Harper, Jr. is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Provincia di Roma, Lazio, Italy.

[The information in this biography was derived primarily from various sections of the 459th Bombardment Group website at http://www.459bg.org/ and permission was granted for its use.]

Honoree ID: 202998   Created by: MHOH




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