Truemper -- 2nd Lt Walter E Truemper

  • By

 

Walter Truemper entered the Army June 23, 1942, at Chicago, Ill., and served for a few months with the 174th Field Artillery at Camp Bowie, Texas, until he entered flying training. He took preflight at Ellington, Texas; flexible gunnery at Harlingen, Texas; and advanced navigation at Hondo Texas, where he was commissioned as a navigator in August 1943.

He served with the 796th Bomb Squadron at Alexandria, La., until going to Europe in December 1943, as a navigator with the 351st Bomb Group's 510th Squadron. Lieutenant Truemper lost his life Feb. 20, on his second mission, a B-17 strike against the enemy in occupied Europe. His Flying Fortress was attacked by a squadron of enemy fighters. The copilot was killed outright, the pilot wounded and unconscious, the radio operator wounded, and the airplane severely damaged.

For gallantry and heroism in this situation, Lieutenant Truemper received the Medal of Honor. His citation reads, in part: "...Lieutenant Truemper and other members of the crew managed to right the airplane and fly it back to their home station, where they contacted the control tower and reported the situation. Lieutenant Truemper and the engineer volunteered to attempt to land the airplane. Other members of the crew were ordered to jump, leaving Lieutenant Truemper and the engineer aboard. After observing the distressed bomber from another airplane, the squadron commander decided the damaged airplane could not be landed by the inexperienced crew and ordered them to abandon it and parachute to safety. Demonstrating unsurpassed courage and heroism, Lieutenant Truemper and the engineer replied that the pilot was still alive but could not be moved and that they would not desert him. They were then told to attempt a landing. After two unsuccessful efforts their airplane crashed into an open field in a third attempt to land. Lieutenant Truemper, the engineer, and the wounded pilot were killed."

See the
full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.