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Gaudin Duffy Joseph, Jr.

Duffy Joseph, Jr. Gaudin
Staff Sergeant
Serial Number:
836th Bomber Squadron, 487th Bomber Group, Heavy
Date of Death:
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Belgium
Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart

Duffy Joseph Gaudin, Jr. was born in Louisiana in 1924. He was one of at least six children of Duffy Joseph Gaudin Sr (17 Mar 1895 – 5 Jan 1960) and Estrella Valentine (Becnel) Gaudin (1889 – 1929). His parents married about 1916. His father was a carpenter. In 1920 the family lived in Saint James Parish, Louisiana. His mother died in 1929, and by 1930 the family lived in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. In 1940 the family home was at 2574 Plank Road, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. About 1940 his father married Philomene Louviere Gaudin (15 Mar 1909 – 26 Mar 1981), and together they had at least five children.

He completed two years of high school, and was single, without dependents, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army at New Orleans, Louisiana on March 26, 1943. He completed Army Air Forces aerial gunnery school, and was assigned to the heavy bomber crew of Lt Lloyd S. Reed in the 836th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group. This Group was based at Army Air Forces Station 137, near the village of Lavenham, Suffolk, England. The Reed crew arrived at Station 137 by July 24, 1944, and became part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. After arrival in England, S/Sgt Gaudin was reassigned as ball turret gunner on the crew of Lt Ira L. Ball in the 836th Bomb Squadron.

On December 24, 1944, the 8th Air Force launched mission #760, the largest aerial mission of the war, which involved more than 2000 heavy bombers. The mission was to bomb German airfields and supply lines, to stop the German offensive in the Ardennes known as the Battle of the Bulge. The 487th Bomb Group led the entire 8th Air Force on this mission. Lt Ball's crew flew B-17G 43-37569 in the number five position of the 487th Bomb Group's Low Squadron. The 487th Bomb Group's target was the airfield at Babenhausen, Germany, but the formation was attacked by German fighters before reaching the target. Lt Ball and six of his crew mates were killed in action when their aircraft was shot down by German fighters south of Liege, Belgium. The aircraft broke up, and most of the wreckage fell in the Ambleve River at Gouffre d'Aywaille, at about 50.4763°N, 5.6577°E. (Gouffre d'Aywaille is the gulf of the Ambleve River near Aywaille—a wider, deeper section of the river just west of Aywaille.) The tail section fell near the hamlet of Septroux.

S/Sgt Gaudin is now buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Hombourg, Belgium.

B-17G 43-37569 crew:
• Ball, Ira L – 1/Lt – Pilot – KIA
• Tomea Jr, Gordon R – 1/Lt – Copilot – KIA
• Sperber, Harold P – 1/Lt – Navigator – Safe
• Broom, John C – 1/Lt – Bombardier – Safe
• Parks, Warren H – T/Sgt – Engineer – KIA
• Lull, Robert H – T/Sgt – Radio Operator – KIA
• Gaudin Jr, Duffy J – S/Sgt – Ball Turret Gunner – KIA
• Conery, John J – S/Sgt – Waist gunner – KIA
• Becker, Cuno V – 1/Lt – Officer Tail Gunner – KIA

Source of information: Paul M. Webber,