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Reasoner Robert J.

Robert J. Reasoner
Serial Number:
67th Bomber Squadron, 44th Bomber Group, Heavy
Date of Death:
South Carolina
Mountville Presbyterian Church Cemetery, South Carolina

Robert J. Reasoner was born on September 26, 1918, in New Plymouth, Ohio. He was the son of Eugene F. Reasoner and Myrtle M. Hewitt Reasoner. enlisted in the United States Army on March 7, 1942, as a Private at Camp Blanding, Starke, Clay County, Florida, following four years of high school.

On January 3, 1943, he returned to England after their group had bombed the German submarine pens at St. Nazaire, France. Sgt. Reasoner was the tail gunner on his fourth combat mission aboard B-24 #42-23806. Three of his crewmates were killed, seven were injured including Sgt. Reasoner. During his fifth combat mission, Reasoner was hit by a German machine-gun bullet when Messerschmidt Me-109 fighter planes raked his formation. His crew was taken off combat status and went on detached service practicing low-level bombing runs. Bob was then transferred to Libya where he took part in the first airstrikes on Rome. On August 1, 1943, Bob survived the disastrous Ploesti Oil Fields Raid, Ploesti, Rumania. This raid was designed to take out Germany’s ability to fuel planes, trucks, and tanks. This raid became known as the worse Allied air disaster of World War II. After the Ploesti Oil Fields Raid, he was sent back wounded three times. Bob was horribly burned before being shot down and captured by the Germans. On Sgt. Reasoner’s 21st bombing mission, this time over Austria, the war ended for him. His B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. According to Bob, “I looked out and saw the co-pilot wave.” He said, “When I looked back the waist was full of fire.” Bob Reasoner escaped and parachuted. He didn’t remember anything about his descent since his face and hands were searing. Bob was unconscious for a long time. He remembered the face of an Austrian doctor who took good care of him. He finally left the hospital and was grouped for a month or so with English prisoners in Stalag 17A (German Prison Camp). Due to his severe injuries, Bob was one of the few American POWs exchanged during the war by the Germans. He arrived back in New York Harbor in September 1944.

Bob married twice. He was first married to Pauline Wilma Westberry Peacock (b. August 4, 1916, d. January 6, 1989) the daughter of James Ancil Westberry (b. December 28, 1888, d. March 15, 1974) and Lura Elizabeth Butler Westberry (b. April 21, 1890, d. June 17, 1928). To Bob and Pauline, there were no children born. Pauline brought two daughters to their marriage from her first marriage to Beverly Alton Peacock. Bob’s second marriage was to Bernice Fairchild Hudgens (b. 1926). Bernice had two children from her first marriage.

Sgt. Reasoner went on with his life by graduating from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida under the G.I. bill. He then went on to a career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He enjoyed retirement in Mountville with his wife Bernice, working in his yard and restoring his circa 1914 home.

Sgt Reasoner died on June 26, 204, at the age of 95 in Laurens, South, Carolina. He is now buried in the Mountville Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Mountville, Laurens County, South Carolina, USA.

Military Awards:
Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal, Air Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Three (3) Purple Hearts, Prisoner of War, Victory World War II.

Source of information: