Judson Fredrick Gray


Dairy Science

Cadet Corporal, First Sergeant, Lieutenant Colonel, Regimental Executive Officer; P.S.A; YMCA Cabinet; Tiger Brotherhood; Dairy Club; Scabbard and Blade; Junior and Senior Platoons, Commencement Marshal, Sharp Shooter, and R.O.T.C. Camp Fort McClellan Alabama

Franklin, North Carolina

Army, Major

603rd Bomb Squadron, 398 Bomb Group

Purple Heart

Dec 15, 1917

May 24, 1944

Killed in Action - Germany (over Berlin)

Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, NC


Personal Remembrances

“My grandfather Ray served with Jud Gray from 1943 through Gray's death in May 1944.  Gray was the Commanding Officer of the 603rd Squadron, and from what I've read about him, he was held in high regard by the men serving under him.  I have no first hand accounts of Gray, but it appears that Gray and my grandfather Ray were fairly close.  In my grandpa's belongings I found a Thanksgiving 1943 Menu signed by Gray, and in a few letters home my grandpa mentioned him.  Gray also flew to England from South Dakota (where the 398th trained) on my grandpa's plane.  I have a letter where it described how each member of the crew drew straws to determine who'd give up their spot so Gray could be on the plane for the long trip over.  The loser (who was waist gunner Roy Nutter) had to take a ship across the Atlantic and meet up with the crew later.   Gray was killed on 5-24-44 over Berlin.  There's a chapter about this unfortunate event in Meyer C. Wagner's book "Flying Blind" (hard to find, out of print, I got mine on Amazon).  Wagner was flying behind Gray that day, and said right over the target Gray's plane was hit by flak, and disappeared in a flash.”

Source: Vic Walzel

Additional Information

MACR/ Accident Report# 5252 Aircraft Model: B17G;  S/N# 42-107231;   Organization: Location-United Kingdom;  Command or AAF/AF-8th A.F.;  Group- 398th Bomb (Hv);  Squadron-603rd Bomb;  Place of Departure- A.F. Station 131; Intended Destination- Berlin, Germany;  Type of Mission- Operational;  Date:24 May 1944;  Time: 1103;  Location of Crash: Berlin, Germany over target;  Reason Aircraft was Lost: Enemy Anti-Aircraft;  Number of Persons Aboard Aircraft: Crew-11  Passengers-0  Total-11

List of Crew:
Command Pilot  Gray, Judson F.        Major 0-     KIA
Pilot                    Brodin, Unite L.           Capt.          KIA
Co-Pilot               Jans, Jerome T.          2nd Lt.        KIA
Navigator            Haborman, Louis C.     1st Lt.          KIA
Navigator            Davidson, Gorden F.    Capt.          KIA
Bombardier         Voehringer, Paul W.     1st Lt.         KIA
Top Turret Gunr   Elton, Leroy Jr.            T.Sgt.          EUS
Radio Gunner       Rochford, Bernard        T.Sgt.          EUS
Ball Turret Gunr   Carrado, Peter D.        S.Sgt.          KIA
Left Waist Guner  Stizzo, Sidor P.            S.Sgt. 3        KIA
Right Wunner        Woodward, Marlin        T.Sgt.          KIA

Eye witness description of missing aircraft B17G 42-107231, Pilot CA, Major Judson F. Gray 0-390538, 603rd Bomb Squadron, 398th Bomb Group, on Berlin mission 24 May 1944: As we passed over the IP and the wing leader opened his Bomby doors, 231 A failed to follow suit and I opened mine, the group following.  I heard no distress or other calls over A channel from 231 A but three-fourths of the way down the run, I saw a small burst of flame between no. three and no. four engines and immediately following this, there was an audible explosion which stripped the cowling off of the number three, and prop with other parts off number four engine and flame engulfed that section of the wing from number three to the outside of number four.  The plane lurched severely, the right wing dropped sharply and the ship seemed to chandelle up and out of formation to the right, narrowly miss the high squadron leader, and passed out of my sight.  My crew member lost sight of it as it passed into the clouds in a sharp spiral or spin, reporting; however, that the fuselage, wings, and tail were still intact.  We were flying deputy lead and were immediately behind under 231 A.
Meyer C. Wagner, 0-726521
Capt. Air Corps
Pilot, CA, B17G 42-102508 J

Eye witness description of missing aircraft B17G 42-107231, Pilot CA, Major Judson F. Gray, 0-390538, 603rd Bomb Squadron, 398th Bomb Group, on Berlin mission 24 May 1944: I was flying as Co-Pilot for Lt.William F. Scott and our position was number three in the squadron which was led by Major Gray.  Several minutes from the target, Major Gray called the leader of the second element to take the lead as he could not open his bomb bay doors.  Before any action could be taken, an engine (either number three or four) blew up with a loud explosion and a large burst of flame.  The flame settled into the damaged engine and the ship started into a steep dive – falling off on its right wing.  It steepened into nearly a vertical dive and slid out of view.
Ernest W. Spitzer, 0-693902
2nd Lt., Air Corps
Co-Pilor B17G 42-107053

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