Roger Pukall

2nd Lt Roger L Pukall was assigned to the 459th BG 757th Squadron.
Military Occupational Specialty (MOS): Navigator.

1st Lt Roger L Pukall 757th Squadron 459th BG passed away on October 28th, 2015. Arbor Vitae, WI

As told by Roger Pukall, who was a First Lieutenant and Navigator in the 459th Bomb Squadron:

My most memorable day in the Army Air Force began at about 4 a.m. on a summer day in 1944, near the village of Cerignola in southern Italy, in an old winery building that had been converted to the Headquarters for the 459th Bomb Group.

We were being briefed on that day’s flight mission which was to try and destroy a German munitions plant on the outskirts of Vienna, Austria. We soon learned that the 459th and our squadron, the 757th, would lead the wing of one hundred or more B-24 Bombers. Our crew, a member of the 757th, was assigned to be the lead aircraft.

By 7 a.m. we were to be in the air and headed for Vienna. As the navigator in the lead bomber, it was important that the aircraft that follow the lead plane arrive at the I.P. (Initial Point where the bomb run starts) at or near the time and altitude assigned.

Being very busy, we were almost at the I.P. before I began to put on my metal-lined flak vest and steel helmet. It was the last helmet left and was missing its web liner, thus falling low enough to obscure my vision. I then noticed a smaller steel cap that normally only the Belly Turret Gunner used because of his confined space. After putting the small cap on and the larger helmet over that, my vision was no longer obscured.

After starting the bomb run we began getting hit hard by anti-aircraft ground fire. One piece of flak penetrated my outer helmet, glanced off the smaller steel cap I had grabbed at the last minute, and exited again through the outer helmet and out the top of the plane.

After finishing the bomb run our pilot asked over the intercom if anyone was injured. The Top Turret Gunner, who was above my work position, replied “I think our navigator is dead. He’s lying on the floor with two holes in his helmet.

Fortunately, it resulted only in a concussion and some small metal fragments in my face that were easily removed. After a couple weeks of rest and recovery, I went back to be credited with 51 missions before returning to the States in 1945.

The following information on Roger Pukall is gathered and extracted from military records. We have many documents and copies of documents, including military award documents. It is from these documents that we have found this information on 2nd Lt Pukall. These serviceman's records are nowhere near complete and we are always looking for more material. If you can help add to Roger Pukall's military record please contact us.

Rank Order Date Award

2nd Lt



Air Medal (AM)

2nd Lt



Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

1st Lt



Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

1st Lt



Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

1st Lt



Air Medal (AM) Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)

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