World War II Honor Roll

Robert H. Ammon

Staff Sergeant, 
U.S. Army Air Force


577th Bomber Squadron
392nd Bomb Group 

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: June 23, 1944
Buried at:
Woodlawn National Cemetery
                  1825 Davis Street
                  Elmira, NY 14901
Awards: Purple Heart

STAFF SERGEANT ROBERT H. AMMON and his wife Dorothy made there home at 3254 Rutledge Walk in the Crescent Gardens Apartments in Camden NJ. He worked at the Baldwin Locomotive Works. He had enlisted in the United States Army, and had qualified for flight duty. The radio operator and gunner of a B-24 Liberator bomber, he had written home on June 7, 1944 that he had completed 7 missions, and that his unit had just received a Presidential Unit Citation.

Staff Sergeant Robert H. Ammon was killed when his plane was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire and crashed, 9 kilometers north of Leon, France on June 23, 1944. He was 24 years old.

Staff Sergeant Ammon's remains were recovered after the war. He was brought home and buried with Second Lieutenant Standford Birnbaum and Staff sergeant Robert Tremlett at Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira NY.

23 JUNE 1944

AIRCRAFT: #42-95027 (NO NICKNAME) "B-Plus" 17th Mission



P (C) CAPT Graper, Melvin H.      KIA
P     1/LT Whittemore, Warren T.  POW
CP    2/LT Ackerman, James M.     POW
N     2/LT Rich, Clarence B.      EVD
B     2/LT lssenberg, Milton      POW
NG/N  2/LT Birnbaum, Standford I. KIA
R/O   S/S  Ammon, Robert H.       KIA
EnG   T/S  Peterson, Carl L.      KIA
WG    S/S  Altemus, Charles V.    POW
WG    S/S  Lempe, Maurice         POW
TG    S/S  Tremlett, Robert S.    KIA

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: An eye-witness (Lt. Johnson, crew Pilot, 577th) reported that this aircraft took a direct hit by flak in #3 engine and bomb bay at the target, went down immediately into a dive, then pulled up slightly, rolled over and went out of control, (5) chutes seen. A German Report #KU2367, Air Base Hqs E (v) 229/Xl at Couvron, cited the downing of this crew and plane at 1950 hours, 23 June, (9) kilometers north of Leon, France; damage to ship 85-90%, one member found dead, burned completely, and (7)men taken prisoner on the spot. Prisoners identified from this aircrew were: Graper, Whittemore, Issenberg, Ackerman, Altemus, and Lampe. The 7th person captured was not from this aircrew, a S/Sgt. John Morris, but was a 392nd crew member from the McCarthy ship which was also shot down this mission in the very same area (See MACA #6985). Some members of the Whittemore crew were badly burned during their bail outs, and required hospitalization at the German War Hospital in Reims: lssenberg, Ackerman, and Graper (Capt. Graper died sixteen days later of his wounds on 8 July at 2200 hours due to multiple shell fragment wounds; severe muscle lacerations of both upper legs which required amputation; and extreme weakness due to lack of blood circulation, all according to a German supplementary report, #1231 from the Reims Army Hospital 1/528-A). As determined later from a crewmember’s report (see below), four of this aircrew were found perished in the plane’s crash site: Lt. Birnbaum, Sgts. Ammon, Peterson and Tremlett thus bringing the total KIA to (5) members. One crew man, Lt. Rich, did manage to evade capture and was taken in by French underground elements.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Lt. Rich, the one escape and evadee, gave this written account after his return to the States: "Since my return to the United States, I have received a letter from Madame L. Culot whose address is Barenton-Bugny, France, which said in part ‘four of your friends at the airplane died because it (fell) down in flames". He continued his statement by writing: "Possibly one may know more details of this incident, even to where the bodies are buried and this information might be of (help) to a search team" (and signed, Clarence B. Rich, Dean, Montana). Other general details of the Lt. Rich report noted that: Capt. Graper Lts. Whittemore, Ackerman, Issenberg and he bailed out of the burning bomb bays between 12,000-20,000 feet; Lt. Birnbaum also had jumped at about 15,000 feet but was burned about his neck and face; he (Rich) had no knowledge concerning the bail outs of Sgt. Lampe and Altemus, and that Sgt. Tremplett was found in his tail gun position in the crash, according to the French partisans (along with three other members who also perished, as later determined). In another member’s statement (most probably Sgt. Lampe, one of the waist gunner survivors), a notation was made regarding the tail gunner’s loss: "Charles Altemus and I got him out of his turret and he said he would follow (us)...he was in the waist just behind the escape hatch. He was not injured..but might have suffered from lack of oxygen."

BURIAL RECORDS: The only record of a crew member burial by the Germans was that for Capt. Graper (Rheims Hospital report above) which took place at 1200 hours, Thursday 13 July 1944 at the Western Cemetery in Reims, Grave plot 56-2-16. There are no U.S. National overseas Cemeteries which indicate reburial of any deceased crew member.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: Graper (Wife, Marguerite E., 514 Hayward Avenue, Ames, Iowa); Whittemore (Father, Van C., 46 E. Main Street, Canton, New York); Peterson (Father, Henry A., 3810 50th Street, San Diego, California);Ackerman (Wife, Madeleine, Lake Avenue, Hillburn, New York); Rich (Wife, Helen C., Box 532, Columbus, Montana); Issenberg (Father, Samuel, 1136 Essex Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts); Birnbaum (Father, Joseph, 28 Broad Street, Flemington, New Jersey); Ammon (Wife, Mary A., % McCaney, 3254 Rutledge Walk, Crescent Gardens, Fairview, New Jersy); Altemus (Mother, Ida M., 615 East 20th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota); Lampe (Mother, Josephine K., (1102 Avenue C, Fort Madison, Iowa); and Tremplett (Mother, Mable, 28 South Gordon, Gouverneur, New York).