World War II - U. S. Marine Corps
PFC. Robert C. Heroux
November 3, 1924 - August 13, 1944
PFC Marines WWII Scout Bomb Sqd 341 Aircraft
Dive Bomber Gunner
Oconto Catholic Cemetery, Oconto, Wisconsin
Marine Corps World War II - the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber used in the liberation of the Philippines. PFC Robert Heroux was radar operator and gunner in this type of aircraft.
Gunners in Squadron VMSB-341
Pacific Front - July 1944
PFC Robert Heroux was among them in this photograph.
"Memoirs of a WWII Marine Dive Bomber Gunner"
(1944 news article and photo researched and contributed by: Dean Schaal from his mother's wartime scrapbook)
News Article August 1944
PFC. Robert Heroux
of Oconto Killed
Special in Press-Gazette
OCONTO, Wis - Pfc. Robert C. Heroux, U.S. Marine corps, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Heroux, Oconto, was killed in action at an unannounced location, according to word received by the parents from the War department.
Pfc. Heroux enlisted in the Marine corps in December 1942, six months after his graduation from Oconto High School. He received training in California and Oklahoma and early this year was home on a furlough prior to leaving for overseas duty in the Pacific. He served as radar operator and gunner on a plane.
Almost simultaniously with the report on the death of their son, the Heroux family also received news of a son-in-law, Lt. William A. Murphy, in France on July 18. He was removed to England, it was stated.
(Notes on Robert C. Heroux: The following text is from the dairy of Sid Zimman
"Memoirs of a WWII Marine Dive Bomber Gunner": http://www.scribd.com/doc/216401090/Memoirs-of-a-Wwii-Marine-Dive-Bomber-Gunner
I will quote from the War Diary on August 13, 1944: “Nineteen (19) pilots and their gunners were assigned to a strike on Kalili Plantation on New Ireland but target was closed in. Targets of Opportunity were hit instead. Mission report attached. PFC Robert C. Heroux, USMCR, Ser.No. 507231, gunner in the rear seat of Lt. Pettyjohn‟s plane, was killed on the flight”.
Lt. Pettyjohn, a replacement pilot decided to glide-bomb a target. Inexperienced or negligent he failed the basic pull-out and was over his bomb when it went off! PFC. Heroux, a replacement gunner died when a piece of shrapnel, from his own bomb, came up under his seat and through his seat-pack parachute and into him. His blood was dripping on the tail wheel when they landed. His was the only funeral we attended.
In the line company the “grunts”, fighting hand to hand, see the horrors of war upclose and personal. In the air wing your compatriots just disappear. PFC Heroux was an exception. Our squadron VMSB-341 lost 25% of our flight crews. Ten pilots and eleven gunners. This loss was only in the Rabaul Campaign. More were, regrettably, lost when our squadron went on to the Philippines.