Hamilton County


S/Sgt. Francis Michael ‘Frank’ Horan





Jap 77mm Projectile Went Through His Liberator Bomber

A 7th AAF Heavy Bomber Base in the Marianas—“If we had been hit by a 20 mm shell instead of the 75 mm projectile that came through our fuselage,” said Sgt., Frank M. Horan of Webster City, Iowa, “or if the Japs’ aim had been a little better, we might not have returned to our base,”

Sergeant Horan whose wife, Katherine and three children, William, 15, Margaret 14, and Frances 9, reside at Webster City, was referring to a strike against the Japanese in the Bonin islands, 650 miles from Tokio. He is tail gunner on the Liberator bomber “Curly Bird” of the 7th AAF “Bat-Out-of-Hell” Squadron.

“Anti-aircraft fire was unusually heavy over the target” Horan recalled. “As we went into the bombing run, a shell hit the “Curly Bird” a foot behind the ball turret, passed within inches of the waist and top turret gunners and whistled past my ear as it shot through my gun position in the tail.

“When we landed at our base in the Marianas, we could tell by the gaping holes it left in the “Curly Bird” that the shell was from a 75 mm anti-aircraft gun, a projectile fused to explode at a certain altitude instead of on contact as is the much smaller 20 mm shell.”

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Oct. 10, 1944

Francis Michael ‘Frank’ Horan, was born Feb. 10, 1908 to Frank J. and Margaret E. Donahue Horan. He died Aug. 1, 1954 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

Sgt. Horan served with the U.S. Army Air Corps 1020 Base Unit in World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters. He was a tail gunner on a Liberator bomber with the 7th AAF squadron in the central Pacific

Source: ancestry.com