Lt. John H. Adams

This profile is based on a synopsis of his letter home constructed by his daughter, Sherri Adams. The records of the 344th BG were used to add information for certain dates. Pictures from the family have been placed as well.

Click or right click any image to enlarge.

Lt. John H. Adams Colorized by Carrozza

Synopsis of WWII letters between John and Norma Adams

Oct 11, 1943 – Lakeland Army Air Base, Florida – “don’t believe we’ll be here after the 1st of Nov” Oct 19, 1943 – Lakeland – combat formation bombing , yellow fever shots.

Nov 7, 1943 – strafed and bombed troop and equipment installations – “a lot of legal buzzing”

Nov 10, 1943 – will be around until the 15th or 17th
Nothing until…

Jan 21, 1944 –“we’ve had some pretty rough flying weather and the hours are pretty long these days.”

Jan 23, 1944 – “We’ve had a rough trip the last couple of days, rain and turbulence with a lot of instrument flying, but we’ve managed so far with no trouble of any kind…we’ll probably have a layover tomorrow, so we can get a little rest. We haven’t got too much so far.”

Jan 29, 1944 – “a pretty rough trip today, and I’m kinda tired. They have us stuck in a tent with eight men to a tent. It’s rather crowded, to say the least.” The five franc note was in with this batch of letters.

Feb 9, 1944 – “It looks like we’re doomed to spend the duration here. There seems to be no hope of leaving anytime soon, but I suppose they’ll slip up on us some day – wake us in the wee small hours and send us on our way…We flew another practice mission this afternoon. I flew all but 10 or 15 minutes of it and was nearly dead by the time I landed. That was really back-breaking work.”

Feb 11, 1944 – “Un Place d’Afrique” – still in the same place. Last night we put three beer halls to bed in order, made friends with a number of French Legionnaires in the process, and in general had a pretty good time…”somewhere in Africa (Morocco)

Feb 12, 1944 – “It looks like we’re doomed to stay here a while longer. We just can’t seem to get the right kind of weather.”

Feb 19, 1944 – v-mail – “After an uneventful trip, we are finally somewhere in England. Not at our final destination or permanent station yet, but at least it can’t be very far away.”

Feb. 20, 1944 – “Somewhere in England.” “At our final destination at last.”

Mar 2, 1944 – “We’ve been flying pretty regularly lately, getting in some formation practice, in fact, they’re keeping us very busy. We have ground school when we aren’t flying”

Adams flew a mission on March 6, 1944. They were to bomb an airdrome in Bernay St. Martin, Fr.

The crew consisted of Morgan, Pilot; Adams, Co-Pilot; Cordsen, Navigator/Bombardier; Winters, Radio/Gunner; Fiorenzi, Engineer/Gunner; Moscatiello, Tail Gunner. The plane was the one they used most commonly 42-958982 Puddin’ Head N3-U
A rough map of the target for 3/8/44
Adams was co-pilot in position 2-2-6 (bottom right)

Mar 8, 1944 – “We’ve had a rough day, as usual, but a little rougher than before. Included visiting of couple of new countries. They’re really keeping us busy now, and these days are pretty long.” “I haven’t been paid yet since we left Savannah”

A rough map of the day’s target. Soesterberg
Adams plane was 895 in position 1-2-6 (top right)
Postion 1-2-6 piloted by Morgan in plane N3-0
Page one of the interrogation form indicates their planes’ position, crew members, target (Soesterburg), and enemy flak.
On the back, Morgan added some criticism. Also he mentioned some minor flak damage to the plane.

Mar 21, 1944 – fixing up the “huts” – “visited by a little English lad… showed him my sketchbook” “each member of a combat crew gets three eggs a week.”

Mar 25, 1944 – “We’ve had a particularly rough day, and I’m not only physically tired, but rather obtuse mentally after the rather severe mental strain of the day.” “I might mention that so far our missions haven’t been particularly rough on us, but on enemy targets that’s a different thing.”

Rough map for mission to a March 25, 1944 Marshaling Yard Hirson, FranceMorgan, Adams and crew were located in position 2-3-6. They were again in Puddin’ Head. They dropped 8-500lb bombs on the marshaling yard.

Mar 30, 1944 – “Some of us had our pictures taken this morning for publicity. There was an AP photographer taking shots of groups in various stages of going on a mission. Then this afternoon he took some pictures of some of our ships in formation. We had a good rat-race after the formation peeled off, flew back and buzzed our runway.”

Apr 1, 1944 – “driving everyone crazy playing my tin whistle” “don’t know when I’m ever going to get another day off.”

Apr 5, 1944 – if it’s interesting, “I can’t talk about it” “We should really learn to fly these crates before long.”

Apr 11, 1944 – “kept us pretty busy lately. Sometimes getting us up at four in the morning … we ran two missions one day.” “your husband has flown 10 missions over enemy territory and, though they haven’t been awarded, he has earned an Air medal and one oak leaf cluster for it.”

Apr 24, 1944 – “I have earned two clusters for the air medal already. They add up pretty fast these days.” “For a while… our crew was on the loading list every day except three.”

A rough map to V-1 sites in Bonnieres – There was no bomb drop due to weather.
The formation diagram was not in the records so Adam’s position is not known. Thgis is the earliest record I found of Adams as Pilot.

Apr 27, 1944 – “I have 18 missions now, four of them as first pilot. It looks like I will be doing this quite regularly from now on.”

May 5, 1944 – “I happen to have more missions than any other officer in the squadron”

May 6, 1944 – “they called from operations and wanted Tom to come down and test hop our ship, which is ready to fly again…it’s been laid up since the day we lost Freddie, our engineer…it is still the best airplane I have ever flown. It’s light on the controls, fast, and an all around sweet ship
to fly” Note: I can find no mention of what happened to Freddie.

May 12, 1944 – “I have completed 25 missions now. The boys flying the heavies get to go home after 25, but that doesn’t apply to us, unfortunately…that should be worth a silver cluster for the air medal, or is it the fourth bronze cluster?” “it spells quite a bit of time in combat, and has
involved a lot of rough trips over the continent, as well as a few ‘milk runs,’ in which we didn’t encounter any opposition.”

May 16, 1944 – “I would just as soon you used regular airmail. In most cases they aren’t any slower and sometimes they are much faster than v-mail.” They are starting 7-day leaves for the combat crews, and we should have one before long, since we have more missions in than most of the other crews.”

May 20, 1944 – “There was a fellow here from Ninth Air Force Eng. Headquarters who wanted to inspect the camouflage in this area from the air, so I took one of the new men for a copilot and flew him around over a lot of fields in this area.”

May 24, 1944 – I have 28 missions now, eight of them as first pilot. The last one I had Ernie’s crew and of course Gordon was my bombardier. It has been some time since I’ve had Gordon along and it was good to know he was up there in the nose. We sure lost a good bombardier when he went
to Ernie’s crew.”

Two missions were flown by the 344th BG on May 24. Adams flew in the second. The second mission on May 24, 1944 was to an airdrome in Denain, France.

Adams piloted 42-95982 Puddin’ Head N3-U in position 2-3-2

May 29, 1944 – “I’m sore all over. First I got glass splinters from the windshield in the back of one hand this morning…then in a ball game this afternoon I fell down and skidded on one knee…”

June 1, 1944 – “This afternoon our crew got our orders for a seven day rest leave…I think we’ll be going
up to Scotland somewhere.”

June 4, 1944 – “We’re hes leave, since we arrived day before yesterday and have to go back tonight.”

June 6, 1944 – “As you know, this has been a big day for everyone. We opened the first act of the big show dark and early this morning, and I imagine things have been pretty hot over there ever since.”

On D-Day the 344th Bomb Group flew two missions. The first mission was to bomb gun emplacements on the beach and to blast foxholes in the sand.

A link to D-Day described by Frank Carrozza (344th BG 495th BS)

Morgan-Adams flew in position 2-2-4. the plane was 42-95982 Puddin’ Head N3-U
Morgan, Adams and crew note formation position disagrees with the formation diagram.
Mission 2 on D-Day was to bomb a Marshaling Yard in Amiens, France. Morgan was pilot, Adams the Co-Pilot. They flew in position 1-1-6 (near the top of the diagram and the lead plane. By destroying the marshaling yard it was hoped that the Germans would be prevented from bring in reinforcements and supplies.
Morgan, Adams, and crew in N3-U once again.

June 9, 1944 – “I got hold of some pieces of plexiglass nose from a ship and have been working on them to make picture frames.” “I just get used to one thing when it’s changed. This time it’s ‘Lt. Col. Maxwell.’ How about that? In less than four months he went from Capt. To Lt. Col.”

June 11, 1944 – “I have completed 40 missions now…That is quite a few when I stop and think about it. I still have more than any other officer in the squadron. That is worth seven oak leaf clusters to the air medal or one silver cluster and two bronze ones.” “This afternoon I finished a couple of
picture frames that I told you I was working on…You can tell people that the picture frame is a part of the nose of one of the ships I’m flying.”

June 14, 1944 – “I have just finished censoring a lot of mail.”

June 15, 1944 – “I received the orders today awarding the first through the fourth oak leaf clusters to the Air Medal…I have completed 41 missions now.”

June 18, 1944 – 7 day leave – “got one of our ships to fly us up to Edinburgh…There is an old man there who takes us fishing – plays the bagpipes etc.” Got the topaz ring – “The ring should have quite a history. The stone is a native Brazilian topaz, cut and polished by a native stonecutter, and it flew across the Atlantic, where the ring was made and the stone set in it by a London goldsmith.”

June 25, 1944 – Sending a box with “a picture frame made from part of the nose cone of one of our ships, complete with picture of a wedding group; one each medal, purple heart; one each medal, air; one each ring, ladies gold, with topaz setting.”

June 30, 1944 – “Tom and I flew all around the country…The reason for this flying was that I wanted to look up Ray Beights. .. we flew… to the field where Ray is stationed and found that Ray is in a hospital …I didn’t get to see him. … I was sure sorry to hear he was in the hospital. Just the purple heart kids. That’s us!” Note: I don’t know who Ray Beights is. Suspect he was in flight training with my father.

        Members of the 344th bomb group received the air medal for every five sorties over enemy territory. After receiving the first medal, successive awards took the form of an oak leaf cluster to be pinned to the ribbon of the original medal. After every multiple of five a silver Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC) was given (in lieu of a 6th, 11th etc). The Silver OLC was worn in place of the five Bronze OLC before it.

July 1, 1944 – “painted some more bombs on my leather jacket…Yesterday I went up to the photo lab to have my portrait taken for the publicity department to send to the hometown papers noting the promotion to first lieutenant. Oh, well, they’ll use almost anything for publicity these days, I

July 8, 1944 – “I have 43 missions now. Almost 44, but the second one was scrubbed at the last minute.”

July 12, 1944 – “I have 44 missions now… it seems like ages ago when I thought 20 was an enormous amount … there’s no telling how many I’ll have before I see you again. I have told you before that we don’t have a definite tour of duty…Meanwhile we’ll just keep flying and doing our
best to make it easier for the men who are doing the fighting. They’re not having a picnic by any means.”

July 17, 1944 – “Yesterday was a pretty easy day except that I flew eight hours or thereabouts and was pretty tired last night.”

July 19, 1944 – “I have 47 missions now…

July 24, 1944 – “they serve us whisky when we get back from a mission these days, so I had nearly a full cup straight when we came in. I have 48 now…”

July 29, 1944 – “…I have completed 51 missions…” “…we don’t have a tour of duty now, but there is a possibility that something like 65 or 70 might be established one of these times. At present there is just one officer in our squadron with more missions than I have…”

July 30. 1944 – “We flew up to the Liberator base where Ray is stationed…just takes care of the schedule for the ground school etc…he has a mean-looking wound in his head. It has healed up very nicely, but he still has a soft spot where he has to grow some bone to fill it in.”

Aug 1, 1944 – “I have 52 missions now…”

Aug 5, 1944 – “…if you haven’t already surmised, this is the night of one of our usual brawls at the Officers’ Club. We didn’t land from a mission till about 10 or so …” “…the gin stratus and whiskey
cumulus sort of conclusively formed a drunk overcast which ain’t good for flyers.”

Aug 6, 1944 – “I have 54 missions now…”

Aug 10, 1944 – “I have 58 missions… and it looks like I’ll get more soon. I’m scheduled for at least the next 7 in succession…I have flown three since yesterday morning…that isn’t quite like the week of D-day when I flew 8 in 5 days, but it’ll do”

Aug 12, 1944 – “You remember last night I said I had 59 missions, well I have 61 now…that makes 7 in 5 days. That’s almost as many as the week of D-day, when I flew 8 in 5 days.”

Aug 13, 1944 – “…one of the boys from Greeley (CO) flying Mustangs is stationed pretty close to here and he had flown over here to see me…We discussed the pros and cons of fighters and bombers, tours of duty etc….I have 62 missions now, but have hopes of getting a rest before long…I’m beginning to get a little tired, after 8 in the last 6 days”

Aug 15, 1944 – “…I have 63 missions now. I am enclosing a couple of clippings that may indicate something about what we have been doing lately. I am hoping that I won’t be doing much flying after I get 65, but you can’t tell.” Note: I am enclosing scans of several undated clippings. Not
sure when they’re from.

John H. Adams was sure to bring home his bomber jacket. Note that there are 65 yellow bombs painted on the jacked to represent each of his missions.

Aug 20, 1944 – “…I have been packing my footlocker preparing to send it home…I’ll probably have to leave a lot of clothes here for lack of room in my B-4 bag.”

Aug 22, 1944 – “No more word of any kind from headquarters, so I still know nothing more about when we’ll be starting back.”

Aug 24, 1944 – “Four fast sets of tennis this morning! …I would say we played some darned good tennis, especially considering the fact that none of u s have played for several years.”

Aug 25, 1944 – “go to a rest home in a few days and sweat out our orders there.”

Aug 26, 1944 – “Tonight is another brawl night. That is to say, there is a party at the Officers Club tonight…I just took time out to mystify the boys by pulling a cigarette out of the air … I’m pretty rusty at that sort of thing now…”

Aug 27, 1944 – “This afternoon I flew over to this rest home in a cub, landed at an RAF field near here…It’s a wonderful place. An old country estate with a little stone shack of some fifty-odd rooms, and no telling how many acres of green rolling hills…it’s a dream for us combat-weary men.

Aug 30, 1944 – “After dinner I went skeet shooting again…I have a sore shoulder to show for that, but it was worth it. I just came in from a softball game…

Sept 2, 1944 – “I am back at the base again…our orders were to be in the 4th, and we’d have to prepareto leave.”

Medals and pins earned by John H. Adams


1- Joint Service Commendation.
2- European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.
3- American Campaign Medal.
4- Air Medal; Beside this is a multitude of Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC), with 8 looking like Bronze and 4 Silver. A normal B-26 tour was 65 missions, this would result in an Air Medal plus 2 Silver and 2 Bronze OLC’s attached to the ribbon.
5-9 look like a “Dress”, rather than a “Uniform”, set of medals.
5-Distinguished Flying Cross,
6-Air Medal (earned it 5 times since it has 4OLCs) ,
7-Purple Heart,
8-European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and
9-WWII Victory Medal


Near Top, in silver, are the Senior Aircrew Wings.
On the right edge is a Major Rank Pin

Using this link, click each award to learn the criteria for earning the award

Some news clippings from the collection of John H. Adams: