S/Sgt Charles D’Atrio

D'Atrio Book PortraitClick any picture to see it enlarged

Charles D’Atrio “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder” Charles D’Atrio, 98, passed away on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, at home in Belleville, NJ., surrounded by his loving family. Born in Newark, NJ., Charles lived in Belleville for the last 42 years. He was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II before becoming a quality control inspector for the U.S. Government, retiring in 1980. Other than his family, he was most proud of his service during World War II, and surviving his mid-air collision over France. After the war, he didn’t get into another plane until his first grandson was born in 1979.

Sergeant D’Atrio entered the service on January 20, 1941. Attended Casey Jones School of Aeronautics and Tyndall Field Gunnery School.

D'Atrio WWII portrait Colorized copyHe joined 344th Bomb Group on July 21, 1944 as a Gunner/Toggelier. After completing his missions he returned to the states June 8, 1945 and was discharged at Ft. Dix, New Jersey on September 15, 1945.

He bailed out of a plane over France, after a mid-air collision at
2,000 ft, in bad weather, and landed on a farm where people came after him with a pitch fork until they realized he was American, and took him to safety. That occurred on February 6th, 1945.

Feb 6, 1945 D'Atrio Load list collision Feb 6, 1945 Formation

D'Atrio pitchforkD'Atrio collision crewD'Atrio Collison parachute Feb 6, 1944 Interr Oberg Collision Feb 6, 1944 Interr p2 Oberg CollisionFeb 6, 1945 press releaseD’Atrio kept a journal. Here is what he had to say about the collision and missions soon after.D'Atrio Journal Feb 6D'Atrio Journal Feb 6 page 2D'Atrio Journal 3Note that D’Atrio mentioned that Feb. 14, 1945 was “Another bad day.” Here is an article about that mission.



S/Sergeant D’Atrio took part in the Battle of the Bulge. Here is information about a flight on Dec. 24, 1944.

Formation Dec 24, 1944December 24, 1944 Load List Oberg344TH 494TH GRAVEL GERTY K9-M

Gravel Gerty 344th BG

Gravel Gerty 344th BG



I know Dad had his jacket painted in France. It says, “Pourquoi” on the back which means “Why?”  It was not named after a plane. He was simply asking why people had to fight and kill one another.

D'Atrio jacket__________________________________

D'Atrio Veterans Day 2 D'Atrio daughtersD'Atrio with wifeD'Atrio Applebees 2