2Lt. Erwin F. Cihak, ASN O-432322

Bombardier - Landon Crew

10th Air Force / 19th Bombardment Group / 38th Reconnaissance Squadron

Enlisted - 29 May 41   Commissioned: 11 July 41

Parks Air College - East St. Louis, IL
Maxwell Field - Montgomery, AL
Barksdale Field - Shreveport, LA

Pearl Harbor Survivor

Battle of Coral Sea Participant

36 Combat Missions   14 Reconnaissance Missions

Silver Star

Distinguished Flying Cross   Air Medal w 2/OLC

Purple Heart   2 Presidential Unit Citations

(Info/Images Courtesy of Cihak Family)

(Click on image below to enlarge.)

Witness to Pearl Harbor

    On December 7, 1941, aboard B-17E #41-2413, Cihak was a 26-year old Aviation Cadet. He was a co-pilot and bombardier on a B-17 that was about to land at Hickam Field. As the crew readied to land, the crew spotted around 15 Japanese pursuit planes flying parallel to them. Cihak watched as the Japanese bombs destroyed the American fighter planes on the ground at Kaneohe Naval Air Station. He saw one of the men in his squadron killed by strafing machine gun fire as he ran across the runway.

    He witnessed the USS Arizona take a direct hit from a torpedo. The explosion was deafening and the ship twieted like a tin can and sank in a few short minutes.      Said Lt. Cihak many years later, "I can't describe it. But I can still smell it - the ships, the bodies laying. It's still very vivid. We didn't need reports to tell us how bad it was. We could see it in front of us."

Landon Crew

Maj. Truman H. Landon, 1Lt. William B. M. Ellis, 2Lt. George L. Newton, 2Lt. Chester H. Budz

A/C Erwin F. Cihak, MSgt. John B. Meeks, TSgt. Jesse L. Schneider
SSgt. Albert E. Brawley, and Sgt. Benjamin L. Hale

436th BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel