A bombardier, assigned to a B-17 crew, Lt. Nelson and crew flew the aircraft from the United States to Foggia, Italy, arriving in December of 1943. They were assigned to the 353rd squadron of the 301st Bombardment Group (H). From December of 1943 to 1944, he was credited with 51 combat missions over occupied Europe. He achieved the rank of 1st lieutenant. During his service to his country, he was awarded the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters and the European Theater of Operations medal. During his tour, his unit received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Woods Crew

Standing, L-R: McGuyer (E), Walters (WG), Gallereto (TG), Longo (RO), Via (BT)Kneeling, L-R: Woods (P), Cruea (CP), Symolon (N), Nelson (B)

Notes from Lt. Nelson

"We picked up our plane in Grand Island, Nebraska; Assembled our crew and flew to Palm Springs, Florida - Flew to Belen, Brazil - Crossed the ocean to Dakar, Africa - Up the coast to Casablanca - On to Algiers - On to Foggia, Italy. When we taxied around the airfield, nobody wanted us. the raid for the day hadn't returned yet and some of the planes never came back. We lost 11 planes out of 16 sent out."

Mission Log

(These following images are from a collection taken by 1st Lt. Lyle Nelson.
Lt. Nelson kept a Brownie camera with him while in Italy during the War (which his family still has) and took several photos which have been graciously shared by his family.)

A B-17 of the 301st Bombardment Group

A group of B-17s dodging flak. Taken from the nose during a mission over Ploesti.

Lt. Nelson standing in front of a B-17. Note the chin turret with twin .50 caliber guns. He said that he "shot up a lot of ammunition at German fighters, but never shot any down."

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