Zehren Military Timeline

January 28 - Classified 1A as Draft Board denied his stay of induction. John then enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

March 10 - Left for Fort Sheridan with stop in Milwaukee.

March 11 – Fort Sheridan, Illinois

March 13 to May 6 – Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Air Corps Recruits. Located then on the Mississippi River just south of St. Louis, MO.

March 17 – Applied for appointment as Aviation Cadet

May 6 to September 16 – Newark, NJ Aviation Mechanic School Casey Jones School of Aeronautics Class 34-42. Trained 4 months to be an aviation mechanic.

September 1 – Mitchell Field, NY Accepted as an Aviation Cadet. Proceeded to Mitchell Field, NY. Waited for assignment to cadet school

October 10 – San Antonio, TX John plus 261 others left for the San Antonio Classification Center

October 16 to January 14 – Classification Center – 3 weeks & Pre-flight school – 9 weeks

November 13 – “…your boy, now an aviation cadet, has been specially selected for training as a pilot in the Army Air Forces.” – portion of a letter from H.R. Harmon, Major General, U.S. Army


January 14 – San Antonio, TX Completed his schooling

January 15 to March 20 – Vernon, TX – Primary. 65 Air Hours & 180 Classroom hours
Victory Field, Class 43-G. An aviation cadet flying Fairchild PT-19As. Total flying time, 62 hours, 135 landings

March 21 to May 23 – Enid, OK – Basic. Studied aeronautics, meteorology, navigation
Aviation Cadet in Class 43-G. A student pilot in single engine basic trainers with 135 hours in PTs & 162 hours in single engine Vultee BT13 / BT15

July 29 – Pilot rating. Made Flight Officer, #T-122293.

August 1 to October 12 – Fort Worth, TX Transition School. Class 43-G. Pilot training in B-24D & B-24E of 131 hours. Completed four-engine training course.

October 12 to October 24 – 10-day leave of absence. Home.

October 25 to November 3 – Salt Lake City, UT – Not here long. A layover in flight to Sacramento, CA due to weather. Crew SI 66 B-24. 35 Crews.

November 9, 1943 to February 6, 1944 – Casper, WY Phase Training. First Pilot & Ship commander of B-24 bomber combat Crew #66 of 10 men.

P – F/O John G. Zehren
CP – 2nd Lt. John J. Folander
N – 2nd Lt. Robert J. Crosson
B – 2nd Lt. Charles G. Reisinger
E – S/Sgt. Charles D. Whalen
RO – S/Sgt. Ira McClanahan
AG – Sgt. Elbert G. Hamilton, Jr. (Gone in Topeka, replaced by William Bettarel)
CG – Sgt. John A. Hyatt
CG – Sgt. George J. Lawrence
CG – Sgt. Thomas A. Lawson

December 18, 1943 – To Sacramento, CA for purpose of depot inspection & repair. F/O John Zehren, Sgt. Whalen, 3 Captains, 1 Lieutenant, and 2 other Sergeants.

February 7 to February 10, 1944 – 37 crews traveled by train from Casper to Topeka. They were then known as Crew #116-24.

February 17 – Miami Beach, FL – 12 crews were sent by train to Miami, Florida from Topeka. John’s crew now called FM-855-Ap 7.

February 22 – En route – From Miami to Karachi via San Juan, PR; Georgetown, Guyana; Natal, Brazil; Ascension Island; Gold Coast, Africa; Khartoum, Sudan; Al Masirah Island, Oman.

February 27 – India – Karachi – For assignment. Here about one month

March 11 – John named 2nd Lieutenant, Air Corps (AUS) #0547149 and rated as a Pilot

April 8 – Agra – Stop-over from Karachi to Pandaveswar

April 11 to June 15 – Pandaveswar – Near Asansol, NW of Calcutta. Assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 9th Bomb Squadron (H)

June 10 – Report of runway accident with wing damage, John as Co-pilot

June 16 – Received Air Medal for over 100 hours of combat. Memo 107. Zehren, Crosson, McClanahan, Hyatt, Lawrence, Whalen

June 22 to October 10 – Kurmitola – Near Dacca. To haul gasoline over the “Hump” to China during the Monsoon season.

July 1 – John and his Co-pilot, John J. Folander promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

Aug 13 to August 16 – Calcutta, India – 5-day pass. Stayed at Great Eastern Hotel. Zehren, Folander, Bettarel, Hyatt, McClanahan, Whalen, William Mansfield

August 17 – Dacca/Kurmitola – Left Seldah 9a Station in Calcutta to Dacca at 10 AM via Bengal & Assam Railway

October 10 – Pandaveswar – With the end of the monsoon rains, bombing is again resumed from this airbase

October 19 – Mission to Mergui. A 12-hour flight. (Read Robert Crosson’s story Page 1, Page 2.)

October 21 – Received Distinguished Flying Cross for over 200 hours of exposure to enemy fire over Burma, China, Andaman Islands. Zehren, Crosson, Folander, MClanahan, Bettarel, Hyatt, Whalen

October 22 – Received the first Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal for more than 300 hours (General Order 165) Zehren, Crosson, Folander, McClanahan, Whalen

November 23 – John’s last combat flight was to Moulmein, a 10:25 hour flight. His 47th Mission and last. November 30 – December 12 – Lahore – 15-day leave to Agra & Lahore. Faletti’s Hotel in Lahore. Lts. Zehren, Crosson, Reisinger, & Folander

December 15 – John turned in his pistol and all censorable material

December 16 – Pandaveswar – Hdqrs. 7th Bombardment Grp. Rpt without delay to AAFTC, APO 886 from APO 217 on DS for 90 days & will rpt to CO on Arvl. John J. Folander & John G. Zehren

December 17 – Karachi – Reported departure for Karachi India on Clearance Sheet

December 20 – Apparently on his way home. In Karachi?

December 25 – Karachi – Christmas Mass at 181st General Hospital Chapel

December 28 – Karachi – Accident report on Malir Field runway @ 10:49. Took off at 09:15 in a B-24J SN 42-73203 flying on a camera mission. Lt. John J. Folander – Pilot, John Zehren – Copilot. On landing, nose wheel did not lock and airplane skidded to a stop on its nose.


January 11 – Karachi to Agra – Zehren from APO 883 to Agra India for the purpose of delivering B-24J SN 42-73203. Return via Air Transport.

March 4 – Released from assignment in India-Burma Theatre to APO 882. Then by military/commercial craft to the U.S.

March 17 – turned in his manuals and clothes

March 20 – Last letter from India. “I’m now on my way home but it will be a slow journey.”

March 31 – Miami, FL – In the U.S., SO #90. Rpt to Ft Sam Houston for reassignment. Delay enrt 21 days to visit Vernon, TX Depart Apr 4. Report April 29 to Miami

April 7 – Vernon, TX – Sent telegram saying expecting to be home soon.

April 15 – Appleton, WI – Home for visit with fiancιe Helen Flowers. First to Vernon and then to Appleton.

April 30 – Miami Beach – For reassignment

May 14 – Courtland, AL – New assignment. B-24 Transitional School

May 15 – Disqualified from flying. In hospital. “I have been sick for a long time and was grounded in India for what I have. I have been noticing it for the last 8 months.” (Since October 1944.)

June 3 – Courtland, AL – Got a day pass from the Hospital.

June 5 – Courtland, AL – Lt. John G. Zehren cleared this date of colitis from the Office of Flight Surgeon.

June 6 – Courtland, AL – John was killed in a crash at 12:38 AM along with Lt. Earl Owen Sizer (McKees Rocks, PA) and Pfc John Thomas Byrd (Weston, WV) in rural Lawrence County on landing approach @ 3 miles south of the airfield in the mountainous area.

June 8 – Appleton, WI – John’s body returned home escorted by Lt. Harold Thompson. (Home was Alliance, OH)

June 8 – Appleton, WI – Funeral: From Brettschneider Funeral Home & St. Therese Church

June 8 – Appleton, WI – Burial at St. Joseph Cemetery