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The Last Sortie

[Photo] Edward Clinton Knapp, Jr.

Edward Clinton Knapp, Jr., 777th

11 December 2001


   Edward Clinton Knapp Jr. of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, passed away on Tuesday, 11 December 2001 at his home. Ed was born on 8 August 1917 in Pueblo, Colorado, to Edward Clinton Knapp and Caroline Webber Knapp. He attended Ridgefield Park High School before entering the military on 25 February 1941.
   Ed married Evelyn D. Knapp on 28 September 1942, they had six children before she preceded him in death in 1975. He later married Mildred Knapp in 1978, who preceded him in death in 1982.
   Ed started his military service as a truck driver in Fort Benning, Georgia. He eventually transferred to Fort Gordon in Augusta. Aspiring for a duty in the skies, Ed pursued pilot training in October 1942, with pre-flight training at Maxwell Field in Alabama and primary pilot training at Calestrom Air Field in Arcadia Florida.
   Upon arrival at Calestrom Air Field, Ed took a nine week flight training course in a Boeing PT-Streramen, he then graduated to a course on single-winged aircraft. Ed then transferred to Columbus, Mississippi to train on twin engine aircraft. This is where he received his wings and became a second lieutenant. Although he initially applyed to be a fighter pilot, Ed wound up as a four-engine bomber pilot and was sent to B-17 school in Columbus, Ohio and then, eventually, Salt Lake City, Utah.
   Upon his arrival in Salt Lake, Ed was told to that his duties had changed, and he would be a pilot on a B-24. Flipping a coin determined whether he would be a pilot or co-pilot.
   Along with his crew, Ed was sent to Mountain Home, Idaho and from there to Poctello for phase training - which concluded in 3 months. Upon completion of the B-24 flight training Ed and the crew was assigned to the 464th Bombardment Group (Heavy) 779 Bomb Squadron.
   Ed went on to complete 50 missions as a B-24 co-pilot, from the Group base in Pantanella, Italy. They bombed highly valued targets throughout Europe. Those targets included marshalling yards, oil storage and refineries, shipping docks, manufacturing and chemical factories, airfields and troop concentrations.
    For his service, Ed received The Distinguished Flying Cross as well as the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters. His military career ended with his relief from active duty on 22 July 1945. Ed went on to have a successful career running a regional trucking operation, followed by his retirement.
   The information provided above was taken from Edís 2001 memoir. In addition, Ed's flight diary for each of his 50 missions in the European Theatre of operations is available for download.
   Please download the Ed Knapp, Jr Flight Diary as a 7.9 MB .pdf file. The file will open in a new window, close that window to return to this page.

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