B-17 Bombers with flack over Germany
GEORGE COTTON MUNROE JR.
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Service years: 1941-1944
Honors: Purple Heart and Air medal
Glen Rock: Lived in Glen Rock on the Boulevard
George C. Munroe Jr. was born in Paterson and raised in Glen Rock on Boulevard. He went to elementary school in Glen Rock and then graduated from Ridgewood High School. He was in the band, Hi-Y, Drama club, German club, and he played JV soccer and later became a manager. Munroe was an Episcopalian but he served as the president of the Presbyterian Young People during his senior year of high school. He went on to graduate from Penn State with a degree in Geology. He was a member of the Triangle Fraternity which is a special fraternity for engineering, architecture, and the physical, mathematical, biological, and computer sciences.
Munroe was assigned to the Army Air Corps. He was one of a few hand-picked crew chosen from all over the country to fly to graduation ceremonies in West Point. The formation of planes ended up flying over Glen Rock and Ridgewood which was very special for Munroe. By January of 1945, George C. Munroe Jr. finished his final combat training at Selma Field in Alabama for his first job as a member of the Army Air Corps. Before going overseas in February of 1945, he announced that he was engaged to his high school classmate Barbara Croll.
Munroe was sent overseas as a precision navigator in a B-17. During World War II, B-17 fortress bombers left England on 9-hour bombing runs; 20 bombers would take off and fly in formation towards their targets. They were escorted by fighter pilots for the first part of their missions to protect them from smaller, more agile fighter planes but, fighter planes had shorter flight ranges than the lumbering B-17s and the safety of the P-47 Thunderbolt fighters cover ended at the border of the Third Reich. By the time Munroe left on his last mission, Germany was putting rocket-propelled fighter planes into the skies. On his 12th mission, out of a required 35, Munroe was lost near Stindal, Germany in April of 1945. Stindal was bombed 10 different times by the US army because it was a Luftwaffe base. On this particular bombing run, Munroe's plane was hit by an anti-aircraft fire that tore off the left wing causing his plane to go into a barrel roll. After it hit the ground, the plane exploded leaving only one man aboard alive after the crash.
Born: 1923, Paterson, NJ
Died: 1945, Stindal, Germany