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416th Bombardment Group (L)
Leonard R. McBride
1st Lt., Pilot
December 29, 1918 - September 9, 2009
670th Bombardment Squadron (L)
Leonard R. McBride
Born: December 29th 1918
Died: September 9, 2009 at 90 years eight months. Survived by his wife Beverly, son Dennis and daughter Cheryl.
Leonard R. McBride, a pilot originally assigned to the
669th Bomb Squadron, transferred to the 670th Bomb Sq. at Laurel,
Mississippi on Dec. 2, 1943. He was in the initial cadre of 416th
Bomb Group personnel to be assigned to the European Theater of
Operations and flew combat missions in the A-20 Havoc out of
Wethersfield RAF station. A unit history entry for June 1944
records the following:
"On the 2nd of June we had 10 sorties flown against the Gorenflos Noball target.
On this mission Lt. McBride performed another run which exemplified the spirit of our
pilots. Just before the bomb run, the manifold pressure dropped off on the left engine.
Running on one engine, the plane dropped behind in formation, but Lt. McBride
continued to follow the group in to the target. He saw the formation drop its bombs,
finally caught up to where he thought they had dropped, counted five, dropped his, and
hit exactly on the target, as pictures later proved. Lt. McBride later stated “I knew I was
going to have to drop them somewhere, and there was no better place than where they
were supposed to be dropped.” He turned off the target, still far behind the formation.
There was flak thrown up at the rest of the planes, but none at his in his lone position.
Fighters dropped back, hovered over him and escorted him back to the English coast. Lt.
McBride then proceeded to make his way back to his home field."
was promoted to First Lieutenant on June 30th, 1944. Another
account recorded in November 1944 relates an episode involving Lt.
"Mission activities for the month were brought to a close on November 29th when
twelve of our crews participated in an attack on the defended village of Mariaweiler, in
support of 1st and 9th Army troops one mile north of Duren. Due to weather conditions no
bombs were dropped, but flak was very heavy. Lt. McBride’s ship was hit and caught
fire. The pilot and S/Sgt Eutsler bailed out and landed in friendly territory at Florennes-
Juzaine. The ship exploded and crashed in the vicinity of Ciney."
McBride completed his tour of sixty-five missions and returned to the
United States on 28 December 1944. He was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross in May of 1945 for action during his service
with the 670th.
"Goin' Home" courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band