Airmedal Purple Heart

Josephine B. Payton

1915 - February 24, 1944

Kentucky - Gotha


Josephine B. Payton was born in 1915 and from Hardin County, Kentucky. He enlisted in the USAAF on September 15, 1942 in Louisville.

He became an engineer/top turret gunner, attached to the 392nd Bomb Group, flying out of Wendling (Army Air Force station 118). The 392nd arrived in England on 30 July 1943.

On February 24, 1944, the American 8th Air Force flew a mission against the city of Gotha. This was what was to be called "Big Week" in which the 8th Air Force attacked the German air force's capacity to fight back. Especially aircraft factories, airfields, etc. were attacked.

577th Bomb Squadron

392nd Bomb Group

This was to be the 41st mission of the 392nd since it was operational. T/Sgt Payton was the engineer of a B24. His crew was made up of:

2Lt. J. V. Barnett
2Lt. C. C. Doyle
2Lt. J. Kaplan
2LT. R. R. Argast
S/S J. B. Payton
S/S E. J. Vesey
Sgt. D. Archibald
Sgt. N. D. Lankford
Sgt. R. D. Bucholz
Sgt. W. N. DeLaughter

The crew took off in B24 #42-7496 codenamed "THE JINX". It was the crew's 16th mission. They took off at around 08.30 from Wendling. After formation the Bomb Group flew towards occupied Holland. Four B24s aborted the mission for various reasons. 

The 392nd found itself leading the 2nd Air Division, when the leading Bomb Wing made a navigational error and took a wrong heading. The bombers encountered fierce resistance from the German Luftwaffe, more determined and larger in scale than many crews had ever experienced. For two and a half hours the bombers were attacked by 150+ German fighters of all different types. The bombers dropped their bombs at 13.21. The results were excellent. For their excellence, the 392nd was awarded an Distinguished Unit Citation for this mission.

The Distinguished Unit Citation for the 24 February 1944 mission.
(Picture courtesy of

This was to be a costly day for the 392nd. Seven aircraft were lost. Among them was 2Lt Barnett's "THE JINX". His airplane was seen to be attacked by German fighters right after the bomb run. The plane exploded and crashed in the target area. Three parachutes were observed, however, seven of the ten crew survived. 2Lt Barnett, T/Sgt Josephine Payton and 2Lt Charles Doyle jr were killed in the crash. All other were taken PoW the same day. The remains of the three were recovered the next day. 2Lt Doyle and T/Sgt Payton were identified and buried in a common grave at the Communal Cemetery in Seisdorf on February 18th. 2Lt Barnett was not identified at the time and buried as an unknown at the same cemetery. After the war he was identified and together with T/Sgt Payton, reburied at Margraten.

T/Sgt Josephine Payton is buried at Margraten American Military Cemetery, Plot E Row 17 Grave 5.

Margraten, The Netherlands

See Also:
2Lt Joseph Barnett

2Lt Charles Doyle Jr

S/Sgt Mitchell Walla

2Lt Guy Haglund
S/Sgt Richard Helbing

Col. Robert E. Vickers Jr,
Remembrance of the Missing 

Posted 9 August 2005

Directions to Margraten American Military Cemetery

If you have any suggestions, comments or additional information, please contact me.

This website is dedicated to the men and women who died and/or are buried in The Netherlands during World War II.


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