Gionet, Leonard A., T/Sgt

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Last Rank
Technical Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
AAF 714-Radio Operator
Last MOS Group
Signal Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-2010, POW/MIA
Service Years
1941 - 1943

Technical Sergeant

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Jun 26, 1943
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Papua New Guinea
WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1943, World War II Fallen [Verified]

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 Ribbon Bar

AAF Aircrew Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USAAF 5th Air ForcePOW/MIA
  1943-1943, AAF 756, 43rd Bombardment Group, USAAF 5th Air Force
  1943-2010, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
TSgt. Gionet was a radio operator aboard B-17E (tail number 41-2430), "Naughty but Nice" serving with the 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron, 5th Air Force at Dobodura Air Field, Papua New Gunie .

On 26 June 1943, he along with his crew of 9 other men were on a bombing mission over Rabaul, Papau New Guinea. The aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and ultimately shot down by Japanese fighter aircraft over New Britain. Also shot down was B-17F "Taxpayer's Pride" 41-24448. A tenth man, the navigator and only survivor of the crash—2nd Lt. Jose L. Holguin—was held as a prisoner of war until his release in September 1945.

Crew lost:
1st Lt. William J. Sarsfield, Jr. (P)
2nd Lt. Charles E. Trimingham, (CP)
1st Lt. Francis G. Peattie, (B)
1st Lt. Jose L. Holguin, (N) (POW, survived)
2nd Lt. Herman H. Knott, (Asst. B)
T/Sgt Robert L. Christopherson, (FE)
S/Sgt Henry Garcia,(Asst. FE)
T/Sgt Leonard A. Gionet, (Radio)
S/Sgt Robert E. Griebel, (Asst Radio)
S/Sgt Pace P. Payne, (G)

1st Lt. William J. Sarsfield, 25, of Philadelphia; 2nd Lt. Charles E. Trimingham, 23, of Salinas, Calif.; Tech. Sgt. Robert L. Christopherson, 21, of Blue Earth, Minn.;Tech. Sgt. Leonard A. Gionet, 30, of Shirley, Mass., were buried as a group in a single casket on Sept. 21 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., along with remains representing previously identified crew members 2nd Lt. Herman H. Knott, 2nd Lt. Francis G. Peattie, Staff Sgt. Henry Garcia, Staff Sgt. Robert E. Griebel, and Staff Sgt. Pace P. Payne, who were individually buried in 1985.

Following World War II, in 1949, U.S. military personnel in the area were led by local citizens to a B-17 crash site on New Britain Island. Remains were recovered but couldn’t be identified given the technology of the time. The remains were buried as unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

In 1982 and 1983, Holguin returned to the area and located the crash site. A fragment of the aircraft nose art was recovered and is displayed in the War Museum in Kokopo, P.N.G. In 1985, the remains were exhumed and identified as Knott, Payne, Garcia, Peattie, and Griebel. In 2001, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) excavated the site and found additional human remains and crew-related equipmen.

Leonard was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart all with Oak Leaf Clusters. In a ceremony in Butte Montana on 6 January 1944, his wife Della (Burke) Gionet accepted the medals which were pinned to the chest of his one year old son, Leonard Allan Gionet.

Leonard is memorialized on a plaque in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial a/k/a Fort William McKinley Cemetery in Manila City, Philippines. His remains were buried in Arlington National Cemetery with the other 8 members of the crew of the "Naughty but Nice" on September 21, 2011. Leonard also has a cenotaph veteran's stone in the St Anthony Cemetery in Shirley, Middlesex County. Massachusetts

see links

Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 14590  
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