Einar Albin Kurikka
Einar Albin Kurikka, serial number 11-105-999, enlisted at the Army recruiting Station in Fitchburg, Mass. on October 22, 1942. Reported for active service October 27, 1942 at Fort Devens, Ayer, Mass. After one week was transferred to George Army Air Field at Lawrenceville, Illinois. After passing the necessary tests, three weeks later he was assigned to the 706th 2-Engine Flying Training School Squadron for mechanical training repairing AT-6s and AT-10s, with a special training session repairing and inspecting parachutes.
About the first part of May 1943 passed his Flight Cadet examinations and reported June 27th at Keesler Field, Mississippi for Pre-Aviation Cadet Training and assigned to the 60th Training Group. On August 27th transferred again to the Centenary College of Louisiana at Shrevesport, La. and assigned to the 86th College Training Detachment (Air Crew). Completed his course of training as prescribed by the Army Air Force Central Training Command on Nov. 27, 1943 and transferred to the Army Air Force Classification Center at San Antonio, Texas.
After being eliminated from his pilot training course he took another test and qualified for the Armament School at Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado to which point he was transferred on Dec. 27th and assigned to the 20th School Squadron. Began his training on Jan. 21, 1944 and learned to be responsible for the care and maintenance of aerial machine guns bomb release, and turrets on any plane which assigned. While in combat he fired aerial machine guns and also acted as a bombadier.
Graduated April 16, 1944 and transferred to Buckingham Army Air Field, Fort Myers, Florida. While at this station his father passed away and he received an emergency leave. Returning on May 29th he was assigned to a School Squadron in Aerial Gunnery and graduated July 11th with a promotion to Corporal and a furlough.
August 21st reported at the Lincoln Army Air Base, Lincoln, Nebraska. August 31st assigned to Crew No. 7879, 212th AAF Base Unit, Gowen yield, Idaho and placed in the blue Group where his crew underwent 1st, 2nd and 3rd phase of Combat Training. Nov. 18, 1944 his crew was transferred to the Processing Station at Topeka Army Air Base, Topeka, Kansas. A week later the crew was transferred to the POE at Camp Myles Standish, Taunton, Mass. Dec. 9th boarded the USS Mount Vernon at Boston, Mass, which crossed the Atlantic and docked at Liverpool, England on Dec. 16th. At this time German Field Marshall Von Rundstedt made his Ardennes offensive and the 5,000 Infantry men were unloaded first before the 1,500 Air Force personnel was debarked on the 18th.
moved to the AAF Replacement Depot at Stone, England and three days later
were assigned to the 704th Bombardment Squadron, 446th Bombardment Group
at Bungay, England which was about 20 miles south of Norwich, England
and about 70 miles north-east of London.
March 1, 1945 Einar was promoted to Staff Sergeant and became a toggle bomber-gunner, and his crew were assiged to another liberator called "I Hope So." There were two bombadiers attached to each Squadron, and his duty on a bombing mission was to watch the lead plane. When it opened the bomb bay then he relayed the order back to the pilot and their bomb bay was opened. When the lead plane dropped its bombs, Einar then pressed his toggle button which released the deadly cargo his plane carried. This procedure was generally referred to as 'toggle bombing'. There were a few times when over 7,000 planes participated in a bombing mission which included fighter plane escort, for instance his 16th mission on March 11, when they bombed the Kiel U-Boat Pens in Germany and his 18th mission four days later when they struck the German Headquarters near Berlin, Germany on March 15, 1945. The smallest flights consisted of about 50 planes when they struck Martialing yards.
March 13th Einar was awarded his first oak leave cluster in lieu of a second Air Medal. Earned his second cluster on March 23rd and his third cluster on the 27th of April. An Air Medal or Cluster being awarded every six missions.
On his 21st mission towards Landsberg, Germany his Squadron was attacked by a German ME-263 -- a twin Jet-powered plane that came in too fast and his shots missed Einar's plane and hit the 448th Bomb Group behind them and the same German pilot downed three Liberators before he was off like a flash.
On April 20, 945 his Group made their last flight because there were no worthwhile targets worth bombing. On April 27th while celebrating a premature V-E celebration he ,jumped off a bunk and broke his right leg. He was moved to the 60th General Hospital near Norwich, England and on the 10th transferred to Southampton, England where he boarded a Hospital Ship which left England on the 12th docked at Staten Island, N.Y. on the 22nd and transferred to the Receiving Hospital at Camp Shanks, N.Y. and three days later moved to the General Hospital, Camp Edwards, Mass. where he was given a 30 day furlough. On the 5th of August Einar was transferred to the AAF Convalescent Hospital in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. One month later transferred to to Cochrane field, Macon, Georgia where he received his honorable discharge October 22, 1945 after serving 2 years, 5 months, and 12 days in Continental Service and 6 months, 14 days in foreign Service.
Entitled to wear: Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters; ETO ribbon with three stars, (Ardennes, Rhineland, Central Europe); Good Conduct; Victory Medal; Air Crew Amber Badge; Marksman with Pistol and Sharpshooter with Carbine.
He was born
in Westminster, Mass. June 27, 1918. Son of the late Victor and Nuimi
(Yansala) Kurikka of Westminster, Mass. attended Westminster and Fitchburg,
Mass. Schools. Occupation previous to enlistment was as truck driver and
at present employed by Norton's Grinding Wheel Company of Worcester, Mass.
Civilian Address: 231 Minott Street, Westminster, Mass.