Woodbury County

S/Sgt. Melvin L. Frazier
Born 14 Nov 1922
Died 28 Oct 2001
Obituary Link



Staff Sergeant Melvin Frazier of Sioux City (in the photo), a ball turret gunner aboard a Flying Fortress in England, may be dreaming of the experience which won him the nomination as the soundest sleeper in the Eighth air force as he takes time out for 40 winks in the radio compartment of the plane.

A U.S.A.A.F. Bomber Station in England—A man must have his sleep and it might as well be now because he may never get another chance.  That may have been the reason Staff Sergeant Melvin Frazier, Sioux City, fell asleep as his Eighth air force craft, the Flying Fortress Old Shillelagh I, was coming down for a water landing in the North Sea after fired had reached within a few inches of the plane’s gasoline tanks.

There were no more enemy planes to shoot at and Sergeant Frazier, a ball turret gunner on the Fortress, decided to relax until the bomber hit the water.

Sergeant Frazier was awakened when the pilot rang the emergency bell, indicating the ship was about to crash.  The Sioux City soldier climbed out of the radio compartment and joined the remainder of the crew members in rubber life rafts.

The crew members were rescued after paddling several hours in the North Sea.  Sergeant Frazier and others of the crew now fly in a new Fortress, Old Shillelagh II, and it was because of this experience that the sergeant was nominated as the soundest sleeper in the Eighth air force.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, September 6, 1943 (photo included)