Woodbury County


S/Sgt. Robert Swanson




Staff Sergeant Home from South Pacific After Being Twice Wounded

Close calls and real experiences have been ordinary occurrences for Staff Sergeant Robert Swanson, son of Mr. and Mrs. L.O. Swanson, formerly of Sioux City, now of Anthon, Iowa.

Home on furlough after 300 hours of combat flying, Sergeant Swanson, a tail and ball turret gunner on a Flying Fortress in the South Pacific, was featured in a report by Don Harrison, staff correspondent for Yank magazine.

Aboard a lone Fortress which was suddenly attacked by 22 enemy planes, he was preparing to open fire when a bullet shattered the glass of the compartment, driving hundreds of fragments of glass into his face and eyes. A moment later two shells struck his gun, threw it out of commission and exploded the powder.

With a piece of shrapnel in his leg, and blinded by the glass and blood, he was unable to aid his fellow gunners who brought down four Zeros before landing at their New Guinea base. After three days in a New Guinea hospital Sergeant Swanson was transferred to Australia where, after eight weeks, he recovered with the vision off one eye only slightly impaired.

In March, 1943, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for completing 200 hours of combat flying. He also wears the Purple Heart and has been recommended for an air medal for the additional 100 hours combat service. Wounded twice and hospitalized twice with malaria, Sergeant Swanson is now permanently grounded and will report to the Salt Lake City air base after his furlough.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, November 24, 1943