Hal C. Winfrey was born in Harian, Kentucky on September 5, 1920. On September 29, 1941 he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet with serial number 15068036. He earned his wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant then was sent overseas to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG), 65th Bombardment Squadron (65th BS). During late 1942, assigned to B-17E "Naughty But Nice" 41-2430 and flew combat missions from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby against targets in New Guinea and New Britain.
On February 10, 1943 at dawn Winfrey took off from 7 Mile Drome piloting a B-17 on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Buna Airfield but aborted the mission due to a broken airspeed indicator. Repaired, he took off again on an afternoon mission but clouds covered the target area so he instead patrolled the Solomon Sea flying as far as Wide Bay, radioing weather reports and sightings every half hour then flew to the Buka Passage and spotted a destroyer that fired from extreme range. Returning, they spotted four transports escorted by a warship in Wide Bay and returned in bad weather and climbed to 17,000' but could not get above the weather before finally landing at 11:30pm after a nine hour mission.
On June 25, 1943 Winfrey had a slight wound and was unable to fly B-17E "Naughty But Nice" 41-2430 on June 25, 1943 for a mission over Rabaul the next night and was instead flown by 1st Lt. William J. Sarsfield, Jr. Over the target, his bomber went Missing In Action (MIA). Sole survivor Jose Holguin survived and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) who survived the Pacific War.
On July 29, 1943 Winfrey attempted a take off piloting B-17F 'Listen Here Tojo!' 41-24552 from 7 Mile Drome armed with ten 100 pound bombs on a mission against Salamaua and Kela Point. During take off, the airspeed indicator failed and Winfrey cut the throttles and applied the breaks but the bomber slid into vegetation at the end of the runway damaging both wings, tires and the ball turret. None of the crew were injured and the bombs did not detonate during the accident.
In 1981, Hal Winfrey and Jose Holguin traveled to Rabaul to search for the crash site of B-17E "Naughty But Nice" 41-2430. Together, they met Brian
Bennett who took them to Arumbum village in the Baining Mountains. There, they located
Mrs. Inui, who tended to Holguin's wounds and helped nurse him.
Due to the efforts of Holguin and Winfrey, the unknown remains recovered from the crash site in 1949 were disinterred
on August 7, 1984 from Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl) for reexamination. They were accessioned by US Army CILHI on the same day with case number CILH 0024-84 through CILHI 0028-84. On February 21, 1985, five
of crew remains were positively identified: Peattie, Knott, Garcia, Griebel and Payne. During 1985, Each was buried in their hometown cemeteries. Both Holguin and Winfrey attended each memorial services.
Winfrey passed away on December 10, 1998 in Atlanta, GA. He is buried at Decatur Cemetery in Decatur, GA at section 12.
Rebecca Winfrey Moore (daughter)
Carol Winfrey Roche (daughter)
Gail Winfrey Winston (daughter)
Susie Winfrey Quillin (daughter)
NARA - World War II Army Enlistment Records - Hal C. Winfrey
Diary of Jose Holguin March 23, 1943
"I had Winfrey fly a heading parallel to the shore and told him to let down to 6,000 feet. He flew it beautifully and at just that altitude we broke through the clouds over Liguan Point."
FindAGrave - Hal Cawood Winfrey (grave photo)
Ken’s Men Against The Empire pages 126, 172, 176, 195, 203, 232, 233, 250, 319, 360, 383, 407 (index Winfrey, Hal)
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