Monday, September 15, 2008

Clifford Puckett--Ball Turret Gunner--We Honor You

Handsome young ball turret gunner Clifford Puckett poses next to his ball turret.

I had an email yesterday from Kathleen Herbert, daughter of Clifford Puckett, ball turret gunner on the James Geary crew of 'Betty Boop/Pistol Packin' Mama. It was with great sadness that I found that Mr. Puckett passed away in 2003, but his daughter told me he got a final flight in a B17. The United States Air Force base at Falcan Field in Mesa, Arizona honored Clifford by letting Kathleen's brother take Clifford's ashes on the B-17 "Sentimental Journey" and spread them across the Superstition Mountains. "That was his last journey on a B-17," writes Kathleeen, "We were so proud of him. He was a great dad! On a clear day, we can see that peak from our homes."

If that doesn't get to you, nothing will. Thanks for the email, Kathleen, and I honor the memory of your dad, Clifford Puckett. I regret I never had a chance to meet him. God bless you.

Clifford is also found on the front cover of my book, as a William Phillips painting of his plane is on the cover.


Les said...

I salute Clifford Puckett, any and all ball-turret gunners for having the bravery and faith to "ride-the-ball". Having seen a ball-turret for the first time the other day, I was amazed at how small and cramped that space really is.

I highly recommend Rob's book "Untold Valor", perhaps the only book with a chapter dedicated to the subject.

r morris said...

And need I mention that Les's grandpa Leslie Moore was also one of this rare breed of brave men who "rode the ball"?

jams o donnell said...

I've always been amazed by the underball turret guys. They added protection but it must have been the hardest positionn on any US plane

Ashley said...

Clifford Puckett was my grandpa. He was a great man and I miss him dearly.