Sgt. George P. Wyherek
Assistant Engineer & Ball Turret Gunner
Survived by his son George Jr. and his daughters Sue, Carol, and Betty Lou
Don't miss George's photo gallery from two tours of duty at the bottom of this page.
George Wyherek was born on June 5, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois, where he lived his entire life.
He was the oldest and had two brothers, William and John Jr.
Check out George's Name on
his Yearbook Dedication Page
George's Senior Yearbook Picture
Young Jack Lemon
Barely 18 years old, and right after graduating from high school, George enlisted in the Army Air Corps. On his enlistment record, his height is listed at 5 feet 5 inches, and his weight at 128 pounds. Most likely his size is what landed him the job as the Ball Turret Gunner. (Check out my blog on Ball Turret Gunners on this website.) But if his frame was small, his personality was not. On his army enlistment form, his civil occupation is shown as "actors and actresses," and everyone who ever met him knew he was a very funny guy. My sister thought he looked like a young Jack Lemon, a comedic actor around the same age as George. A lot of other people, including his son, George Jr., thought the same thing.
George flew 25 missions with the Rum Boogie Crew. After that tour, he signed up for a second tour of duty, this time with the 461st Bomb Group, the 764th Bomb Squadron.
During the second tour, he was awarded the Purple Heart when he was hit by flak over Rennes, France, after his plane, attacked by 100 enemy fighters, lost an engine, its hydraulic system, and one wing was cut in half (the photo above right is the Purple Heart being awarded).
I met George Sr. and his family when they visited Idaho in 1969 (see photo below). We all called him "Bunny." I remember him being hysterically funny. George Sr. and I got along so well that everyone in my family started calling me George, a nickname that has stuck with me most of my life. George Jr. accompanied his family on this trip - he was only 4 or 5 years old at the time - but he and I for sure met back then. At the start of the production of this website, he was the first living relative I was able to find. How cosmic is that!
George Wyherek died at the age of 64 on March 29, 1988, in Chicago. His ability to make us laugh will continue to be missed.
George's 1st and 2nd Tours
Place cursor on picture to see informational captions.
Al Neff, Tail Gunner on Left, and
George Wyherek on Right - First Tour of Duty
George (middle) visiting my family in Idaho in 1969; I'm pretty sure the "half" person on the far left is me.