Staff Sergeant
Name
Albert O. Nielson
Nationality
American
Unit
380th Bombardement Group
Location
Australia
Date
1943 - 1950's
Survived the war?
Yes
5th Air Force

Danish Flying Circus

Going through Dad's papers and from what I know, here are the facts on my Dad. Use them in any way you can. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, moved back to his homeland Denmark as a baby. He wanted to come back to this country very badly at age 16 he joined the Mercant Marines and worked his passage off that way. He stayed with a cousin when he arrived. Not sure what the next couple of years brought to him.

I know he enlisted in the Air Force, after training he was stationed in Australia. He was a member of the 380th Bombardier Group, affectionately known as the "Flying Circus". He was in the 529th and 531st Group. He was a Rear Gunner and a Radio Operator. He was awarded 2 Bronze Stars, Southwest Pacific Area. (New Guinea Campaign and New Britian Campaign. My Dad flew close to 40 combat missions on B 25 and B24 type air crafts. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement, while participating in aerial flights in the Southwest Pacific Area. This was from 21 Aug. to 11 Dec. 1943.

They participated in sustained operational activity against the enemy during which hostile contact was expected. Long range bombing missions against enemy airdromes, ind installations and attacks on enemy naval vessels and shipping. He showed outstanding courage, ability to his duty. On August 16, 1944 he was presented with his Distinguished Flying Cross by General Kenny. That medal and his others hung on his living room wall for the rest of his life. My Dad was released from service in 1945 but was recalled in 1951 and fought in the Korean War as well.

He did not talk much to me about his war years. A pity for me, I am learning much through his papers, I have them now as I lost mom last year and there were so many things to go through. He lost a lot of friends at that time in Australia. One particularly tugs at me, he called my Dad Swede cause he was from Denmark, my Dad called him Slim cause he was tall and lanky. Slim was shot down, for the rest of his life whenever my Dad heard the song "My Buddy' tears would fill his eyes , I knew what he was thinking about. He lived to be 75 years old,

The Distingusied Service Cross is etched on his Grave Marker, I hope he approves and knows how much my sister and I love him.

Arlene Giudice, Albert's daughter


Copyright: D-Day, Normandy and Beyond

380th Bomb Group

 The 380th Bombardment Group (H) flew B-24 Liberator bombers primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theatre in WWII. They were part of the 5th Air Force and were known as the FLYING CIRCUS and as the KING OF THE HEAVIES (note the lion in the insignia). In addition to flying combat missions, the group operated as a training unit for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) crews in B-24 operations. The group was awarded both the United States Distinguished Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in Borneo, New Guinea and the Philippines.

The 380th Bombardment Group of the 2nd Air Force, United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was established on 21 November 1942. Initial personnel were drawn from the 39th Bomb Group stationed at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona.

They started 5 months of extensive training prior to moving to the South West Pacific area. They started to acquire B-24 Liberators and personnel to form the Bomb Group. During this time they had two fatal crashes. A B-24 flown by Lt. Willeg of the 528th Squadron crashed with only one person surviving. On 19 February 1943 the aircraft flown by Lt. Oscar Cantrell of the 530th Squadron had a cockpit fire. Eight of his crew were able to bail out. Unfortunately Cantrell and his navigator Lt. John N. Gessenger were both killed when the B-24 crashed about 20 miles north of Biggs Field.

On 1 March 1943, the air echelon of the 380th Bomb Group relocated to Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado. Here they engaged in long cross country flights. While at Lowry Field Capt. Zed S. Smith took over as CO of 528th Bomb Squadron and Capt. Fred Miller became CO of the 530th Bomb Squadron.

The air echelon of the 380th Bomb Group relocated to Topeka, Kansas on 4th and 5th April 1943 where they picked up their aircraft to take to Australia. The ground echelon moved to Camp Stoneman, California.

On 14 April 1943, Operations Order #273 issued through the 11th Ferrying Group, ATC, at Hamilton Field, California approved the immediate deployment of the 380th Bombardment Group to V Bomber Command in the 5th Air Force. The first of thirty eight B-24 Liberators left for Australia the following day. They arrived at Amberley airfield west of Brisbane between 22 and 30 April 1943.

Lt. Col. Miller reported to General George C. Kenney at the Fifth Air Force's Headquarters in Brisbane to receive his orders. The 380th Bomb Group was placed under Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) command and assigned to Fenton airfield in the Northern Territory in the RAAF's North West Area of operation. They were temporarily diverted to Charters Towers airfield in north Queensland where they received in-theater modifications. The 528th Squadron were the first to leave Amberley airfield on 28 April 1943.

While at Fenton airfield the 380th made some of the longest bombing missions of World War 2 such as their raids on the oil refineries at Balikapapan in Java. They bombed airfields in the East Indies and Japanese shipping.


Veteran's personal medals
Distingusied Service Cross
Distingusied Service Cross
Bronze star New Guinea
Bronze star New Guinea
Bronze star New Britian
Bronze star New Britian

Veteran's personal file

380th Bombardement Group

Albert with his team in front of their plane.
Albert with his team in front of their plane.
Albert with his team in front of their plane.
Albert with his team in front of their plane.
Albert's flight schedules
Albert's flight schedules
  • 31 August 1994
  • Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens Iselin, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA
  • 26908623

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