Material submitted by his son Bruce Womack


Site edited and maintained by Doug Cook

Contacts from 97th BG and 414th Squadron Welcome!



Last Update January 22, 2009



Tech. Sgt. Ray Womack arrived in Algeria with the 414th in Jan 1943 and was grounded (Tunisia) with 50 completed combat missions in July same year.


Tech. Sgt. Ray Womack Biographical Sketch


B-17 #223   ‘THER-N-BAK’  414th BS 

L-R crew: James V. Wiseman (Co-Pilot ), Capt. Truman W. Cummings (Pilot), Pope (Waist Gunner), Ray Womack (Top Turret/Flight Engineer), Merlin J. Shields (Navigator),  Albert L. Sample (Bombardier), bottom row, L-R, Spaulding (radio Op), Jones (Ball Turret) and Madden (Tail Gunner)


B-17 #223   ‘THER-N-BAK’  414th BS 

L-R, Shields (Navigator), Wiseman (Co-Pilot), Spaulding (Radio Op), Madden (Tail Gunner), Pope (Waist Gunner), Ray Womack (Top Turret/Flight Engineer), Jones (Ball Turret), Sample (Bombardier), and Cummings (Pilot.)   Ground crew are seated.


“My father was Sgt Raymond M Womack, 97th Bomb Group, 414th Squadron, Flight Engineer on B-17 # 223 Ther-N-Bak.  On or about 3-7-43, on a mission to attack a convoy off Bizerte, Tunisia, Ther-N-Bak was shot up by ME-109s. Lt. Clausen, the Co-Pilot,  took a round through the shoulder and the aircraft lost hydraulics and crash landed at a British fighter base on the coast. The landing strip was too short for the bomber and according to my dad, they headed into the desert at about 70 mph. They were stopped by the sand. When the Brits reached the plane, red hydraulic fluid was pouring out Ther-N-Bak and the rescuers thought it was blood. I have photos of plane being rescued and of the shot-up windscreen, the bullet that got Clausen. My dad never heard if he lived or died, but always wondered. [Notes from W.L. Ross confirm Clausen was wounded and sent home.] Ther-N-Bak was able to be flown back to Algeria where it completed 50 missions in July of 43.”    Bruce Womack   Jan, 2009


B-17 # 223 ‘Ther-N-Bak  being towed out of the sand after an emergency landing (above).


Sgt. Ray Womack with B-17 # 223 ‘Ther-N-Bak  ME-109 bullet hole in cockpit where Copilot Lt. Clausen was hit.

 Notes from W.L. Ross confirm Clausen was wounded and sent home.


Lt. Clausen Copilot


B-17 #223   ‘THER-N-BAK’  414th BS  Merlin J. Shields (Navigator),  




Waist Gunner Pope



Tail Gunner Madden


414th Squadron Home in the Algerian or Tunisian Desert


“Armed and Dangerous”  Womack with Thompson machine gun and Spaulding with what appears to be a Springfield Rifle.


The men in the trench are, L-R, Madden, Womack, Pope, Jones, Unknown, and Spaulding.



Target:  Gerbini  Aerodrome, Sicily    Actual Bomb photo is Catania Fontanarossa

[The target identified] as Gerbini is actually the Catania airfield (Fontanarossa), which was and remains a dual-use civ-mil facility.  Gerbini, which was actually a complex of several (up to 12) grass fields, is further inland from the coast.  The  Sigonella airfield used today by the Italian Air Force and the U.S. Navy (under NATO) was one of the  satellite fields of the Gerbini complex. Gerbini proper was located to the north-west of Sigonella.  Both are around 10 miles from Catania Fontanarossa.

Ciao from Catania!        Thanks to submission by


Catania Fontanarossa, Sicily  today


Target:  Catania Marshaling Yard, Sicily   


Catania, Sicily  today



Target:  Trapani Harbor, Sicily


Trapani Harbor today


Target:  Naples, Italy Marshalling Yard


Naples, Italy today












Letter of Recommendation from B-17 Pilot Capt. Cummings



North Africa Campaign Video

414th Squadron Index