Maj William T. “Shorty” Bales Jr of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the 371st Fighter group’s last combat casualty in World War II. A member of the group HQ staff as assistant operations officer, he was forced down in aerial combat on 13 April 1945, survived a crash-landing but was apparently wounded and died in captivity the next day. (The Story of the 371st Fighter Group in the ETO) (courtesy photo)
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