Frank Tony Lusic, born in Gladstone, Michigan, on the 16th March 1921, was employed as a driver for Armour and Company of Chicago when he was drafted into the Army on the 19th May 1942, aged 21. Here, he trained as an air gunner and joined the 423rd Bomb Squadron, 306th Bomb Group of 8th Air Force. It was at their base in Thurleigh, England, that Sergeant Lusic, right waist-gunner in the crew of a B17F nicknamed 'Meat Hound' was photographed by James Jarché (1890-1965) for the cover and article of Illustrated magazine in June 1943.
It was during the return journey on a mission to Stuttgart on the 6th September 1943 that Sgt. Lusic’s B17F (42-30000) of the 327th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group, was attacked by fighters over Central France. Lusic and the crew baled out at 19000 feet, and the bomber crashed near Estiassac near Troyes. Lusic was captured with two other members of the crew, and seven others managed to evade capture. He was listed as ‘missing in action’ on the official War Department Casualty list 635 on the 19th October 1943. Sgt. Lusic was incarcerated in Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, Bavaria, and was among the 233 sick or wounded U.S. Army officers and enlisted men, former prisoners of war, exchanged at Gotesburg, Sweden.
Lusic returned to the United States aboard the Swedish liner, Gripsholm, arriving at New Jersey Pier on 26th September 1944. He was admitted to Vaughan General Hospital, Hines, Illinois in October 1944, and received treatment for a peptic ulcer. He received a medical discharge from the Army in February 1945.
Post-war, Frank Lustic ran a bar and restaurant in Milwaukee. He died, after a lengthy illness at Woods Veteran Hospital, West Allis, Wisconsin on the 2nd September 1977 aged 56.
Staff Sergeant Lusic receiving a Good Conduct award from Brigadier P.J. Carroll, C.O. of Vaughan General Hospital. The Escanaba (Mich.) Daily Press Tuesday 20th February 1945
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