Arnold F. Money was born in 1921 in Nagrom, Washington—a sleepy little town at the base of Mount Rainier. Two of his brothers were already serving in World War II when Arnold joined the Army Air Corps. As Arnold Money told his grandson, Jason, many years later: “Boys became men a lot earlier than they do now.”
After basic training, Arnold Money was assigned as a gunner in an 8th Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress in the 603rd Squadron, 398th Bomb Group, Nuthampstead, England. He flew his first mission as a tail gunner on a bombing run over St. Lo, France, on August 8th, 1944. He flew four more as a tail gunner and another five as a ball turret gunner. Starting with his 11th mission, he was moved up to the nose of the aircraft to be the togglier, releasing the bombs on a signal from the lead bombardier while being trained to use the Norden bombsight. On his next mission, his 21st, he would have been designated as bombardier with a field promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. He never made it.
On November 2nd, 1944, he was on a bombing run over Merseburg, Germany, in a B-17G named “Knock Out.” Just after “bombs away,” Knock Out was hit by cannon fire from a FW-190. The first shot took out the #2 engine and Knock Out started to drop out of formation. Then another FW-190 attacked the crippled aircraft, hitting a fuel tank, causing an explosion, and taking out the #3 engine. The pilot, Herbert Newman, gave the bail out order with the message: “God speed and good luck men.”
Arnold Money was one of the four crewmen who successfully escaped the doomed aircraft. The pilot and five other crewmen perished in the crash near Halle, Germany. With his parachute riddled with holes, the landing impact broke both of Sergeant Money’s legs. A squad of German soldiers found him unconscious. He was presumed dead and thrown into the back of a truck carrying other dead American servicemen being driven to a mass grave. Discovered alive, he was taken to the infamous Stalag 17 where he spent is 21st birthday and the rest of the war.
B-17 of the 398th Bomb Group.
Upon returning home, Arnold Money married his childhood sweetheart, Bernice. She had worked at Boeing as a “Rosie the riveter” during the war.
Veteran Arnold Money passed away on June 21st, 1994, but his grandson, Jason Osburn, is de-termined to keep his memory alive. Jason is a volunteer at the Museum of Flight in Seattle where he stands in uniform next to their Boeing B-17 as he explains the WW-II role of the Flying For-tress, and of his grandfather, to guests of the museum. Jason and his son, Jason Patrick-Arnold Osburn, visited Lyon Air Museum on July 13, 2018, to see our B-17 and to be photographed in front of it. It was one stop on their trip to visit nine B-17 Flying Fortresses. Jason’s goal is to be photographed in front of all remaining B-17s in the world! His collection of photos will definitely help keep the memory of his grandfather alive.
Jason Osburn and his son with Lyon Air Museum docent George Emerson
(Like Jason Osburn's grandfather, George Emerson also served as a tail gunner on a B-17)
Article Written by David C. Wensley