Leo Poundstone Memories
Leo Earl Poundstone, son of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon E. Poundstone of Bement, IL was born on December 3, 1921 in Farmersville, IL.
He married Diane Mildred, born December 20, 1923.
Mr. Poundstone was inducted into the United States Air Corps and ordered to report to pilot training school to became an A-26 Invader pilot.
Lt. Poundstone was assigned to the A-26 with the nose art known as "Touchdown". After several bombing raids, he got to fly lead for the Ninth Air Forces's "Famous 416th" Bombardment Group. In total, he flew an amazing 70 missions to such targets as Hamun and Frankfurt, Germany. "Touchdown", with Lt Poundstond at the throttle, became one of the first medium bombers to attack in Czechoslovakia in cooperation with the Russian Army.
Poundstone was wounded two times, August 8, 1944 and Feb. 25, 1945. He received a Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster.
For many missions, the gunners on the Poundstone ship were Sgt. Arnie J. Burland and Sgt. Kalen Heath. These brave men commanded the flak-torn sky with 50 millimeter guns, taking out as many enemy planes as possible, all the while dumping 250 pound bombs on the ammo supply depots and railways below.
In September 1944, the 416th transferred to Melun, France where the troops lived in 10 men tents. Officers were at one end of the airbase and enlisted men at the other end.
The tents had wooden platform floors scrounged up by the tent occupiers. A small pot-belly stove sat in the center of the floor. The men dug reinforced bomb shelters alongside the tents.
At the 669 squadron area, a hot shower was installed with plenty of hot water. Lt. Poundstone had construction experience and took charge of rounding up an old bathtub and lots of pipe to carry water. He, with the help of other industrious 669 guys, connected the pipes to a water supply and then found lots of firewood to heat the water. The water tub was mounted about 6 feet overhead with shower heads. A pull-string operating system made things the best they could be under the circumstances of war-torn Europe. Poundstone came up with the idea of a safe and reliable fire place to heat the water overhead without any problem. Mixing values and controls made the shower work perfectly. The shower was a wonderful luxury and much needed, the only problem was keeping away other squadron guys who also wanted to shower.
Lieutenant Poundstone holds the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster. He also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Mr. Poundstone passed into the Heavens on January 16, 1989 at age 67 and was laid to rest at Riverside National Cemetery. With God as his co-pilot, he controls the throttle again.