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Robert Edward Femoyer

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Robert Edward Femoyer
1921-1944

Robert Edward Femoyer was born October 30, 1921, in Huntington, West Virginia, the eldest child of Edward and Mary Femoyer.

His education included St. Joseph’s High School, Marshall College, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he was a student when he entered the Army in February of 1943. At Marshall College and VPI, he excelled in tennis and earned high marks scholastically.

Robert E. Femoyer received Aviation Cadet Training at the University of Pittsburgh and at an Army Air Force base at Nashville, Tennessee. His pre-flight training took place at Maxwell Field, Alabama, and he received his commission at Selman Field, Louisiana, during the summer of 1943. He went to Lincoln, Nebraska, for combat training.

After receiving his second lieutenant bars in the summer of 1944, he was sent to England and soon was involved in bombing missions over Nazi Germany. On November 2, 1944, he was on his fifth mission with the 711th Bomber Squadron, 447th Bombardment Group, with a target of an oil refinery located near Merseburg, Germany. The plane was caught in anti-aircraft fire which resulted in two engines being shot out and the navigating instruments being left almost useless. Because speed and altitude could not be maintained, the plane was forced to leave the formation. However, as Boyd Stutler wrote in his article “A Gallant Company,” “there was still the characteristic determination of the young West Virginia navigator, then wounded unto death, to reckon with.” (West Virginia Review, November 1946)

Too badly wounded to be moved and his instruments and maps strewn about, he asked crew members to prop him up so he might see them and plot a course to the safety of the English base. Lt. Femoyer remained on the job guiding the crippled plane through flak zones for two hours in spite of severe pain. The plane made it to base with just enough gasoline to land. He died a short while later in a military hospital. His fortitude and bravery had saved his fellow crew members. For his actions he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The body of 2nd Lt. Robert Edward Femoyer was returned to the United States and was interred in Greenlawn Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida, where his parents then resided.

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