B-26 Marauder 320th Bomb Group


 My Journey to the Sicliy-Rome American Cemetery
by Jane Ferko; sister-in-law to Theodore F. Balk, Jr - 443rd B.S.


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Memorial at Sea


The second part of our tribute to Theodore came while we were at sea on our cruise.  I wrote to the Captain of our ship, the Noordam, and asked if he would let me know when we would be near the coordinates of Theodore’s crash.  He called me and told me it would be at 11 PM on the day we left Palermo for Naples – believe it or not, it was Memorial Day!  It could not have been a better time if I could have planned it that way.

The Captain arranged for the chaplain on board and the Security Officer to meet us that evening and take us to one of the lower decks for a brief service of remembrance.
  The florist had made a bouquet of lovely white roses and lavender asters for me to toss overboard.  The chaplain offered a Psalm and a prayer and I said a few words about Theodore.  Because it was Memorial Day, we both included all other service men and women who have given their lives in the service of their country.  Then the minister blessed the flowers and I tossed them out in the direction of the place where Theodore is at rest in the Lord.  My mission was accomplished.

Left to Right: Two dinner mates, Jane (center with bouquet), Rev. Doyle, and George Ferko on board the ship, Noordam, shortly before tossing flowers near where Theodore Balk's B-26 when down 63 years prior.

Editor's Note: While at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Jane photographed the grave markers of the six men from the 320th that are known to be buried there. The 320th B.G Reunion Association expresses the most sincerest of thanks. The men listed can also be found on the memorial section of the site. Click on the individual names for the grave marker photos and more detail.

William C. Barron
Rodney H. Blackford
William T. Burg
Elmer F. Feige
William E. Gunther
Robert I. Hathaway

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