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Aerial Gunner Retires at Age 16 !!

Nearly every air gunner in World War II was a volunteer, and the youngest of them was Sgt. De Sales Glover, who lied about his age (he was 14) when he joined the USAAF on October 14, 1942. He completed his training, and flew six B-24 Liberator missions over Germany before his true age was discovered and he was grounded. Glover, of Pittsburgh, PA, was awarded the Air Medal before he was found out, and was later retired at the ripe old age of 16 and sent home with an honorable discharge in 1944. His mother, Mrs. John J. McGrath, of 237 McKee Place, Oakland, said he enlisted when he was 14 and a freshman at Connelley Trade School. Mrs. McGrath, the wife of a retired Oakland traffic policeman, said her son was large for his age. She added, “He was five feet eight when he joined, and the following August, when he came home on his only furlough, he stood five feet 11. “He came home from school one day and said he wanted to enlist. I thought he was only kidding, but he said he had tried to enlist in the Navy. Then he tried for the Air Corps. I think he told them he was 17 or 18. I signed the papers for him. He said he wanted to do his share in the war. He liked it after he got in, especially after his squadron flew the Atlantic.”

In England, Sgt. Glover commented, “I hate to quit the Army and give up flying. But when I’m old enough I hope to re-enlist for pilot’s training.” The picture below shows him with the tool of his trade in front of his aircraft, "Big-Time Operator."

Sergeant Glover graduated from the Gunnery School at Tyndall Field in Florida. He was in the same class as Clark Gable and trained in the United States with both Liberator and Flying Fortress groups. He was a veteran of six missions over Europe and awarded the Air Medal. USAAF photo (May 1944)

According to Sam Starnes, Editor of Widener Magazine "He changed his name to Allen De Sailles Glover in 1957. According to his daughters, Lynn Lynch and Carrie Paskowksi, he reenlisted shortly after World War II and served more than 20 years in the Air Force, including serving in Vietnam. He retired as a master sergeant in the late 1960s at the age of 40 and worked in packaging and management for Del Monte Foods in California and then for Anheuser-Busch, relocating with the company to Upstate New York in 1982.

He retired in the early 1990s and he and his wife, Linda, moved to Foley, Ala., near Pensacola, Fla., in large part because he liked to be near military bases. He died of colon cancer in 1998 at the age of 70." Lest We Forget.

Original text and photo sourced by:, IWM, USAAF, and Widener Magazine.

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