A Soldier's Story: Private First Class James Harvey Booth

An Airman's Story: Captain Charles Frederick Pratte Jr.

Captain Charles Frederick Pratte Jr. was born on March 29, 1915, in Fall River, Massachusetts.  He and his family relocated to Warren, Rhode Island, where, in 1937, he began attending Rhode Island State College and participated in ROTC.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force on April 8, 1941, in response to World War II, and after training, was assigned to the 42nd Bombardment Squad and stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii.

An accomplished pilot, he participated in the Battle of Midway and provided air support during the U.S. Navy's Guadalcanal and North Solomon Campaigns.  He was also part of the offensive of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.

In March 1944, while piloting the B-24 "Belle of Texas," he was attacked, and the plane was severely damaged.  Having to make an emergency landing, Captain Pratte had his crew tie parachutes to the gun mounts to provide enough drag to compensate for the damaged brakes, bringing the plane down safely.  The "Belle of Texas" was repaired and renamed "Patches," continuing to fly until January 22, 1945, when the plane and all aboard disappeared after taking off from Saipan.

Captain Charles Frederick Pratte Jr. is honored on the Tablet of the Missing in Honolulu, Hawaii.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

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