Jack Donald Koser was born November 8, 1919 in St. Joseph, MO to Mack Irvin and Sarah Katherine Monroe Koser. At the time of Jack’s birth, his father, born in Nebraska, was Head Bill Clerk for Hammond Packing. Jack had a younger brother, Robert I. and a younger sister, Katherine A. All three children were born in Missouri. Mack became an accountant at Armour Meat Packing Company. Jack’s mother, Katherine.was born in Missouri.
Jack attended Central High School in St. Joseph. He was prominent in the Waikitan yearbook. Following graduation in 1937, Jack attended St. Joseph Junior College, a two-year institution. Upon graduation in 1940, Jack entered the service as a Flying Cadet. He had learned to fly while attending school. He took lessons in a Piper Cub. He was in Cadet School from June 28, 1940 until February 8, 1941. He graduated as a Second Lieutenant in 1941. His promotion history was: First Lieutenant—July 14, 1942, Captain—March 16, 1943, Major—June 18, 1945. During WWII, Jack was commander of B-29 aircraft. One of these was named Here’s Lucky. He served in the Pacific Theater. Jack flew 23 combat missions in B-17s an B-28s with the 6th Bomb Group in the Marianas.
Jack was Aircraft Commander, A/C of the 2nd Crew of the B-29, “#39 Here's Lucky”, Crew #3904, 39th Bomb Squadron, 6th Bomb Group. Jack said this was a completely new crew he assembled to make a flight into China to drop supplies for a prisoner of war camp. He had two bomb bays filled with medicine, food, etc. He made two passes over the camp. Despite the parachutes on the supplies, several people on the ground were injured in the second drop. The flight, which originate in Tinian, just south of Saipan, occurred on the day that Japan signed the “Instrument of Surrender” on the USS Missouri.
Back Row: ?, ?, ?, Jack Donald Koser, ?, ?, Julian E. Pencovic (1918–54), ?
Front Row: Unknown
On back of the picture was written September 2, 1945, Flight to China. Names faintly written on the back were:
Major Jack D. Koser, (A/C), 1st Lt Harry P. Johnson (Pilot), 1st John J. Cooglin (probably Coghlin)(Navigator), Sgt. Stanley D. Peve, (Engineer), S/Sgt Julian E. Pencovic (Ground Crew), S/Sgt Robert E. Ziegler (Tail Gunner), S/Sgt Alfred B. Daniels (Crew Chief).
Jack was A/C for Crew #3907. This was his regular crew and and aircraft. He and his crew are pictured above. He is fifth from the left.
The members of Crew #3907 were:
Maj Jack D. Koser (A/C)
1st Lt Carl A. Oliver (Co-pilot)
1st Lt George Sturgis (Navigator)
1st Lt Charles L. Martin (Bombardier)
1st Lt Thomas R. Tryon (Engineer)
SSgt George D. Smith (Radio)
SSgt James J. Wesson (Radarman)
TSgt Albert D. Hetrick (CFC) (The Central Fire Control Gunner manned the top turret in his "barber chair". The CFC designation was apparently created with the idea that the CFC gunner would be responsible for directing fire against enemy aircraft and he received extra training. However, in practice, his role was similar to that of the other gunners.
SSgt Walter F. Phillips (Right Gunner)
SSgt Claude B. Newman (Left Gunner)
SSgt Lyle E. Godfrey (Tail Gunner)
Maj Jack D. Koser was later assigned to HQ Staff. In 1946, he became an aide to Lt. General E. R. Quesada, commander, Tactical Air Command.
After the war ended, Jack entered the University of Texas at Austin in September, 1946 and received his BS in physics in 1948. In February 1949, he was awarded the degree of bachelor of arts in mathematics. He entered graduate school at UT in September 1949. In 1949–1950, he earned a master of arts in physics. His thesis was titled, An open-loop phase-actuated servo. The work was supervised by Professor Robert B. Watson and conducted under a US Navy sponsored project. Jack chose this project to learn more about servos which had played a prominent role in the aircraft he had flown. He believed they would play a major role in the development of guided missiles. Other members of his committee were Professors S. Leroy Brown (physics) and R. N. Haskell (mathematics).
While doing his research, Jack got his flight time in at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin. At the Defense Research Laboratory, they were experiments with direction finders for aircraft and missiles. Jack agreed to be the target for their experiments. In the beginning, he would tell them his flight plan, and they would find him. Later, he didn’t reveal his location. Once he was flying, they said they could not find him, yet he told them he could see them on the roof of a building at DRL. He finally told them he was at 20,000 ft!
Jack recalled having a number of friends while at Texas. They included Ralph Allan, James Sharp, Thomas Bass (non-physics, B24 bombardier) and Betsy Rawls.
Jack served as a military aid in the Harry Truman White House until he decided to marry. Only single men could serve in this position. Jack married Eleanor Jean Morgan on August 3, 1951, in Arlington, VA. Eleanor was the daughter of Hugh Rush Morgan and Louise Shaneman. She was born in Alabama. They had four children, Vickie, Robert B. (1954-). Michael and Chynne.
Jack later served at the Pentagon. Jack graduated from the Air Force War College in 1959. The Air War College educates officers to serve as strategic national security leaders.
Following retirement from the Army in 1961. Jack worked for Bendix in Rockville, MD and in Detroit, MI. He now lives with his son in Bradenton, Florida. He says he will be buried in Arlington Cemetery, not too soon we hope.
Robert Bradley Koser Jr. and Karinny Saade Dias-Koser made a video of Jack Koser's career. You can see the movie by click the image below.
Jack Donald Koser Photo Album