George L. Ott, 97

Funeral Mass for George L. Ott, 97, of Dickinson, formerly of rural New England, will be 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dickinson, with Father Todd Kreitinger celebrating.  Burial will be in North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.

ottFuneral Mass for George L. Ott, 97, of Dickinson, formerly of rural New England, will be 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dickinson, with Father Todd Kreitinger celebrating.  Burial will be in North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.

Visitation for George was from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 at Stevenson Funeral Home with a rosary and vigil service being held at 6:00 p.m.

George passed away Friday, October 7, 2016 at St. Luke’s Home in Dickinson.

George Leo Ott was born Aug. 26, 1919 in Kennedy Township, N.D. to George and Rose (Wandler) Ott. He grew up and attended Ott Country School and later St. Mary’s High School in New England graduating at the age of 16. He entered the Civilian Conservation Corps for six months and then attended Dickinson State Teachers College majoring in Pre-Med. On Nov. 23, 1940 he entered the US Army Air Corps. He attended Primary Flight School at Parks Air College in St. Louis. He then went to Randolph Field in San Antonio, for Basic Training and moved onto Advanced Training at Brooks AFB. George received his wings July 14, 1941. His first assignment with the 17th Bomb group, 95th Squadron flying B25’s at Pendleton, OR. He was made a B17 instructor pilot and went to Tampa for the 92nd Bomb Group. He was part of the 1st bomb group to fly non-stop from the United States to Ayr, Scotland and from there he went to Bovington, England, where he went into combat. In the spring of 1943, several officers including George were sent on a secret mission back to the US to train a squadron of highly secret B17’s known as the YB40s. No bombs were carried in the YB40s, they carried 12-15,000 rounds of machine gun ammo and their duty was to protect the B17s formations. This didn’t work and so they put the chin turrets in the YB40s and turned then into G Model B17s. George was made squadron commander of the 325th squadron. George and his crew were sent on a mission on Oct. 14, 1943 known as “Black Thursday” to bomb factories over Schweinfurt, Germany. He was shot down during that mission and had to parachute out of his plane where he was met on the ground by a German rifle in his face and told in German “For you the war is over.” He was taken to Stalag Luft III South Compound and later taken to West Compound where he was named block commander. He spent 18 months in prison camp and was liberated May 27, 1945. Some memorable events while in the Army Air Corps were when he was chosen to fly all senior officers to Edinburough Castle in England to watch “Tattoo” which are South African bagpipe players. While on a training mission with the YB40’s, George received a call to report to Bassinborn Base in England, where Bob Morgan and his crew with “Memphis Belle” were being honored by the King and Queen of England. The King and Queen wanted to see the YB40’s and meet George and his crew. George was able to shake hands with the King and Queen. He also was one of several officers that flew Martha Ray, Carol Landis and other USO Girls to Algiers Eisenhower Headquarters where the USO Girls entertained the troops. However, George never got to see a show. Lt. Col. George L. Ott retired from the service on June 12, 1947 with the following honors and medals:

[if !supportLists]1)      [endif]Purple Heart 2) Air Medal Plus Oak Leaf  3) POW Medal  4) USAF Good Conduct Medal 5) American Defense Service Medal 6) Africa & Middle East Medal 7) WWII Victory Medal 8) Marksman Medal.

On July 30, 1945, Clara Barbo Nelson and George were united in marriage in Santa Monica, CA. To this union six children were born. Upon George’s retirement from the service in 1947, the family returned to North Dakota where they started farming and ranching the family farm in Kennedy Township until his retirement in 1991 when they moved to Dickinson, ND.

George was a member of the Township School Board and served as president for 2 years, served on the Hettinger County Soil Conservation Board for 15 years and served as president for 4 years. He was a life member of Elks Lodge 1137; Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Knight; American Legion VFW; Disabled American Veterans; Ex-POW’s and served as president of the ND Chapter.

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