We are excited to announce the addition of information concerning Lloyd Claiborne Weir (known as “George”). He was born to Sarah Frances Claiborne and DeWitt Franklin Weir on 15 December 1920 in White County, Arkansas. In World War II he served as crew chief and master sergeant of the B-24 Liberator Hot Stuff, the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete twenty-five missions in Europe in World War II and, after completing thirty-one missions, was selected to return to the United States on 3 May 1943 to tour the country and help sell war bands. That spring of 1943 Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews needed to get back to Washington, D.C. He was Commander of the European Theater of Operations and known as the father of the Air Force. General Andrews knew Hot Stuff’s pilot Capt. “Shine” Shannon and chose to fly back to the United States with him.
Hot Stuff had a scheduled refueling stop in Iceland but crashed into a mountain in bad weather that day on 3 May 1943. All onboard, including George Weir, were killed except the tail gunner. The real purpose of General Andrews’ travel was that he was going back to Washington, D.C., to be blessed by Congress and the president, awarded his fourth star, and formally named Supreme Allied Commander in Europe to lead an assault across the English Channel. Because of his death, the job was assigned to Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower nine months later in February 1944.
In a subsequent diary entry a fellow soldier wrote, “I don’t see how anyone could have been a better crew chief than George. He went beyond the call of duty in working on his plane. Time meant nothing when things needed to be done. The plane was a living thing to him and long after the most severed inspector would pronounce the plane fit, George would still be out there tinkering around making little adjustments, polishing the interior, and looking things over. . . . He was everything a good soldier should be — loyal, capable, and industrious.”
The Hot Stuff crew and those on the flight with Gen. Andrews are memorialized online here with stories and several videos. Jim Lux, a friend of a surviving member who had missed the flight the day it crashed, worked hard to memorialize the crew and their history. He led an effort to dedicate a plaque at the site with plans and hopes of a future memorial monument by the wreckage near Grindavik, Iceland.
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