Danish WW2 Pilots

Jens A. Norgaard

(1916 - 1989)

Jens A Norgaard is born in the Danish West Indies in 1916 shortly before the transfer of the island to United States. On D-Day he is the lead pilot of the Marauder attacks on Utah beach supporting the landing. He is then a U.S. Citizen.

Jens A Norgaard is born on 25 October 1916 in Christiansted on the then Danish West Indies Island of St. Croix. He is the son of first pilot Anders Jersen Norgaard (b. 1878) and Elna M. Norgaard (1886-1887).

On 31 March 1917 the Danish West Indies is sold to United States and is named the United States Virgin Islands. The inhabitants became U.S. Citizens unless they preferred to remain Danish citizens. The family decided to become U.S. Citizens and to change their name from Nørregaard to Norgaard. In the 1920s they move from the Virgin Islands to New York City and later to Iowa.

Jens A Norgaard enlists in the U.S. Army, Air Corps, as aviation cadet in Fort des Moines, Iowa, on 28 May 1941. He is trained as pilot.

Lead Pilot on D-Day

In June 1944, Jens A Norgaard is attached to 344th Bombardment Group holding the rank of Major. The 344th BG is to lead the 387th, 397th, 394th, 323rd and the 386th BGs in an attack the coastal batteries at Utah Beach. The first aircraft is to bomb at 0605 hrs and the last at 625 hrs – H-hour minus 5 minutes.

Jens A Norgaard is lead pilot of this formation of more than 400 B-26 Marauders. At 0412 hrs he takes off in B-26 (42-95876, Y5-S, “Mary Jo” - named after is wife) from Stansted (station 169). The Marauders find their marks on the ground with great precision and – with a loss of one aircraft – 344th had a remarkable success.

Jens A Norgaard dies on 24 September 1989 in Florida.

(Flight Journal, 6.2002; b26.com; Finn Buch)