Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free


Harlan Palmer


Date and Place of Birth: 1917 Reedsburg, Wisconsin
Date and Place of Death: November 11, 1943 New Guinea
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Outfield
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: 321st Bomb Squadron, 90th Bomb Group USAAF
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations


Harland R "Harlan" Palmer was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin in 1917. Palmer attended the University of Wisconsin where he was an outfielder on the varsity baseball team from 1937 to 1939. Used regularly as a pinch-hitter in 1937, Palmer had a string of four successive pinch hits.


Palmer entered military service on December 18, 1941 - eleven days after Pearl Harbor. He trained as a bomber pilot and served with the 321st Bomb Squadron, 90th Bomb Group at New Guinea in the Pacific.



On November 11, 1943, a bombing mission to Rabaul was aborted due to poor weather. As the airplanes prepared to land there was a collision between two of them. The propellers of another B-24 cut off the rudder of the Lieutenant Palmer's B-24 which dove into the ground, detonating the full bomb load, and killing all on board. The other B-24, badly damaged, managed to land.

Part source of this information is John S. Alcorn's "The Jolly Rogers"


Added September 27, 2006

Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.