While flying a bombing mission over Linz, Austria, Red’s plane was severely damaged due to enemy fire. They flew towards the emergency landing strip on the Isle of Vis. Since they had lost both engines on one wing and the wing with good engines had bullet holes that caused fuel to leak, they hand pumped fuel from the good tank on the wing of feathered (dead) engines, keeping the fuel level just low enough not to leak out. They were on approach to the field when they lost control and crashed. Only the tail gunner was able to get clear in time for his parachute to open.
Even though Captain Tennille tragically died before he could return home to Milledgeville to visit his family and meet his baby boy for the very first time, his son, Tom, has worked hard to get to know his late father through the memories of others. Tom travels to the yearly reunions of his father’s military outfit (15th Air Force, 55th Bombardment Wing, 465th Bomb Group, 783rd Squadron) in an effort to learn more about his Dad’s life from the men who served with A.C., something that he cherishes very much. While his life was short, A.C.’s rich legacy lives on with his family, friends, and in the Milledgeville and GMC community. May we never forget the sacrifice of true American heroes like Captain Arthur Cline Tennille, Jr.