Chris Ivanoff Jr.

1924 - 2001


Their Story

*This photo shows the original Wolf Pack crew (Ivanoff is first on the right side, standing). According to Lieutenant Allan Lemley (who is also in the photo), this photo was taken in Sioux City, Iowa, right before the group was deployed to England in 1943.[1]

[1]“United States Eighth Air Force in Britain, 1942-1945,” Imperial War Museum, n.d., accessed 16 May 2022,

Chris Ivanoff Jr was born on February 5, 1924, in Davenport, Iowa, to Chris and Mary Ivanoff.[1] On May 28, 1942, while employed at Kay Furniture Co., Ivanoff enlisted in the Army Air Corps. By February of the following year, he had been promoted to staff sergeant, after completing training at the Wendover Aerial Gunnery and Fire Control School in Utah and additional training at the California Flyers School in Santa Monica. At this time, Ivanoff also became an aerial engineer after receiving his wings.[2]

In June, Ivanoff was assigned to the 562nd Squadron of the 388th Bomb Group, nicknamed “Wolf Pack,” serial number 42-3289. This group flew a B-17 Flying Fortress, a heavy bomber aircraft, often used for daytime raids against Germany. In this group, Ivanoff served as the waist gunner.[3] The main responsibility of the waist gunner, was to protect the B-17 from enemy fire. Each aircraft has two waist gunners, who would stand by open windows and fire machine guns at the enemy.[4]

On September 6, 1943, the Wolf Pack flew their B-17 over Stuttgart, Germany. Unfortunately, the aircraft was shot down, killing several men, while the others were captured and taken to a German POW camp in Austria. Chris Ivanoff was one of these men; he remained in the camp for twenty months.[5] In May 1945, Ivanoff was liberated from the camp, and he was discharged from the army soon after. For his service, Ivanoff was awarded the A1 (Prisoner of War) Medal and a Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained when his B-17 was shot down.

After his retirement from the Air Corp, Ivanoff became the sales manager at the Franc Furniture Store in Rock Island, which had purchased Kay’s Furniture Co. in 1950: the same company Ivanoff had worked for before he enlisted.[6] It is said that Ivanoff loved golf, bowling, go-kart racing, cooking, playing cards, and gardening. He was also very proud to be a veteran. On December 17, 2001, Ivanoff passed away at Illini Hospital in Silvis, Illinois. He was survived by his wife, Nellie Ivanoff, four sons, one daughter, six grandchildren, and three sisters.[7]


[1]“Chris Ivanoff Jr”, The Dispatch, (Moline, Illinois), 20 December 2001, p.6,

[2]“News From Our Boys,” The Daily Times, (Davenport, Iowa), 24 February 1943, p.2,

[3]“United States Eighth Air Force in Britain, 1942-1945,” Imperial War Museum, n.d.,

[4]Waist Gunner,” Army Air Corp Library and Museum, n.d.,

[5]No One Volunteers for This Exclusive Club,” The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) 8 February 1964, p. 24,.

[6]No One Volunteers for This Exclusive Club,” The Rock Island Argus.

[7]“Chris Ivanoff Jr,” The Dispatch.