416th Bombardment Group (L)
670th Bombardment Squadron (L)
5 February 1943 to 11 October 1945
Transcription from USAF Archives
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On 5 February 1943, the 670th Bombardment Squadron (L) was activated at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, together with other Squadrons of the 416th Bombardment Group (L), from the 46th Bombardment Group (L). The parent organization of the 670th Bombardment Squadron (L) was the 53rd Bombardment Squadron (L), as the majority of men within the original cadre were taken from the 53rd Bombardment Squadron (L). Many such men had been together in the association with their colleagues at Bowman Field, Kentucky, at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, at Blythe, California, and at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In the original cadre were the following named Officers and Enlisted Men: (List attached, SO #46, Hq. Army Air Base, Will Rogers Field, Okla, 15 Feb 1943); (SO #1, Hq. 416th Bombardment Gp (L), Will Rogers Field, Okla, 15 Feb 1943). (Exhibit #1 & 2 attached)
Captain Raymond T. Schlanser assumed command on 15 February 1943. He had formerly been Operations Officer at the 51st Bombardment Squadron (L), and pictures of his maneuvers with the armored forces at Blythe, California, received national recognition by portrayal on the front cover of "News Week Magazine" June 1942 issue. Captain Schlanser was a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a nephew of Colonel Schlanser, MC, of the Regular Army.
1st Lt Maurice B. Sheridan was detailed Intelligence Officer; 2d Lt Earl M. Singley was detailed Communications Officer; 2d Lt Dana B. Horn was detailed Armament, Supply and Transportation Officer; 2d Lt Bernard P. Sweeney was detailed Acting Adjutant and Group Statistical Officer; 2d Lt Gerald L. McCurry was detailed Engineering Officer; 2d Lt John T. S. Morris was assigned and joined 26 Feb 1943 as Adjutant. Chemical Warfare and Statistical Officer, vice 2d Lt Bernard P. Sweeney relieved. 2d Lt's Paul F. Curdy, Eugene S. Hulette, Robert J. Duthu, Elwin F. Howard, and Richard C. Cromwell assumed the duties of Pilots, and were responsible for their training to the parent organization.
On March 11th 1943, 1st Lt Donald J. Reichert was assigned and joined as Squadron Surgeon.
The organization occupied the area and installations vacated by the 21st Observation Squadron on its departure for Tullahome, Tennessee.
On 10 April 1943, 2d Lt's Singley and Horn were transferred to the 417th Bombardment Squadron (L), and 2d Lt's Garrison, Markle, Nicolay, Simmons, Stockwell, Scully, Seibert, Kamanitsky, Rudisill, Gaughan and Richards were added to the organization as Pilots. 2d Lt Vernard V. Cummings joined as Supply Officer; 2d Lt Daniel J. Nolan As Communications Officer; 2d Lt William H. Maier as Ordnance Officer; 2d Lt William A. McDonald as Armament Officer; 2d Lt Robert J. Kehres as Ass't Engineering Officer; 2d Lt Eugene A. Nitz as Mess Officer and Special Services Officer, and 2d Lt Richard C. Ott as Asst' Transportation Officer.
On 15 May 1943, after the occurance of an airplane crash in a lake near Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, Pvt George F. Baldwin, Pvt Bernard E. Elston, and Pvt Paul C. Wagner, exhibited heroic conduct, unselfish attitude and untiring effort in recovering the bodies of those in the accident, and received official commendation from Colonel B. S. Thompson, Commanding Officer at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma. (Exhibit #4)
On 15 April 1943, 2d Lt Eugene S. Hulette, while on temporary duty at Amarillo, Texas, on a training mission, was involved in an airplane accident with fatal results. His loss to the organization was the cause of extreme grief to all, who remembered him as an energetic, resourceful, devoted and skillful pilot, as well as an emulable soldier.
In the month of April 1943 the organization reached full strength and was launched on an operational training program. The program was scheduled with the 46th Bombardment Group (L). Classes were conducted by the 46th Bomb Gp in all the military occupational specialties for which this organization had authorization, and was completed 1 June 1943.
On 12 February 1943, S/Sgt. Robert K. Riley returned from the European Theatre of Operations and was assigned to this organization and joined. In compiling 25 operational missions in England and North Africa, S/Sgt Riley was awarded the Air Medal, 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was one of the most outstanding of our gunners, and a great source of good, moral and interesting information at this early stage of the unit's development.
On 17 March 1943, the procedure for the ceremonial parade of the 416th Bombardment Group (L), had been drawn up by 2d Lt Morris, and was put into practice on successive Saturdays. The 416th Bomb Gp was honored by the presence of Brigadier General A. B. McDaniel, who reviewed the troops.
On 2 May 1943 a program of monthly bivouacs and marches was put into effect, and, in full field regalia, all personnel went into the field, messed, prepared bivouac, and returned to area of cantonment.
On 31 May 1943, one Officer and 16 Enlisted Men departed by rail for Lake Charles, La, as advanced echelon. 2d Lt Paul F. Curdy, with his aides prepared the way for the movement of the organization to Army Air Base, Lake Charles, La.
Captain Raymond T. Schlanser, Commanding Officer, remained several days at Oklahoma City to settle property records.
On 3 June 1943, the ground echelon departed from Will Rogers Field by rail, in a train of 18 cars, consisting of organization equipment cars, mess cars, individual equipment cars and standard pullmans. 1st Lt Donald J. Reichert was Train Surgeon; 2d Lt Sydney A. Luria was Train Provost Marshal; 2d Lt Charles C. Richards was Train QuarterMaster; 2d Lt Louis M. Moos was Train Mess Officer; and 2d Lt John T. S. Morris was Train Commander.
The Air Echelon departed from Will Rogers Field on 4 June 1943. All personnel heartily welcomed so pleasant a home at the Army Air Base, at Lake Charles, with flower gardens, good quarters and cordial hosts.
2d Lt Paul F. Curdy was designated as Operations Officer; and 2d Lt Robert J. Duthu as Ass't Operations Officer, Oxygen Officer, and Ground Air Support Party Control Officer. Under the direction of Capt Schlanser, Lt Curdy, there began an active program of the 2nd phase of operational training work. At this point the organization received a vast increase in equipment, facilities, installations, transportation, and in maintenance facilities for aircraft. An entire airplane hanger was granted the four Squadrons of the 416th Bomb Gp, and shortly after an additional hanger was available; this organization then occupied the same hangar with the 668th Bomb Sq (L).
At approximately 10 June 1943, the approval of the War Department was secured for the Squadron insignia, and on the fuselage of all aircraft appeared this distinctive insignia. ( Exhibit #6 attached).
On 25 June 1943, in a tragic airplane accident in which 6 men were fatally injured, the 670th Bomb Sq (L) was deprived of 1 Officer and 3 Enlisted Men. Two planes locking wings in mid-air was the cause of the loss to this Squadron of Lt Curdy, S/Sgt Wentling, Sgt Zelley and Pvt Riley. The accident occured near DeRidder, Louisiana, while on a training mission.
Another crash claimed another Squadron pilot, when, on 4 July 1943, Lt Scully was killed when his plane crashed near the city of Lake Charles, La, while on a training mission.
On 11 July 1943, Captain Finlay MacGillivray assumed command of the squadron, vice Capt Schlanser relieved. Capt Schlanser departed from Lake Charles for Army Air Base, Roswell, New Mexico, with 10 other officers; Lt's Cromwell, Garrison, Kamenitsky, Kerr, Mailman, Markle, Nicolay, Rudisill, Siebert, and Simmons. Captain MacGillivray had returned to the states after seeing action in the South Pacific. Captain William Beck, also returned from the South Pacific, assumed the duties of Operations Officer.
After 1 June 1943, the 670th Bomb Sq (L) had assumed the character of a Replacement Training Unit, and there began an influx of surplus personnel. Concurrently there developed a larger training program and schedule. Newly assigned flying personnel and newly assigned enlisted personnel were directed to undergo 2 weeks preliminary training in addition to their eventual operational training phase. A limited number of of qualified check pilots and supervised personnel worked unceasingly to fit combat crews for their ultimate stage, and to train pilots in safety measures, in the operation of new aircraft, idiosyncrasies of the aircraft, in code procedure, in the mechanics of radio, in the mechanical characteristics of the Boston and in the accurate use of Armament.
On 1 July 1943, Lt Cummings was designated as Adjutant, and Lt Morris was designated as Executive Officer. On 3 July 2d Lt Phillip G. Ferrere was assigned and joined the organization as Assistant Adjutant.
August began with the activation of the 418th Bombardment Group (L) at Lake Charles, La, which drew it's personnel from the 416th Bombardment Group (L). On 12 August 1943, fourteen officers and forty-seven enlisted men were transferred to the new group.
Thus the squadron began its short but hectic existance as a parent organization, which included rapid training and turnover of personnel. The many daily problems in organization and administration were effectively and efficiently solved. The task of building up an organization and then tearing it down again for a new cadre was not a pleasant one. It was often necessary to transfer a key man out of the organization, after he had worked to help build the squadron. There existed during this period a feeling of insecurity and even futility. However there was a job to do and as is typical, the squadron approached it with determination.
During this period the training progressed along a well-planned course, including Saturday parades, daily physical training, chemical warfare, small arms, first aid and sanitation, etc, in addition to the actual operational training of crews for combat.
On the 27th of August the squadron participated in a march and bivouac to an area approximately six miles from the base. Strafing attacks, gas attacks, both actual and simulated added considerably to the problem.
Recreational activities and athletic events continued. In the Group field days, on the 23rd, 24th and 25th, the 670th Squadron emerged victors by a large margin, and took possession of the Group Athletic trophy. 2d Lt Arnold Harrison joined the organization on August 7th and was detailed Asst Enginneering Officer. 2d Lt Joseph E. Tollett and 2d Lt Edward F. Heafey joined the unit on August 28th and were detailed Supply Officer and Mess Officer respectively.
The month of September brought many drastic changes in personnel and squadron duty assignments which were to greatly influence the history of the organization. On September 3rd, sixty-six enlisted men received promotions in grade per par 7, SO 117, Hq., 416th Bomb Gp (L).
We had been waiting for the news which came on 7 September. The group was changed from an operational training unit to a tactical unit. With this came the immediate de-activation of the 418th Bomb Gp. resulting in the return of old friends into the already over burdened facilities of the squadron. Now began the task of selecting personnel and paring the squadron down to fighting strength of thirtysix officers and two hundred and sixty-two enlisted men, the then existing strength of thirty-eight officers and four hundred and sixty-two enlisted men.
2d Lts Paul G. Atkinson, William J. Greene and Daniel F. Shea, West Point graduates, joined the squadron as twin-engine pilots on 8 September.
Also September began the long line of inspections from many higher headquarters. III Bomber Command and 56th Bombardment Wing inspections early in the month found the squadron satisfactory, which was a noteworthy accomplishment in view of the confusion of rapidly changing personnel. Training continued with added schools and courses including a Bombardier-Navigator School, Intelligence School, Armament and Ordnance School and Communications School. Low altitude missions and interception problems occupied much of the combat crews training time.
On 11 September 2d Lt Herman C. Jones and 2d Lt Ralph Conte joined the squadron from Army Air Forces Bombardier School at Carlsbad, New Mexico. Two more West Point graduates joined the squadron when 2d Lts Frank J. Harrold and Robert J. Rooney reported for duty as twin engine pilots. 1st Lt Chester R. Jackson joined as an Operations Officer from 416th Bomb Group Headquarters. 2d Lt Lowell E. Geffinger and 1st Lt Clifford E. Hogue joined our organization on 16 September. Lt. Geffinger was detailed Squadron Adjutant, and Lt Hogue was detailed Squadron Armament Officer. On the same date 1st Lt Duthu, a member of the original cadre of this organization, who served elsewhere for a period rejoined the squadron from the 671st Squadron. Also from the 671st Squadron came 1st Lt James S. Abbott III, who was detailed Squadron Ordnance Officer.
The hurricane scare on September 16th is an event which will be remembered as part of the history of the squadron, for it was the first taste of operation during an actual emergency. All flyable aircraft took off immediately for Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, where training continued at the normal rate. The remaining planes were jammed into the squadron hanger. Alert teams were on duty constantly for a period of approximately 24 hours after which word was received that the hurricane warnings were discontinued and operations were brought back to normal.
The personnel picture of the squadron was ever changing with a constant jockeying of enlisted men and officers. Needed skilled replacements for certain jobs filtered in, while numerous overages were dispatched to other replacement units.
2d Lts Arthur W. Nordstrom and Joseph C. Crispino joined the ranks of squadron pilots on 24 September. The month ended with a strength of 462 enlisted men and 38 officers.
Though the previous month had seen changes wrought in the personnel of the organization, October was to witness the greatest mass movement of strength to date.
On October 6th the organization received a taste of days to come when we departed by truck convoy from our Lake Charles base for the bivouac area at Gillis Airport. Seventy-five miles travel was involved in the round trip. Camouflage tactics were stressed on the bivouac, as bombing and strafing missions from the home base were "on the menu".
October 14th was the first mass transfer of personnel when 92 enlisted men were transferred to the 411th Bombardment Group at Florence, South Carolina, the successor to our previous status as a replacement unit. The next day, October 15th, 89 more enlisted men were transferred to the 411th Bomb Group, completing two days of hectic shipping activity.
The task of seeing that all men received furloughs was resumed on 15 October. This was saddened by the death of a long-time member of the organization, Pvt Arthur J. Vienneau, who was killed after parachuting from a plane while on a routine flight.
Death struck again in our ranks, when on the 19th, the aircraft piloted by 1st Lt Robert Duthu undershot the field in smokey and foggy weather and crashed during a training flight over Lake Charles. 2d Lt Herman C. Jones, Bombardier-Navigator, lost his life in this crash. Lt Jones' pleasant personality, willing cooperation and untiring efforts made him an officer liked by all who knew him. His loss was a great one. Lt Duthu and S/Sgt Robert E. Lee, gunner, were badly injured, but recovered. The injuries to Lt Duthu brought about his transfer to the LaGarde General Hospital.
The Base football team, to which the 670th Squadron contributed two big stars, Sgt Robert N. Snyder and Sgt Paul D. Cookingham, chalked up a series of victories over neighboring field teams.
52 enlisted men were promoted in grade on 27 October per par 2, SO 162 Hq 416th Bomb Group. 2d Lt Francis H. Bursiel, Bombardier-Navigator, joined this organization from the 411th Bomb Group on October 30th.
Word was received on October 30th that our group was to be transferred to Army Air Base, Laurel, Mississippi. Everything was to be packed and ready to move by the next day. Feverish activity completed the job at the desired time. The many transfers of personnel in the middle of the month had reduced the strength of the organization to 251 enlisted men and 41 officers.
At 0400, on the cold, foggy morning of November 1st, the organization departed from Lake Charles as part of a 99 truck convoy. 1st Lt Morris was convoy commander. After a steady 345 mile trip the convoy reached our new home, Laurel, Mississippi, at 1915 that evening. Bunks were wearily sought as the first and only activity at our new site.
The following day was devoted to setting up various sections to be ready for the program of intensive training ahead. The training was not long in beginning. That same day combat crews and ground personnel were sent of detached service to Pollack, Louisiana to participate in maneuvers, which provided excellent and interesting training for our combat crews.
On 5 November the squadron received another major change when Captain William J. Meng was assigned from the 416th Bombardment Group Headquarters to assume command, relieving Capt MacGillivray as Commanding Officer. Capt Meng had come into the Group in July 1943, as Asst Ground-Air Support Officer, after having spent over two years in the Canal Zone and Caribbean area. While in the Caribbean area he was with the 59th Bombardment Squadron, which played a major role in the successful anti-submarine campaign in that area.
Five pilots, one bombardier-navigator, six gunners, and one radio operator and one mechanic took off on the morning of 6 November as part of a group of 18 A-20's to participate in a two-week demonstration tour. This group included Capt MacGillivray, Lt Greene, Lt Crispino, Lt Hillerman, Lt Gruetzemacher, Lt Powell, S/Sgt Kidd, S/Sgt Conopask, S/Sgt Riley, S/Sgt Donahue, S/Sgt Stobert, Sgt F. P. Glynn, Sgt Bodiford, and S/Sgt R. J. Snyder. The tour covered various army camps, including Ft Benning, Ft Sill, Ft Riley and Camp Hood.
On 9 November the squadron broke camp and left the cantonment area to travel across the field to a bivouac area. Here the organization lived and worked under field conditions for a period of one week. Regular operation of the squadron and training continued at its usual pace in the field, under conditions such as might be expected some day overseas. Lt Heafey and S/Sgt Payton, with the help of their mess personnel, set up an excellent field mess, which because of their untiring efforts, was most successful. The high point of this success came one noon meal when ice cream was served. The results of this field exercise were gratifying, both from a training standpoint and also as a test of our ability to operate with very limited facilities. It was felt that every department, both technical and administrative, benefitted greatly from this field exercise. The compactness of the unit at this location made administration a simple matter, and routine training of personnel in chemical warfare, care and use of small arms, first aid and sanitation, etc, was carried out daily.
On the 16th of November return was made to the cantonment area, with the exception of the technical sections. The Engineering, Operations, Communications, Intelligence, Armament, and Ordnance sections continued to operate in the bivouac area, which by this time was found to be an ideal location.
Under the capable and inspiring leadership of Capt Meng the squadron pitched in and worked hard to achieve our goal of readiness. Training continued to roll along at a fast pace. Convoy driving tests were given; chemical warfare and first aid classes were attended. Air crews continued to go on detached service for maneuvers. Lt Nolan's section set up a squadron communication system with the installation of field telephones, and the initiation of a code system, which was accepted with surprising interest.
Furloughs and leaves were resumed on the 20th of November, after having been suspended since our move to Laurel.
The latter part of the month seemed to be devoted to inspections from higher headquarters. On the 25th, the organization was restricted to get ready for the inspections and a move, and given two days for preparation. After two twenty-four hour stretches of almost constant work we were ready, but plenty tired.
Thanksgiving Day almost slipped past unnoticed in all the activity. However a delicious feast was prepared by our hard-working cooks, and the seasonal turkey was consumed with gusto at an elaborate dinner, to which many brought their wives and friends.
During the latter part of the month our training took a very definite trend toward medium altitude operations, which was something of a change for our combat crews, who had been devoting the greater part of their attention to low-level bombing. Bad weather cut down the actual number of missions considerably.
The end of the month found the strength of the organization down to 277 enlisted men and 37 officers. 2d Lt Geffinger and 2d Lt Nolan had been promoted to 1st Lt on 19 November, and 2d Lt Rudisill received his promotion to 1st Lt on 27 November.
"When will we get our overseas movement orders?" That was the question on everyone's mind as we eagerly plunged into December. Training continued at an unabated pace. The day seemed nearer when the POM inspection arrived on 16 December and we were pronounced ready!! 2d Lts Thomas J. Leonard and Leonard R. McBride, pilots, joined us from the 669th Squadron on the 2nd day of the month. Lts Atkinson, Rooney, Greene, Shea and Harrold received promotions to 1st Lt.
After being pronounced ready for shipment, the middle of the month saw us again begin to cut down our strength to T/O authorization, with shipments of men to the 46th and 411th Bomb Groups.
Movement orders dated 23 December directed that the unit leave for Camp Shanks, New York, so as to arrive by 3 January 1944.
On the 24th of the month we were told by our Group Commander that we were ready for combat, and we were informed as to what we could expect and how to prepare.
Christmas day came as a break in all the rushed preparations. Though it was unlike any other Christmas ever spent, with overseas shipments ahead, it still maintained that traditional American spirit. The mess personnel again served a delicious turkey dinner which did wonders in bolstering morale and adding to the holiday mood. Wives and friends were invited to help celebrate the occasion.
The next day found us all back at the job of packing and crating. Supplies were turned in, records turned over to the base, and a last minute rush was made to the Base Medical Board for re-examination of all personnel.
Restriction came on the 28th and officers and enlisted men were limited to the confines of the base. No visitors could be received and no telephone calls could be made off the base. Families of the men started their homeward trek as the men kissed the girls goodbye. Anticipation of things to come kept spirits high.
On December 29th we were joined by 2d Lt William L. Green, who came to us as a Ground Operations Officer from the Base Detachment at Laurel, Miss, and on the same day we lost one of our most familiar and pleasant faces - that of Lt Johnny Gaughan, who left us with the hope of getting back on flying status.
New Year's Eve was spent on the base. Although it was the first New Year's Eve most of us ever had to spend "under restriction," it turned out a merry one. Following a demonstration of each squadron's theatrical talent in a group review, the Mess Hall was turned into a beer garden for the evening, and with officers and enlisted men toasting each other, and things to come, merriment rang out in song and in comradeship. Cpl Wilkinson put on a demonstration "strip tease" and wound up by depositing one of his garments in the lap of Colonel Mace who visited the party and had a good time with his men. It was a successful ring down on the curtain of 1943, for 261 enlisted men and 36 officers.
New Year's Day brought the long awaited move. After making last minute preparations, 261 enlisted men and 36 officers wearily staggered under the load of baggage, field packs and arms, and boarded the train. At 1330, to the tunes of the Laurel Army Air Base military band and waving females, the organization departed by rail for Camp Shanks, New York. A makeshift Orderly Room was set up in Captain Meng's compartment where "business as usual" was carried on. Here last minute reports were prepared, final checks made of records, and plans made for work which we know would greet us at the staging area.
For three days there followed nothing but card games and marches through the cars to the kitchen car for chow, while the train followed a cross country route getting to New York. At 0300, 4 January, we stepped off the train at Camp Shanks to be greeted by a snow blizzard. To those of our organization seeing snow for the first time, it was a rude initiation. By the time a long hike up hill and a wait for assignment to quarters had been completed, all felt that if it were the last snow they saw, it would be a good deal.
The next morning the men awoke to start one of the busiest, most exciting months thus far of their lives. For the organization it was most important - the start of a long awaited trip to combat. Busy as things were with showdown after showdown, examination after examination, lectures, training hikes, abandon ship drills, gas chambers etc, there was opportunity for relaxation in the issuing of 12 hour passes to New York, or, "Manhattan in 10 easy lessons". The boys from the west and south got their taste of the bright lights, shopping for odds and ends, and last, but not least, the bars and night clubs.
Through cold and snow the staging area days drew to a close. Lt Morris brought a fur cap to ease the formation of ice on his wing flaps. Many saw their wives, sweethearts and families for the last time before sailing. The mud supply department drafted help, and galoshes were issued just as the weather cleared. On January 17th passes were suddenly halted and we were alerted. Then began a life of escorting. Staging area regulations demanded that enlisted men have an escort to go to chow, to go to the PX, to go to a movie, and a pass to get to headquarters. Never were they so well escorted and protected in their lives. We received our first taste of censorship of mail during this period, and the officers found themselves pondering the problem of how much Sgt so and so could say to his wife about what he was doing. Then and there they learned how much GI mail is written per night, much to their sorrow.
At 1700, 17 January, the squadron departed from Camp Shanks for overseas. With full packs on our backs and under a cover of night we marched to the railhead and boarded a train. It was a proud and determined outfit, ready and anxious to get into the fight. We were trained and prepared for what might come. Many thoughts were going through our minds during that march to the train. Behind us were months and months of constant hard work and preparation, not without a few heartbreaks and disappointments. We were thinking of the work behind us, and the jobs before us. We were thinking of that first day we found ourselves in the army - the technical schools - the basic, primary and advanced flying schools. Some of us thought about West Point. Some of us thought about how different this was from previous trips overseas. A few of us recalled the fun in New York City. A few of us thought about the weather. All of us thought about the folks at home.
At Weehawken, New Jersey, we were transferred to a ferry boat and began our "sea trip". At the pier, before boarding ship, we were treated to coffee and doughnuts by the American Red Cross - the last good American coffee and doughnuts we were to see. At 2300, 262 enlisted men and 36 officers boarded the SS "Colombe", a French Liner. There was no thought for much but sleep then.
At 1230 on January 18th, the SS "Colombe" sailed from her berth and though all were below deck, there was many an eye visualizing the passing of the familiar Statue of Liberty as we drew away from the USA. All rumors, all joking about overseas were now at an end. At 1400, Ambrose Light was passed and we were on the high seas.
Thus began 10 days aboard ship, the first time for most of the men. Ten days of card games, long mess lines, two meals a day, sea sickness for some, health and color for others. Excellent food was served during the voyage.
The thrill of the huge battle armada protecting us was a sight never to be forgotten. But not enough to still the ever present rumors about U-Boat attacks.
Daily gunnery practice provided excitement and never failed to bring a large audience out on deck. It was comforting to see and hear the battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, corvettes, destroyers, and even the troop ships themselves, testing their guns. We were well protected.
Amateur navigators from the squadron had us all the way down to Puerto Rico when we were opposite Newfoundland. Lts Luria and Morris tried out their French on the crew with doubtful results.
Finally on the 28th land was in sight and the land lubbers hugged the rail, happy to see the green grass growing on the Scottish hillsides. We arrived at Gourock, Scotland, and remained anchored overnight. On the 29th we weighed anchor, passed up the River Clyde and docked at Glasgow where we remained aboard ship while the vessel was tied up at docks. The men amused themselves by tossing apples, coins and flattery at the Scottish belles on the pier. On the 31st one half of the Squadron (120 enlisted men and 18 officers) debarked, boarded an unforgettable English train, and departed at 2200 for Station # 170.
At 0200, 1 February, the remainder of the squadron debarked and entrained to join the previously departed. Later that same day the squadron united and encamped at Station 170, Wethersfield, Essex, England. All were surprised at the accommodations awaiting us. To day the least the Nissen hutments were novel.
And thus begins the main chapter in our history - the story of the accomplishment of our mission. After getting living quarters set up, working sections situated, we began to "sweat out" the arrival of planes, and our actual participation in combat missions. It was not to be too long a wait. Capt Meng's spirit was transferred to the members of his command. Each pilot, bombardier and gunner wanted to be in on the first mission, the first to go over enemy territory. But that honor went where it was most deserving, to our Squadron Commander, who went as an observer with a neighboring unit. Waiting for our actual operations to begin, we settled down and became acclimated to the new territory around us.
The fourth day here brought our first experience with an air raid, which crowded the air raid shelters, though our base was not attacked. The raids grew more frequent as the Nazi "little blitz" got under way.
Passes soon opened up the chance to observe our English neighbors, to partake of their customs, and to get used to their money system. With bravado, no longer did our GI's hold out their hands full of coins, and let the proprietor pick his bill, but bravely they tried to count the correct amount. 48 hour passes to London became the rage, even though air raids there caused some disruption; as three of our men, Sgt Ley, Sgt Hawkins, and Cpl Wilkinson found out, when the Pub in which they were sitting blew up in their faces. For those three, air raids took on a new meaning.
It took time for the jeeps to accustom themselves to riding on the left hand side of the road. Bicycles became the principal means of transportation on the base when the squadron got its quota of British bikes. Collisions were plentiful the first few days, as many were not familiar with the care and use of the British type hand brake. We were introduced to rationing on a large scale for the first time. Coal and baths were rationed. Candy, cigarettes, supplies, water, heat and even sunlight, it seemed, were rationed. Fog, rain and more fog were plentiful.
New decorations sprouted on blouses as the ETO ribbons were issued, signifying service in the European Theatre of Operations. Men also received the new issue of Good Conduct Medals.
During the month Capt Sheridan and Lt Luria attended numerous intelligence schools throughout England. Lts Hogue (Exhibit #8) and Abbott took many trips to neighboring fields in search of knowledge and experience useful to the squadron. Enlisted men were sent to Radio schools, anti-gas schools, and aircraft recognition schools.
Numerous changes in the administrative operation of the 416th Bombardment Group changed the squadron picture slightly. Intelligence, Operations, Communications and some of the Personnel work was to be operated on a group rather than squadron basis. Lt Nolan was given the additional duty of Group Signal Operations Officer. Lt Hogue was given the additional duty of Group Bombsight Maintenance Officer. Lt Norris was appointed Station Courts and Boards Officer. Lt W. L. Green became the Officer in charge of Synthetic Training Devices for the Group. Statistical and payroll work were consolidated in the Group Personnel section.
On 13 February 2d Lt Arthur L. Herbitter joined the squadron and was detailed Asst Squadron Armament Officer.
Lt W. L. Green received his orders on 18 February promoting him to 1st Lt. 1st Lt Morris was promoted to Captain on 25 February, and Lt Harrison received his promotion to 1st Lt on the same date.
On 23 February, Capt Zean R. Moore, 1st Lt Gerald M. McNulty, and 2d Lt Neil G. Brown, Pilots, joined the squadron from the 153rd Liason Squadron. These three officers came to us after having considerable combat experience in the ETO. Capt Moore had been with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Lt McNulty with the Royal Air Force before coming into the United States Army Air Forces.
The strength of the unit at the end of the month consisted of 261 enlisted men and 40 officers.
On March 4th came the excitement of getting the first mission prepared. Morale was at a high pitch. This was it! The following ten crews took off on our first visit over enemy territory to attack the Bernay-St Martin airfield:
PILOT BOMBARDIER-NAVIGATOR GUNNERS Capt Meng Lt. Powell S/Sgt Stobert - Sgt Glynn, F P Lt. Hulse Lt. Conte S/Sgt Donahue - Sgt Brayn Lt. Crispino S/Sgt Walsh - S/Sgt Conopask Lt. Greene, W.J. Sgt Ochaba - Sgt Colbert Lt. Shea S/Sgt Lee - Sgt Falk Lt. Monroe S/Sgt Kidd - S/Sgt Risko Lt. Ostrander S/Sgt Wilson - Sgt Binney Lt. Rooney Sgt McCleary - Sgt DiNapoli Lt. Nordstrom Sgt Miller - S/Sgt Gossett Lt. Hillerman S/Sgt Frielob - Sgt Eutsler (Sgt Palmer, Sgt P.F. Glynn, and Cpl Swafford flew with pilots of other squadrons on this mission).
Due to weather conditions no attack was made and no bombs were dropped. This mission almost proved a costly one to us. Lt Ostrander's ship, with S/Sgt Wilson and Sgt Binney aboard, came back with the hydraulic system out of order. The landing gear would not lower and there was a full load of bombs aboard. After unsuccessful attempts to bring the wheels down the decision was reached to ditch the plane in the English Channel. To make matters a little more complicated, Sgt Binney's chute had opened in the plane. The interphone was out so Lt Ostrander was not aware of this situation. S/Sgt Wilson gathered the open chute in his arms, booted Sgt Binney out the gunners hatch, and threw the chute out after him. After this he also jumped. Lt Ostrander then headed out over the Channel, and when he was sure the ship would go into the sea he jumped. While floating down he watched his airplane use up the last of its fuel and dive into the water. He hit the water and remained there only three minutes before the air-sea rescue boat picked him up. S/Sgt Wilson and Sgt Binney came down at Ipswich. When Wilson came down in a field near the town a group of small English boys ran up to him yelling "Hi, Yank, got any gum!!" This, as S/Sgt Wilson expressed it, "was the last straw."
Captain Meng received a well-deserved promotion on March 6th, when he received his orders and became Major Meng.
On March 7th, six of our crews again took off to attack Conches airdrome, with Bernay-St Martin airfield as a secondary target. Results of bombing on the primary target were rated fair. Because of mechanical difficulties in the bomb release mechanism, five aircraft failed to bomb.
The squadron lost one of its old friends on March 11th, when Lt Arnold Harrison was transferred to the 668th Bombardment Squadron to become their Engineering Officer. At the same time 1st Lt John E. Easterwood joined and became Squadron Personal Equipment Officer.
Lts Morris, Jackson and Hulse were promoted to Captain on March 15th.
The 18th brought a mission to attack Vacqueriette Noball, with poor results due to a premature release of bombs. One of our crews took part in this mission.
The following day, 19 March, eleven crews took part in an attack on the Wisques Noball site. During this attack, Lt. Powell, bombardier, suffered minor flak wounds received over the target, and became the first 670th Bomb Squadron combat casualty, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
Again on the 20th five of our crews took part in an attack on a Noball target. This time it was the Tournhem site.
On the 23rd of March the target was the Mondidier airdrome. We had four crews on this mission.
Excellent results were obtained when six of our crews participated in the March 26th attack on the Vacqueriette Noball site.
So, as the bombardiers and pilots began to hit their targets with increasing success, we knew we had what it takes. During the month we completed 51 sorties over enemy occupied Europe, with the loss of but one plane and no loss of personnel.
Three official commendations were received on 29 March for excellent work of the members of the squadron. Letters were received by Major Meng, Captain Morris, and Lt Heafey. (See exhibits # 10, # 11, and # 12 attached).
The month ended with the arrival of Lt. Joseph C. Sewell, twin engine pilot. Strength as of 31 March was 41 officers and 268 enlisted men.
With the first month of actual combat behind us, the entire squadron looked into April with great expectations. The fist day brought good news to some of the enlisted men when twenty-five were promoted in grade per Par 1, SO 43. (See exhibit # 20 attached).
Missions during the early part of the month were scarce due to a run of unfavorable weather. It was April 10th before our crews resumed their action against enemy installations in Europe. On that date 18 sorties were flown in two missions. In addition Capt Jackson, Lt Shea, Lt Atkinson, S/Sgts Evans, Bonamo, Lee and Sgts Swafford, Glyynn, PF, and Falk were dispatched on a special "window" mission in support of B-26 groups, which was highly successful. The first regular mission of that day, in which we had ten crews of the 670th participating, was an attack on the Bois des Huit Rues Noball site. Severe flak resistance was experienced over the target, and S/Sgt Griffin became the first enlisted man to suffer flak wounds. The wounds were minor and S/Sgt Griffin received the Purple Heart. The second regular mission of the day was an attack on the Linghem Noball site, in which nine of our crews took part. So, after a very busy day we found our ground crews working far into the night to repair the battle damage experienced.
Major Meng lead the mission of April 11th, which was an attack on two Noball targets - Bonnieres and Beauvoir. Nine of our crews participated in the attack and the results were rated as "Good". On this mission a shell burst 15-20 feet below the front of Lt McGlohn's airplane while near the target. The left tachometer, the left manifold pressure gauge and the airspeed indicator were shot out. Lt McGlohn was injured in the left knee by pieces of flak, and pieces of his instrument panel. There were about 30 holes in his aircraft. Lt McGlohn stayed in formation until a descent through the overcast was started over England. Due to the lack of instruments and the fact that he could not keep a good formation because of his injury, he left the formation and circled until he found a hole in the clouds. He descended safely. Due to the fact that his radio was out he could not contact his gunners to tell them of his plight. However he had their confidence and they remained with him. Lt McGlohn safely landed at Nuthemstead, England. He learned on landing that his right tire was blown. This necessitated using the left brake with his wounded left knee. However, he was able to keep the aircraft straight on the runway until the last moment when he swerved off the runway to the right. By skillful landing under extreme difficulty Lt McGlohn prevented a crash of his aircraft and also possible injury to his gunners. He was hospitalized for his injuries (See Exhibit # 13 attached), and the wounds sustained earned him the Purple Heart.
On April 12th, nine crews took part in an attack on the Vacqueriette Noball site, and on the 13th, twelve crews participated when the Yvrench Bois Carre and the Petite Bois Tillencourt Noball sites were attacked. Following these missions there was a period with no combat activity due to bad weather conditions.
A group mobility exercise was held on the 17th of April in practice for possible future moves. The Field Order (See exhibit # 14 attached) was received late during the evening of 16 April and there followed a period of great activity preparing for the move the following morning. All equipment was packed and loaded on trucks. Personnel were equipped and armed, and everything was ready to move by 0900 on the 17th. The advance echelon, commanded by Captain Sheridan departed at 1000. The rear echelon, commanded by Lt Geffinger, departed at 1100. Both echelons followed a prepared route, and were ready to act against any enemy attacks. The advanced echelon returned from the trip at 1430, and the rear at 1540. Much was learned from this practice move which would be of help in any future move that might come about. A few minor delays along the route were encountered, possibly caused by insufficient briefing before the trip and also possibly by inexperience.
The lull in flying activity proved to be a needed rest, for in the next six days a total of seventy-one sorties were flown by this squadron. The Charleroi-St Martin Marshalling Yards were attacked on April 18th, with Major Meng leading the mission, and eight of our crews taking part.
The Bois Des Huit Rues Noball site was again attacked on 19 April with good results. Seven crews from this squadron participated.
Major Meng led a mission on the 20th to the Gorenflos noball target with nine of our crews taking part. However, because of poor weather and cloud cover over the target no bombs were dropped. Eight 670th crews took part in the second mission of the 20th of April which was an attack on the Yvrench Bois Carre noball target.
The Stars and Stripes, the armed forces newspaper in the European Theatre of Operations, revealed the presence of our type of unit in this theatre on April 20th (See exhibit # 15 attached. ) In a description of the work of this group, space was given to the bailing out episode of Lt Ostrander, S/Sgt Binney and S/Sgt Wilson of this squadron. This was our first bit of publicity and it resulted in a rush for the limited copies of the paper.
The publicity given Lt Ostrander's crew seemed to do no good in the way of luck. The next day this crew was one of the ten crews which took part from this squadron in an attack on the Yvrench Bois Carre noball target. The target was knocked out of commission by excellent bombing. Considerable flak was experienced and Lt Ostrander brought his ship back pretty well shot up. When they landed, Lt Ostrander, and S/Sgts Wilson and Binney said - "no more publicity."
The next two days were busy ones. Two missions were flown on the 22nd, both noball targets, in which we had a total of 18 crews participating. On the 23rd, ten crews took part in the attack on the Bonnieres noball site. S/Sgt Donahue sustained flak wounds and received the Purple Heart as a result of this mission.
Two missions on the 25th of April, one on the 26th, and two on the 27th brought about the attacks on one noball target, a coastal battery at St Pierre du Mont, the Louvain Marshalling yards, the Monceau Sur Sambre marshalling yards and the Arras marshalling yards. Forty-five sorties were accomplished on these missions, concluding a busy but gratifying three days for the squadron.
Chemical warfare exercises on a large scale were held on the 27th of April, in which the squadron participated (See exhibit # 18 attached). The entire organization took part and were prepared for the mustard gas attack which followed. The chemical defense plan of the squadron was put into effect and the squadron area defended accordingly. Chemical warfare training had been carried out during the entire month. Weekly lectures by the Chemical Warfare section had been given to the squadron personnel in addition to literature (See exhibit # 17 attached) and practical maneuvers. Also a station defense school was set up early in April for all personnel, which included a week's course given to every man (See exhibit # 16 attached).
Also in the way of training, ground officers were given a series of three lectures and map reading tours. Each tour was a trip taken by two squadron officers. These trips were, we believe, very worthwhile.
Two missions were flown again on the 30th of April to conclude the squadron's combat month. The first of these missions, which was an attack on the Bonnieres noball site, had seven of our crews taking part. The second, an attack on the Busigny marshalling yards, brought excellent results and was perhaps the best bombing mission the group had to date. This mission was led by Major Meng, with Lt Powell as Bombardier. Twelve of our crews took part in the attack.
The month had brought a record of which the organization could be justly proud. One hundred and eighty-two sorties had been flown with no planes lost and all combat crew personnel still on duty. Results of the missions revealed that our part in the softening-up process had been successful. This was gratifying in view of the invasion which we felt was coming soon.
Even with combat activities such as we had experienced during the month of April, our ground personnel were able to keep a maximum number of aircraft in commission at all times. The tireless efforts and many long hours of night work by the ground crews deserves recognition in this history. The willingness with which they tackle the many difficult tasks before them and the expert quality of their efforts cannot be too highly praised.
Forty-one officers and two hundred and sixty-eight enlisted men made up the squadron strength on 30 April 1944.
With two months of operational experience behind us, the squadron looked into the month of May feeling equal to whatever was asked of it. On May 1st and 2nd twenty six crews took part in two attacks on the Blanc Misseron marshalling yards. On the first of these attacks Sgt Maziasz was wounded by flak and received the Purple Heart award.
Lt Forma was transferred to the 668th Squadron on May 3rd and 2d Lt Alfred Maltby joined us from the 668th Squadron in an exchange of bombardiers. Five new gunners joined us on the same day to help relieve the strain of steady combat missions on our crews.
After five days of inactivity due to unfavorable weather our combat activities were resumed. On 7 May the Blanc Misseron marshalling yards and the Behen Noball sites were attacked. However, because of bad weather over the target, no bombs were dropped. Twenty one crews took part in these two missions.
The first mission of May 8th was an attack on the Aerschot marshalling yards, in which eleven of our crews took part. The second mission of the day was a very successful attack on the Ailly LeHaut-Clocher Noball site. Nine of our crews took part in the bombing of this target, which was rated as an excellent job.
On May 8th, Lt McNulty received his Captain's rating, and 2d Lt's Heafey, Powell and Conte were advanced to 1st Lt's.
The Aerschot marshalling yards and the Bois D'Enfer Noball site were attacked on May 9, with a total of twenty crews flying.
May 11th brought another attack on the Aerschot marshalling yards and an attack on the Monchy Breton airdrome. On these two missions, eighteen 670th crews were used. Lt Gruetzemacher suffered minor flak wounds while over the Monchy Breton target, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
The following day, May 12, two more of our personnel were awarded the Purple Heart for flak wounds. S/Sgt Moran and S/Sgt Driskill were hit during an attack on the Beauvoir Noball target. Bombing of this target was rated excellent. The next day the Beauvvais-Tille airdrome was hit, with twelve crews taking part. 2d Lt's Brown, Hillerman and Monroe received promotions to 1st Lt.
With the moving of the 669th Squadron to their new site, our squadron at last enjoyed an area of its own. The very crowded condition of our living area was relieved with a rearrangement of personnel into the new hutments allotted to us. The Orderly Room was moved to a larger building and a unit dispensary set up in the picket post. We were now able to set up a day room for the enlisted personnel of the squadron in one of the small hutments.
On Mother's Day, May 14th, the squadron was given a day off to rest and write the folks back home. Twenty six enlisted men were promoted (See exhibit # 21 attached).
Major Meng led the longest mission flown to date when on May 15th the Criel airdrome, just outside of Paris, was attacked. Six of our crews took part in this attack, which was rated as excellent.
Orders were received on the 15th alerting the squadron for movement overseas. This started the usual activity connected with a contemplated move, such as showdown inspections, checking of records, etc.
Also on the 15th, Lt Kehres was promoted to Captain, and 2d Lt McGlohn to 1st Lt. 2d Lt Rozell B. Hall, twin-engine pilot, joined the squadron.
Sadness descended upon the organization on May 19th, when, after 369 sorties without loss, the squadron was deprived of two of its best known and best liked members. S/Sgt Royden E. Conopask, of Bristol, Connecticut; and S/Sgt Thomas I. Walsh, of Chicago, Illinois, two veteran gunners, were killed in action returning from a raid on the Bennerville coastal defense batteries. The ship, piloted by Lt Crispino, went into a spin at 5,000 feet over Biggenhill, England. Lt Crispino was able to bail out and parachute to safety. He was injured in the descent and hospitalized. However, S/Sgts Conopask and Walsh were unable to get out of the aircraft, and met death with its crash. The loss of these two men was keenly felt by the organization. They had been among the first gunners assigned to the squadron after its activation.
The necessities of war gave scant pause for death, and the next day, 20 May, seven crews took part in the first mission which was another attack on the Beauvais-Tille airdrome. The late mission of the day was an attack on the Cormeilles-en-Vixen airdrome. Excellent results were achieved on the mission on which twelve of our crews participated. Sgt Burns received the Purple Heart for his wounds sustained over the Tille airdrome.
Again on the 22nd the Cormeilles-en-Vixen airdrome was the target. Major Meng led the mission with eight of our crews participating. 46,000 pounds of bombs were dropped on this airdrome and excellent results were achieved.
Capt Moore and Lt Geffinger took a representation of the squadron to the American Military Cemetery in Cambridge to attend the burial of S/Sgts Conopask and Walsh. In a simple but impressive military ceremony, tribute was paid to the members of our squadron who had died in combat.
From May 23rd to May 30th, the squadron flew a total of ninety-eight sorties on missions to attack the Beaumont-LeRoger airdrome; the Abbeville-Drucat airdrome; the Monchy-Breton airdrome; the Beauvais-Tille airdrome; the Amiens marshalling yards; the Bruges-St Michiel Naval Radar Direction Finder Station in Belgium; the Vacqueriette Noball site; the Behen Noball site; the Achiet airdrome and the Denain-Prouby airdrome.
Lt Crispino was awarded the Purple Heart for the injuries sustained on the 19th, and Sgt Zaklikiewicz for wounds sustained on May 26th.
The Stars and Strips carried an article on May 24th, which concerned the group. In the story about veteran gunners of other campaigns of this war, S/Sgt Riley and S/Sgt Kidd of our unit, received credit due them for previous operational experience. (See Exhibit # 19 attached.)
Lt Maltby received his promotion to 1st Lt on May 22nd.
On the 30th, a new bombardier, 1st Lt Robert Joost, joined the organization. He came to us from a B-26 squadron and had already been on 26 combat missions. This brought our total of bombardiers up to T/O strength for the first time.
During the month 25 officers and 32 enlisted men received the Air Medal in recognition of participation in aerial flights in the ETO. S/Sgt Kidd received his second Oak Leaf Cluster. (See Exhibit # 22 attached).
The end of the month found a total of 242 sorties being flown by this squadron, raising our total since beginning operations in March to 475. A Stars and Stripes resume on June 1st, showed that A-20 Havocs had hit 13 bridges, 12 airfields, 15 other military objectives and the port area of Dieppe twice during the month of May. The strength of the unit at the end of the month consisted of 272 enlisted men and 44 officers.
On 2 June we had 10 sorties flown against the Gorenflos no-ball target. On this mission Lt McBride performed another run which exemplified the spirit of our pilots. Just before the bomb run, the manifold pressure dropped off on the left engine. Running on one engine, the plane dropped behind in formation, but Lt McBride continued to follow the group in to the target. He saw the formation drop its bombs, finally caught up to where he thought they had dropped, counted five, dropped his, and hit exactly on the target, as pictures later proved. Lt McBride later stated "I knew I was going to have to drop them somewhere, and there was no better place than where they were supposed to be dropped." He turned off the target, still far behind the formation. There was flak thrown up at the rest of the planes, but none at his in his lone position. Fighters dropped back, hovered over him and escorted him back to the English coast. Lt McBride then proceeded to make his way back to his home field.
On June 3rd, six sorties were flown against the Chartres airdrome with fair results.
Restriction of all personnel to the base was put into effect on June 4th. Gunners, bombardiers and pilots on leave were called back. Men began trooping to the rifle ranges to sharpen their shooting eyes. For, though nothing was definite, everyone had a good idea as to what was coming. On this day Major Meng led a formation, in which we had twelve crews, to attack a gun position at St Pierre du Mont.
During a stand down on 5 June, all our airplanes were painted the battle color of the day - the black and white "zebra" stripes which they were to wear into the affair we knew was coming soon.
D-Day arrived on June 6th. After listening a good part of the previous night to the roar of fleets of airplanes going over, we awoke to the full realization that the long awaited day had arrived. Lt Geffinger and Lt Gruetzemacher had served as alert officers in Group Operations during the night, which was truly something to be remembered in the way of administrative activity. The tempo of work on D-day was speeded up. There was added zest as the men went to their work in high spirits.
The first mission on D-Day was a fifty-six ship attack on a highway intersection at Argantan. The second mission was another fifty-six ship attack. This time the target was the Serqueux marshalling yards. It was a late evening attack and probably the roughest mission yet flown. Major Meng led the group, which included eleven crews from the 670th squadron. Because of unfavorable weather and the lateness of the mission it was necessary for Major Meng to lead the attack in at low level. Approaching the target, the left engine of Major Meng's aircraft was hit and started to burn. However, with a flaming engine which could blow up at any moment, he stayed on course and led the formation into the bomb run. A hail of intense cross-fire of light and heavy flak greeted the planes as they made the bomb run at 3,000 feet. Three airplanes were shot down. The bombs dropped on the target area, starting wide-spread fires and explosions of nazi equipment destined for the coasts of France to be used in opposing the allied forces. Major Meng then turned off the target and started his formation homeward before he dropped out of formation and extinguished the blazing engine. On one engine he returned to the base and landed. The formation returned to its home base with almost 100% battle damage. Lts Atkinson, Harrold and Ostrander displayed skill in bringing their ships in for landings with flat tires and shot-out hydraulic systems, which caused all three planes to swerve off the runway on to the soft ground. The work of our gunners and bombardiers on this mission was outstanding. It is believed that S/Sgt Stobert of Major Meng's crew knocked out a German machine gun emplacement which was shooting at them. The other gunner of the crew, S/Sgt Glynn, recorded excellent scenes of D-Day activities with the planes camera. Major Meng and Sgt Swafford were awarded the Purple Heart for flak wounds sustained on this mission.
On two different missions on June 7th, the 670th had 18 crews. Seven crews were part of a mission that had a double target, in the morning, attacking a highway bridge at Pont de La Roque; and a road junction at Billeroy. In the late afternoon 11 crews took part in a mission against a highway junction at Tilly Sur Seulles, where at that time, a large battle was raging. Poor weather prevented our planes from giving much aid to the tide of battle.
Rainy weather again interfered with the mission on June 8th, in which we had 11 crews. The spell of bad weather continued for the next two days, allowing no missions to take off.
On June 9th, the organization received word of a threatened enemy paratroop landing to destroy allied planes. Every man was issued 30 rounds of ammunition, alerted to wear steel helmet, gas mask, and gun constantly. This lasted for two days, after which the alert passed.
On June 10th, Colonel Mace called a meeting of all squadrons, and presented the Commanding Officer of the 97th Combat Wing, who told about the excellent rating of our group, and asked that we continue the good work. On the same day, the men of the organization were treated to a film devoted entirely to the work of the 416th Bomb Group. Films taken by a combat camera unit on different missions were tacked together and presented as a reel. The main purpose of the films was to send the distribution back to the states, forming the most interesting parts into news-reel items. Members of this squadron received a thrill in seeing Major Meng, Lt McGlohn, S/Sgt Gomez, and Cpl Zywicki at their jobs, preparing to take off on a mission. Excited gunners picked out certain bombings in which they had participated, and all over the theatre one could hear their various comments.
We resumed our combat operations on June 11th. Although only six of our crews were used on the mission of this day, it proved a news-making one. Lt Atkinson's plane developed engine trouble over the channel. Before the channel was crossed the right engine was smoking, causing Lt Atkinson to pull further out of formation and drop behind. However, he followed the formation in to the target. A heavy overcast caused the leader to make one pass over the target and then take his group back to the coast without dropping the bombs. Lt Atkinson kept losing altitude on the way back, and finally dropping to 5,000 feet he decided to come home alone. The crew dropped their bombs, flak suits and ammunition in the channel to lighten the load, and Lt Atkinson was prepared to give the bail out signal. He had contacted the Air-Sea rescue, and about that time American P-38's and English Spitfires picked him up and escorted him to their base in Shoreham, England, where they landed safely. The engine trouble was caused by a loss of all the oil through a leak.
Ten sorties were flown on the 12th during an attack on the Opernon railway embankment; and Major Meng led a formation to attack the St Sauveur Le Vicomte railway junction on the 13th, in which we had ten crews participating. Both missions were uneventful.
Also on the 13th fifteen enlisted men of this organization received promotions in grade per Special Order 89, 416th Bomb Group headquarters ( See attched exhibit # 23 ).
Nazi communications were again weakened on the 14th when the group bombed the Aunay-sur-Odon railway junction in the morning, and the St Hilaire du Harcouet railway highway bridges in the afternoon, with a total of twenty-five of our crews taking part in the two attacks.
The Domfront ammunition dump was attacked on June 15th, with excellent results. This mission was led by Major Meng - his fourth leading position in ten days. Also on June 15th Lt McGlohn was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. (See exhibit #24 attached)
Thirty six aircraft were dispatched to attack the Foret De Conches fuel and ammunition dump on the 18th in which we had six crews flying. However, no attack was made because of adverse weather conditions.
2nd Lts Grunig and Singletary joined the organization as pilots on June 18th.
June 20th brought the POM inspection team to check on our readiness for movement across the channel where we could be of greater value in ground support. Nothing escaped the eyes of the inspection team and they were well pleased with what they saw. Upon the completion of their two day visit they gave us an excellent rating.
The Ligescourt and the Le Grande Rossignol noball sites were attacked on the 20th in two missions. We had a total of 18 crews flying on these two missions. Flight Officer Byrne joined the organization as a pilot on this date.
Major Meng led the June 21st attack on the Middel Straete noball site in which we had ten crews participating. The results of this mission were unobserved. It was a pathfinder led attack and bombing was accomplished through the clouds.
June 22nd provided another exciting day in the history of this organization. On a mission in which we had seven crews, to knock out pill box installations on the hills surrounding Cherbourg, Lt Shea and his crew of S/Sgts Lee and Falk, ran into the most unusual experience to date. After releasing their bombs and turning off the target, Lt Shea's plane picked up a direct hit on the left engine. After feathering the propeller, Lt Shea tried to trim up the ship, but found the trim tabs control had been shot away. The airplane vibrated tremendously and began losing speed and altitude. Lt Shea picked out a landing strip, made a 360-degree turn, and made a good landing. On the first third of the runway he tried to apply the brakes, but found that the hydraulic lines had been shot away. He then tried the emergency air bottle, but that too had been destroyed. They came to the end of the runway, jumped a sunken roadway, sheared off the nose wheel, hit some anti-glider obstacles near the end of the field, sheared off the right main landing gear and under carriage of the ship, and came to a halt 75 yards away from a ditch at the end of the field. Both gunners had been lying on the floor bracing themselves. When the plane stopped they had to pry off the top hatch to get Lt Shea out. The Ninth Air Force Service Group removed all secret equipment not damaged in the crash. The landing strip had just been completed 3 hours before they landed there and they were the second ship to crash-land there. It was an advanced allied strip, approximately 6 miles north of St Mare D'Eglise. Near the airstrip was a chateau that had been a German headquarters, surrounded by 88mm gun emplacements. Bombardment had wiped it out completely. After a medical examination the men were taken on a tour of the area. They saw much abandoned nazi equipment and many dead German soldiers. After being assured that the area had been cleared of booby traps, the three men picked up shattered German helmets and German officer's collar insignia as souvenirs of their visit. After a four-hour stay at the base the three men were put on two different C-47's loaded with allied wounded soldiers being returned to England. After landing and having their identity verified, the three were returned to their own base, arriving about 2100.
During the period from June 12th, the robot plane menace was prominent. Several of these craft passed over our airfield, but fortunately none fell. One landed about three miles from Braintree, and another landed behind the railroad station in Braintree.
On June 24th, in another transfer of personnel, the squadron lost two valuable crew members. Capt McNulty, pilot, and Lt Bursiel, bombardier, were transferred to the 668th Bomb Sq. Sixteen sorties were flown during this day; nine in the morning attack on the Middel Straete noball site, and seven on the afternoon attack on the Bagnolles De L'Orne fuel dumps.
Thirteen sorties were compiled by the crews of our squadron on June 25th when we attacked the Foret D'Andoine Fuel dump. Lt Lawrence Johanns joined the organization to serve as Cryptographic Security Officer. During the evening, the organization was kept awake by four alerts caused by the rocket bombs. Concussion was felt during one of the alerts.
Rainy weather grounded the planes again on the 26th, 27th and 28th. On the 28th the squadron gained two more pilots, 2nd Lts Barausky and Sparling, giving us a total of 26 pilots.
Flying was resumed on June 29th when 12 of our crews participated in a late evening attack on the railroad between St Hilaire and Vitre.
A pathfinder mission was again flown on the 30th, with 7 crews of the 670th taking part in an attack on the Thury Harcourt road centers.
The last day of the month brought promotions to three officers, Lts Nordstrom, Ostrander and McBride receiving notice of their advance to 1st Lt.
The month which finally saw us embarked on the long awaited invasion found the squadron with a new high in personnel since arrival in the ETO - 47 officers and 284 enlisted men.
Two hundred and thirty six sorties had been flown by the squadron during the month, without loss of personnel, although three close calls resulted in the loss of two ships. This was our highest total of missions in one month, bringing our total since beginning combat operations to 711, with the loss of but two men.
Giving due recognition to the element of luck involved, we felt that this was an excellent record in view of the many heavily fortified positions attacked. More than anything else, it is a tribute to the skill of our combat crews.
Orders were received by Major Meng on the first day of the month awarding him the Distinguished Flying Cross for his outstanding work in the D-Day mission against the Serquex marshalling yards. (See exhibit # 25 attached).
A transfer of personnel initiated the activities of the new month, with the squadron losing the services of one of its old time members, when Lt Luria was transferred to the 669th Bomb Sq. In exchange the squadron received 1st Lt Lilburn S. Rogers to take over the duties of Asst Intelligence Officer. The first of the month also brought the promotion of Lt Geffinger to the rank of Captain.
Personnel of the organization joined together in an evening of pleasure instead of work on July 3rd, when a squadron party was held, Congregating in the Base "beer parlor" the squadron forgot for a moment the doings of war and indulged in companionship, drinking, singing, and dancing.
1st Lt Rudisill was promoted to the rank of Captain effective July 3rd.
Flying got under way for the first time this month on July 4th, when La Morintiere defended locality was attacked, a mission of which the 670th had twelve crews participating.
A busy day was in store on July 5th, with the day being occupied with showdown inspections, innoculations and missions. The morning was taken up with a complete check on the clothing of enlisted men and officers, and a catching up on required shots, in preparation for the trip we hoped to take in the near future. The afternoon saw a mission depart to attack the Merlemont noball headquarters, which resulted in the second heaviest battle damage to our squadrons planes to date. Thirteen of our crews took part in a rough mission, with two crews directly feeling the brunt of the enemy anti aircraft fire. Lts Leonard and Maltby sustained wounds for which they received the Purple Heart.
The left engine of Capt Jackson's ship was hit by flak as the plane turned off the target, and it was put out of commission. The damage was such that feathering the left propeller was impossible, and the engine finally "froze" due to loss of oil. With the propeller frozen in a flat position, Capt Jackson experienced difficulty controlling the aircraft and lost approximately 30 miles per hour speed. Approaching Lydd, Kent, England the ship was down to an altitude of 1,000 feet. Capt Jackson gave the crew the warning that they could bail out, as he was going to crash land the ship. Only one member decided not to ride out the ship, PFC Byron K. Allen, a member of the 4th Combat Camera Unit riding with the crew to take pictures of the mission, left the ship, but his parachute failed to open sufficiently at such a low altitude, and he was instantly killed upon striking the ground. The aircraft was losing altitude at an extremely fast rate and it became necessary to put it down on the first available resemblance of an airfield. With exceptional skill Capt Jackson crashlanded on an abandoned RAF field without further injury to his crew. The ship came to a stop and the crew got out, only to be greeted by a hail of 50 calibre bullets from a Spitfire overhead shooting at a passing buzz bomb.
Thirteen of our crews were back in the air the next day, July 6th, on two separate missions. The morning mission was an attack on the Opernon Railway embankment, while in the afternoon the planes went after the La Laoupe Railway line with excellent results.
Major Meng, Capts Hulse, Jackson and Rudisill, and Lts Conte, Harrold and Ostrander were the first pilots of our organization to receive the Silver Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal for completing 30 missions, per GO 115, IX Bomber Command, dated the 29th of June 1944, which were received on July 6th.
Lt Leonard received notification of his promotion to 1st Lt on July 7th. On this date the squadron had 11 crews on a mission dispatched to attack St Pierre Sur Dives.
Two missions were again flown on July 8th, seven of our combat crews participating in a morning mission against the German held city of Caen; and in the afternoon fourteen crews were part of the group attacking the Rennes fuel railhead. Both attacks were rated excellent.
After a busy five days of missions activity was at a standstill until July 11th when six of our crews were part of an attack against the Bourth railway bridge on a "pathfinder" mission. Also on this date thirty-three enlisted men received the Good Conduct Medal per General Order No 8, Hq 416th Bomb Group, dated 11 July 1944. ( See exhibit # 26 attached)
July 12th saw twelve sorties flown by this squadron on a mission to destroy the Foret D'Andaine fuel dump.
Thirty aircraft were dispatched on July 14th against the Bourth Railway embankment, in which the 670th had five crews.
Eleven crews took part in a group mission against the St Hilaire Du H road bridge on July 16th.
The July 18th mission proved to be another important one, in not only the history of this organization, but also in the history of the war. Missions of the group on this date preceded the attack by the British Second Army on their break-through from Caen. The missions were part of a massive air assault that dumped 8,000 tons of bombs on the enemy. We were a part of 2,000 allied warplanes that heaped tons of explosives on German bastions around Caen as a prelude to that memorable ground offensive. Eighteen of our crews participated in the two missions of that day. The Stars and Stripes of July 19th commented; "Spearheading the great onslaught on the continent, was a dawn attack by Havocs and Marauders against German armor massed ahead of the British east flank in Normandy." Of the later mission, another column carried the description "continuing the spectacular support of ground troops, Ninth Air Force Havocs bomber rail bridges at St Hilaire du Harcourt on a line leading to the Normandy battle area."
Evidence of the bitterness of this air attack was very prominent among our own combat crews. Of the six crews participating in the afternoon mission, six members returned with wounds. Lts Rooney, Sommers and Conte; and S/Sgts McCleary, DiNapoli and Stephens received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained on this mission.
Lt Rooney was piloting his plane on a "window mission" on this attack, and was about ten minutes over France when a burst of flak made the right engine useless. A second burst damaged the interphone and the hydraulic lines. A third burst riddled the aircraft and with the interphone out of commission, lip reading was resorted to by the two gunners, S/Sgts McCleary and DiNapoli, which led to the knowledge that Sgt McCleary was badly injured. Sgt DiNapoli ripped McCleary's suit with a knife and applied a tourniquet and gave the injured gunner a needle of morphine to ease the pain. Lt Rooney was wounded in the back, and had severe pains in the abdomen, and fearing his gunners would not be able to get out due to possible wounds since the ship was so riddled, he turned his plane back, salvoed his bombs over a wooded area in France, and made for an emergency landing field in England. Coming into Ford, Sussex, landing field, a taking off Spitfire was heading right for them, and, raising his wheels just in time, the Polish pilot of the fighter just cleared the incoming ship of Lt Rooney. There was no hydraulic pressure left, and only one wheel dangled, but with no support, so Lt Rooney made a belly landing. The ship was a total wreck. Due to the severity of his wounds Lt Rooney was unable to get out of the plane and had to be extracted by the ground crews of the field. Both he and Sgt McCleary were rushed to the hospital there. A very bad compound fracture of the arm resulted in the transfer of Sgt McCleary to a hospital unit for removal back to the United States for recuperation.
Another crew, part of this days missions, encountered difficulties as a result of the heavy flak met. As the plane of Lt Hall approached the coast of France it was met by heavy anti aircraft fire. Gunner S/Sgt Burger's parachute and boots were cut; the pilot line and static line of the plane were tore apart. When the bombing run on Glos Sur Risle, the secondary target, was completed, Lt Hall perceived that his air speed indicator and altimeter were useless and called to his gunner to see if anyone was wounded, and asked that they check the control lines. Discovering two tubes torn by flak, S/Sgt Blackford, other gunner of the crew, gave the scissors from his kit to S/Sgt Burger who cut off the jagged edges of the tubes and bored open their flattened parts. Sgt Burger replaced the broken parts of the metal lines with rubber tubing from his Mae West. The jagged metal tore the tubing, so, with tape from Sgt Blackford's earphones, he sealed the tubes, and the air speed indicator and altimeter were restored to normal use. In spite of poor visibility the plane made its way back. The task was performed in such a manner that T/Sgt Spillett, crew chief, remarked that the instruments were repaired sufficiently to have worked for a long time.
Tragedy struck again on July 19th when 12 of our crews participated in an attack on the Bruz fuel dumps. Just after the bomb load was dropped, F/O Byrne's ship was severely hit by flak. His gunner, Sgt Cummings, noticed that his crew mate, Sgt Cochran, was motionless in the tunnel of the plane and tried to contact the pilot and inform him, but did not succeed. Clambering down form the turret, he tried to assist Sgt Cochran by cutting off the flak suit and clothes, but the gunner was beyond all assistance. Pilot Byrne finally got through on the interphone and learned the situation. He left the formation to land at a fighter strip in Normandy. The next morning Sgt Cochran was buried at Blosville, France, and after four days spent in a French chateau while the ship was being repaired, F/O Byrne and Sgt Cummings returned to their home base. During their stay in France the two men were taken near the front lines and witnessed German prisoners and a large amount of destroyed Nazi equipment.
After these two rough missions, flying was curtailed by bad weather until July 22nd, when on that day and the day following 15 sorties were flown by this squadron on missions to the Bourth bridge and the Evreux railway bridge.
As a result of a technical inspection by the Technical Inspectors and staff of the IX Bomber Command, the group as a whole, and the 670th Squadron received a rating of SUPERIOR. A letter of commendation was received by the squadron on July 24th for this achievement. (See Exhibit # 27 attached)
Major Meng led a formation of 36 aircraft, in which we had 9 crews, on July 25th to attack the St Gilles area. On this date Lt Hall was promoted to 1st Lt.
On July 26th the squadron had 6 crews in the group mission against the Marigny area.
The squadron received two additional bombardiers and a pilot on July 28th when 2nd Lts Kirk, Koch and McManus joined the organization. This date marked the 6 month anniversary of our arrival in the European Theatre, and entitled the members of the organization to add to their decorations their first six months overseas stripe. The squadron also received notice that they were eligible to now wear a Battle Star on the ETO campaign ribbon, for participation in the allied air offensive in Europe. (See exhibit # 28 attached). Six sorties were flown on this day against the La Goueshiere fuel dumps.
The flying for the month of July came to a close on the 30th and 31st with a total of 25 sorties for this squadron in three separate missions, against the Caumont strong point in the Nazi defenses and the Liseux marshalling yards on the 30th, and the Mantes Gassicourt bridge on the 31st.
All during the month formations were held by the Group Commander to award Air Medals to crew members. Every one of our original pilots and gunners earned one, and as the month ended, Major Meng, Capts Jackson, Rudisill, Hulse, and Lts Atkinson, Brown, Greene, Harrold, Hillerman, Johnson, Leonard, McBride, McGlohn, Monroe, Nordstrom, Ostrander, Rooney, Shea, Powell, Conte, Joost and Maltby had earned the Silver Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal, and most of these crew members had additional clusters. (See attached exhibit # 29 & 30)
The group had reached the 100 mission mark on July 18th. In our squadron Capt Rudisill led the officers at the end of the month with 43 missions, and S/Sgt Bonamo, a member of his crew, led the gunners with 54 missions.
Other decorations presented during the month included the awards made by General Brereton, on July 18th, to Major Meng, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and to Lt McGlohn, who received the Silver Star. T/Sgts Everts, Ellis, Parker and Gomez, and Sgt Silva received the Bronze Star Medals for services in connection with military operations.
A constant influx of combat personnel raised the total in the squadron to 50 officers and 293 enlisted men. With this total the squadron had a new high of combat personnel, with 27 pilots, 6 bombardiers, and 55 gunners.
A total of 189 sorties flown during the month raised this squadron's total combat sorties in this theatre to 900.
The Candebec ammunition dump was the target of the first mission of the month of August, on the second day of the month. Major Meng led the group formation in which we had twelve crews.
August 3rd saw the departure of the Commanding Officer of our Group, when Colonel Harold L. Mace left to assume command of the 98th Combat Wing. Lt Colonel Theodore R. Aylesworth took over command of the Group.
A traveling group of interviewers visited the base on August 4th from IX Bomber Command to determine the views of enlisted men and officers as to post war attitudes and desires. Personnel from the various sections were interviewed and completed a War Department questionnaire on the subject.
Many men on the base this day witnessed the exploding of a B-17 in mid-air. Nine parachutes were observed leaving the ship, which crashed three miles from Wethersfield.
Seven 670th crews participated in a mission on this date, successfully attacking the Beauvais marshalling yards.
The squadron suffered a loss of personnel, through transfers, on August 5th, when Captains Hulse, Moore, Lts Conte and Greene were distributed among the other squadrons of the group. With the shuffle of personnel the 670th gained the services of Capt Hiram F. Conant, Operations Officer; F/O Jay R. Warren and Lt Warren Musgrove, pilots. On this date F/O Byrne received notice of his commission as a 2nd Lt.
Two missions were flown on the 5th. The first, in which we had nine crews participating, was an attack on the Compiagne-Marigny marshalling yards. Excellent results were achieved, bomb bursts completely severing the lines, and making through traffic impossible. Excellent results were also achieved on the second mission of the day against the Laigle Railroad Bridge. The squadron had six crews on this mission.
Heaviest enemy resistance since D-Day was met on August 6th, when the group made two attacks on the Oissel Bridge across the Seine River. No attack was made on the target the first time because of cloud cover. The second attack was highly successful and the target destroyed. Two ships and their crews from this squadron were lost. Lt Douglas T. Sommers, pilot, and his gunners, Sgts John L. Johnson, and Stanley R. Zakliekewicz were killed, when, after the plane had been severely hit by flak, the pilot tried unsuccessfully to crash land on emergency strip A-13 in France. Lt Thomas W. McManus and his crew, Sgts John H. LaPointe and Gerald E. Hart, were listed as missing in action. Coming off the target after completing the bomb run, the ship was hit by flak and the left engine burst into flames. Lt McManus' ship went into a spin and was last seen to crash and explode west of Louviers. One parachute was observed leaving the plane before the crash. The record of having no pilots lost in five months of combat was broken.
Flak damage from this mission was extremely heavy. Lt McGlohn and Capt Jackson again demonstrated their skill by bringing back badly battered craft. S/Sgt Evans and Sgt Burns received wounds for which they were awarded the Purple Heart.
The 416th Bomb Group was sent to attack the target at Oissel upon the request of the Commanding Officer of IX Bomber Command since three other attacks by other groups had failed to destroy the bridge. One third of all retreating transportation used this bridge and it was an extremely important target. After the completion of the mission and the results determined, the group received a TWX of commendation from General Anderson, Commanding General of the IX Bomber Command, and General Backus, Commanding General of the 97th Wing. (See Exhibit # 31 attached). The 670th had eleven crews on each of these missions.
On August 8th two missions were again flown. In the morning an attack on the Freven rail road junction suceeded in cutting all through lanes to a nearby marshalling yards. We had six crews participating. Radar installations in the Bois du Pierre Chateau were the target of the afternoon mission on which the squadron had ten crews. On this latter mission, Lt Leonard reported seeing one of the new enemy jet propelled planes knock a P-38 out of the sky. The squadron was augmented on this date by the addition of two bombardiers, Lts Dale G. Ackerson and William E. Brewer.
The Bois de Pierre Chateau Radar installations were again attacked on two separate missions on August 9th. A total of fifteen crews from this squadron took part in the day's attacks. Lt Harry Popeney and F/O Elizabeth O. Turner joined the organization this date bringing the squadron total to 31 pilots. The Stars and Stripes of this date carried an article about the experiences on a mission of one of our crews, Lt Brown and S/Sgts White and Addleman.
On August 10th Major Meng left the squadron to become Deputy Group Commander. His departure was keenly felt by all, but we were pleased to see him given due recognition that the advancement carried with it. Major Lloyd F. Dunn came from the 671st Squadron to take command.
Two missions were flown on this date against ammunition dumps at the Foret de Roumare and La Londe de Louge, but no bombs were dropped due to a heavy overcast. Fifteen of our crews were on these two missions.
The Foret du Roumare ammunition dumps were attacked again the next day with excellent results, five of our crews being in the attacking group. A second mission of the day, in which we had eleven crews, attacked gun positions at St Malo with excellent results.
The August 11th issue of the Stars and Stripes revealed that all rail and highway bridges over the Seine River, west of Paris, and over the lower Loire River from Orleans to Nantes were impassable to German traffic as a result of more that 230 attacks by Maurauders and Havocs since May 8th.
A thirty-six-ship formation made up the group's 125th mission on August 12th, in an attack against the Le Ferte Mace-Ecouche highway junction, which was a road chokepoint in the Argentan battle area. Excellent results were obtained; many vehicles on the highway were hit, causing violent explosions. Six 670th crews were a part of this mission. Returning from the attack, the plane piloted by Lt Sparling ran out of gas approaching the home base, and in attempting a crash landing, the tail of the fuselage was broken in two, throwing the two gunners, S/Sgt Brayn and Sgt Shaw, from the plane, seriously injuring both. Shock and compound fractures hospitalized both crewmen, resulting in transfer to a Detachment of Patients for eventual transfer back to the United States. S/Sgt Brayn received the Soldier's Medal for his efforts in removing Sgt Shaw to safety, though painfully injured himself.
Twelve of our crews participated in an attack on August 13th to destroy the Pont L'Eveque-Dozale Highway. This crossroad junction was in the Lisieux battle area, and excellent results were obtained in rendering it useless to retreating German troops.
S/Sgts Burger and Blackford received a commendation on August 14th from Brigadier General Anderson, Commanding General of IX Bomber Command, for their act of repairing damage to their plane while in flight on the 18th of July mission. (See Exhibit # 32 & 33 attached)
The Foret de Chantilly fuel dumps were attacked with fragmentation bombs on August 15th. Seven of our crews made up the forty plane formation.
An inspection of equipment of all personnel of the squadron was held on the 16th to determine if all clothing and belongings would fit into duffle bags. Six crews participated in a mission on this day against the Fort De Roumaire ammunition dump.
Rainy weather interfered with flying activities for the next eight days, but all activity was not at a standstill. A restriction of personnel to the base went into effect on August 19th, to assure effectiveness of a practice move. The advance echelon packed and moved out on August 21st and returned to duties the next day. (Exhibit # 35)
Two more pilots were added to the organization on August 22nd when Lts Norris B. Haney and Theron S. Merritt joined.
On August 23rd the news was received of the premature liberation of Paris and Marseilles. That evening was another night long series of alarms due to the presence of passing "buzz bombs", though none fell on the base.
An escaped prisoner of war, Sgt Potter, gunner, was assigned to the squadron on August 24th. After bailing out of a flak crippled ship on one of our group missions, Sgt Potter was captured by the Germans. He escaped from a Nazi prison camp and made his way back to England.
On one of the longest missions to date, seven of our crews were part of an attack on a Brest strongpoint. Returning from the target, the planes landed at St Mawgans, England, as planned, to refuel the ships before returning to this field.
Four days after he joined the squadron, Lt Haney was killed in an accident when his plane hit a telephone pole.
Eighteen crews took part in two missions on August 26th against the Compeigne Clairoix fuel dumps and the Rouen ferrying area.
Two more missions were flown on August 27th and 28th to round out the flying activities for the month. These attacks, in which 18 crews were from the 670th, were against the Rouen ferrying area and the Doullens fuel dumps.
News was received by the organization that personnel were entitled to their second Battle Star for participation in the Western Europe Campaign, per authority contained in Ltr, Hq ETOUSA, dtd 24 August 1944.
One hundred and ninety-two sorties were flown by members of this organization during the month, raising our total to 1,092. Personnel strength continued to increase, raising our total to 297 enlisted men and 51 officers.
The month of September opened with a series of concentrated attacks on the Port of Brest, France, by light and medium bombers, in which this Group and Squadron played a important part. With the Nazis tenaciously holding on to the Port of Brest, General Eisenhower called for an all out effort. Six missions were flown by our squadron in the first six days of the month. Twelve crews participated on a mission on Sept 1st, 20 crews on two missions on Sept 3rd, six crews on Sept 5th, and 18 crews on Sept 6th on two missions.
Lt Byrne was transferred on Sept 2nd. English money was converted to francs on this day and work started on embarkation rosters in preparation for a move to France. On this date, two officers received notice of their promotions, Lt Gruetzemacher to Captain, and 2d Lt Tollett to First Lieutenant.
The A-20's of our Group were part of a formation of 300 different types of planes that attacked Brest at 06:10, 6th Sept. Three assaults were made on the Port, when Marauders and Havocs dropped more that 500 tons of bombs in order to force a passage way for US troops beseiging the city. Also on this date, a TWX was received delaying our transfer to France, causing a great deal of disappointment to every member of the squadron.
Four "Buzz Bomb" alerts turned the night of September 5th into a sleepless one. One Robot was shot down which was visible from our field, and the explosion of another shook the huts of our area.
Flight Officer Warren was discharged to accept a commission as Second Lieutenant and retained as a pilot in the squadron.
September 7th brought the release of the news about the War Department's Plans for demobilization after the defeat of Germany, which became the topic of everyone's conversation.
Eleven of our crews participated in an attack on the Nancy area on September 9th. Again on September 10th, eleven crews were part of an attack against a German Headquarters at Metz, which city at the time was proving a thorn in the side of General Patton and his advance on Germany. Also on this date, Flight Officer Turner became the third one of such rank to receive his commission as a Second Lieutenant.
The Metz communication headquarters was the target of an attack on September 11th, in which we had seven crews.
Two missions were flown on September 12th, the morning mission being an attack against artillery emplacements and observation posts in the Foret De Haye. Six excellent ratings were given our Group, the only excellent ratings given of the four groups of bombers attacking the target. Eleven of our crews took part in this raid. Six more crews participated in an afternoon attack on the St Wendel Marshalling Yards.
Renewed preparations for the move to France came on September 13th. Lts Sheley and Leishman, pilots, joined the squadron on this date.
Though we were preparing to leave for a new base, operational missions were to continue. One half of the Squadron was to remain behind to continue operations while our new base was being prepared by the advanced echelon. On September 14th, twelve crews took off as part of another attack against Brest defended position.
The move to France began about 0430 the morning of 15th September when our advance convoy departed with twenty nine vehicles, three officers and forty-five enlisted men. Captain Kehres was Convoy Commander, Lt Abbott - Trail Officer, and Lt Tollett - Security Officer.
The convoy arrived in Southampton at 1630 in the afternoon and parked along the streets of the city. The English people showed typical British hospitality by inviting the men into their homes for tea and putting radios out on their porches for the men to listen to.
The morning of the 17th, the convoy was driven into the loading area to board an LST. However, because the heavy loading gear broke, it was necessary to split the convoy into three parts and put them on separate ships. Two sections boarded LCT's. The third section boarded an LST with the advanced echelon of the 671st Squadron. About 1930 the ships moved out. They were escorted by motor launches carrying 50 caliber machine guns, 303's and depth charges. The convoy passed the famous British "Warspite" going out of the harbor. During the voyage Captain Kehres and Lt Abbott were invited into the Commander's cabin and briefed on the course to be followed, including mine fields to be avoided. The crossing was good except when the convoy got off course and went through an upswept area.
At 0700 hours 18th September, the convoy reached the Omaha beach head. After about two hours of waiting for the tide to go out, our trucks were unloaded on the beach. Here the men saw the surroundings which were the scene of the "D" Day landings. The sunken ships, battered German fortifications, wreckage and mines scattered all over the area made up a scene which will never be forgotten.
The convoy drove about two miles inland where they were given instructions and started a two day trip to their destination, which took them through St Lo, Vierre, and may other scenes of bitter fighting. Evidence of the battles were found in the thousands of burned out tanks and other equipment along the famous "Red Ball" highway and the many battered French towns. About 1600 on 19th September the convoy went through Paris and arrived at Station A-55, Villaroche at 2100 hours.
Thirty nine A-20's attacked the Bergen Op Zoom viaduct on September 16th. Of this total, 29 aircraft successfully bombed the target, among which were the seven crews from this squadron. Lts Atkinson, Flight Leader, and Lt Ackerson, bombardier-navigator, on their first bombing mission, leading a flight, scored an excellent rating. Bombing third, an excellent was achieved, with bursts on the railroad and highway. On this mission, Lt Hall sighted a barge which was throwing flak at our planes, and, diving down to strafe it, left it in flames. He received slight damage to his own plane.
The remainder of the advanced echelon, seven officers and one hundred seven (107) enlisted men, departed for the far shore on 16th September. With full field equipment the men boarded trucks at 0530 hours and were transported to Castle Heddingham. Here they boarded trains to South Hampton and arrived there at 1600 hours. They were in bivouac at South Hampton for two and a half days, boarded an English ship and sailed for France. At about 1330, 20 September, the ship anchored a half mile off shore at Utah beach and the men were transferred to a U.S. landing craft and brought ashore. They then marched four miles to the troop center and bivouaced for three days. After this time on 23rd September, they marched to a nearby airfield and boarded C-47's, which flew them to their destination. They arrived at Station A-55 about 1600 hours 23 Sept 44 and joined the motor convoy party in bivouac.
Those remaining in England for awhile were treated to a rare spectacle on 17th of September. This was the day of the allied paratroop landing in Holland. All afternoon the sky was filled with the sky train gliders going over, and before the news was released everyone knew that something big was up. It was our first view of any of the big moves outside of the flights of our own bombers.
More gliders were viewed the next day as reinforcements were sent across the channel, giving us an idea of the scope of the operations. This day, 18 September, proved to be one all of those in the rear echelon would long remember. That evening the first buzz bomb to actually land on our base, crashed and exploded near the runway near the 670th aircraft and buildings. Our armament shop had all the windows blasted out and several planes were damaged. There had been no warning of the approach of the robot, and the shaking of the entire area was the rude awakening. Early in the morning, souvenir hunters were scouring the damage, and all but dismantled the remains of the pilotless plane. Again on 19th September, buzz bombs were prevalent. Four of them passed over in the evening at very low level, but none landed on the field.
After being hospitalized since 19 May 44, when he bailed out of his aircraft returning from a mission, Lt Crispino was reassigned and welcomed back to the squadron.
The following day, 21 September, Lt Rooney also rejoined the squadron. He had been in the hospital since 18 July 44, for wounds received in action.
The remainder of the squadron, fifty-two officers and two hundred and sixty-six enlisted men, departed Station 170, Wethersfield, for Sta A-55, Melun, France, by air at 13:30 hours. Pilots and crew members traveled in their A-20 craft, the remainder were transported by C-47's. For many it was their first trip by air, and the sight of London, the channel, bomb-scarred France, and Paris from the air was a never to be forgotten experience. Just before 1700 hours the last plane landed at the new base, Villaroche airfield. Captain Geffinger was in charge of one C-47 and Capt Hogue was in charge of the other. After viewing the vast amount of destruction to the field and the surrounding villages, caused both by allied bombings and German demolition before departure, the men set about getting their pup tents up, which were to be their home for a few days.
The next following days were spent in getting up an organization, building from the wreckage, setting up squad tents, providing a mess building. In obtaining materials for building, many men had an opportunity of visiting German ack ack pits, where shortly before fire had been thrown up at our planes, and now we were using their left behind material to further our building effort.
After much hard work a squadron area was set up. All of the technical buildings, the mess hall and the orderly room were put up entirely from abandoned enemy gun site buildings. To do this, it was necessary to tear the buildings down, move them onto the field and rebuild them. During the cold weather that was to follow, all the effort proved worthwhile.
Lts Barausky, Grunig and Sewell received news of their promotion to First Lieutenant on 26th September, with the ratings effective 15th September.
Our first mission from France took off on the 27th, led by our Squadron Commander, Major Dunn, in which we had eleven crews participating. Due to very unfavorable weather no bombs were dropped.
Again the next day the weather interfered with the success of our mission. We were sent to attack panzer and supply installations in the Foret De Parroy, where proximity of American Third Army Troops necessitated extra care in bombing. Due to thick cloud cover and the danger of our own troops, the bombers returned without dropping their bombs.
September 29th proved to be one of the most disastrous days the Group had experienced. Two missions were flown on this day and seventeen crew members from the whole group were lost. Our squadron received its share of casualties, having one crew missing in action, and one gunner killed in action. On the morning mission, an attack against the Bitburg Marshalling Yards in Germany, Lt Nordstrom and his crew of S/Sgts Gossett and Miller received a direct hit over the target and the airplane exploded and broke in half. One parachute was observed leaving the ship, believed to have been that of the pilot.
In the afternoon, a mission was sent against troop concentration at Julich, Germany. Flak was extremely heavy, and the aircraft severly damaged. The ship flown by Capt Jackson was badly shot up and his gunner, S/Sgt Daniel was severly hit in the leg, severing an artery. After dropping his bombs, Captain Jackson raced his plane back to the base in an effort to get aid for his stricken gunner, but to no avail. S/Sgt Daniel died before they landed. In this raid, Lts Maltby, McGlohn and S/Sgts Addleman and Eutsler were slightly wounded.
During the month of September the squadron flew one hundred and sixty-seven sorties, raising our seven month total to 1,259. At last we were on the continent, feeling a bit more in things, and our planes were now flying over Germany on every mission in support of ground troops.
The strength of the Squadron at the close of the month's activities was 55 Officers and 295 Enlisted Men.
A new T/O went into effort on the first of October, T/O 137, dated 28 March 1944, which called for reduction in personnel of the Armament, Medical, Intelligence and Operations sections. Minor changes in the grade authorizations affected a few sections.
Five officers received promotions on this first day of the new month. Captain Conant received his Majority; Lieutenants Atkinson and Harrold advanced to the rank of Captain; and Lieutenant Brewer was promoted to First Lieutenant.
A group of A-26 "Invader" combat crews were received by the squadron, giving a glimpse of things to come, when Captain Richardson, Lieutenants Heinke, Magliano, Jordan and Turner joined the organization on October 1st.
The second of October saw our planes make three attempts to destroy enemy buildings and pill-boxes at Urbach, Germany, but due to the proximity of Allied Troops and poor visibility, no bombs were dropped.
The next day a mission was sent to attack the Duren marshalling yards, but again bad weather prevented the dropping of the bomb load.
Captain Hogue, long our Armament Officer, was transferred to Group Headquarters on October 4th, where, since his arrival overseas he had been acting in the capacity of Bombsight Maintenance Officer.
October 5th proved to be an important point in the history of this organization, the beginning of an important change in the makeup of the Group, when the 123d Mobile A-26 Training Unit arrived to take over the training of personnel for the conversion of the Group to the Douglas A-26 Aircraft, replacing the now famous A-20 Havocs which served so well against enemy installations in our eight months of operations. The new airplane with its greater bomb load and increased speed promised even greater operational success.
This date also saw a return to the Duren marshalling yards, but no planes reached enemy territory. They turned back at the German border due to extremely bad weather.
Lieutenants Bishop, Cook and Truman joined the organization on October 6th as pilots and Lieutenant Rosenquist, bombardier-navigator.
Enemy warehouses at Trier, Germany were the targets of a mission flown on the seventh of October, in which seven of our crews participated.
Major Dunn led a mission on October 8th against Linnich, Germany. This mission was the last flown during the month for our squadron, as on October 13th we were put on a non-operational status while our crews completed training in the new "Invader" aircraft. The 670th was the first squadron to start and to complete this training. Bad weather badly hampered the efforts of the crews to become operational in the new planes in the desired time. On October 14th six aircraft of another squadron while on a practice mission became lost and flew over enemy occupied Dunkirk. One plane was shot down. and the other five damaged by flak.
On October 15th, while on a routine training flight, the squadron suffered the loss of a complete crew, when Lieutenant Samuel P. Leishman, pilot, and Sergeants Eugene H. Shempren and Joseph F. Siracusa, gunners, were killed. Bad weather closing in caused the planes to scatter and seek landing fields. Lieutenant Leishman's plane was last seen near Sezanne, flying very low. He had apparently been trying to let down through the overcast. The plane was in a thirty degree dive when it struck a large tree on a hillside, in very hilly country.
Lieutenant Sheley's plane crashed near Rouen. When he became lost from the formation he decided to pick out an open field for a forced landing. The ceiling was from one-hundred to three-hundred feet at the time. He finally located a spot and brought the aircraft in. It touched the ground, but hit a bump which turned the nosewheel sideways and the nosewheel strut collapsed. The aircraft was badly damaged, but the crew uninjured. The other planes landed at varied places. Major Dunn was compelled to land near Paris; one plane landed at Brussels, and several flew to England before finding an open airfield.
On October 24th Lieutenants Buono, Cernich and Flight Officer Green joined the squadron to raise our total of officer flying personnel to fifty-three, the highest figure to date. Also on this date four officers received promotions--Lieutenants Nolan and Monroe being promoted to Captain, and Lieutenants Jordan and Turner being promoted to First Lieutenant.
Technical Sergeant Everts' A-20 Havoc #224, "Miss Laid", was first in the ETO to complete one-hundred missions. Never once during these one-hundred missions was the plane forced to return because of mechanical failure. The original engines that powered "Miss Laid" on the first mission on 3 March 1944 against an enemy held airdrome at Poix, France were still in use on the 100th mission, never having been changed.
The 100th mission was an attack on the Duren marshalling yards on 6 October 1944. Old "Miss Laid" was repainted and renamed "La France Libre" and dedicated to represent the unity and good will between our country and the new French nation. Captain Monroe, and Staff Sergeants Kidd and Risko, who had flown 224 on its first mission, and most of the one-hundred missions, took part in the ceremony. Technical Sergeant Royal S. Everts, crew chief, who had cared for the plane through its 100 missions and was primarily responsible for its remarkable record, also participated. The ceremony was attended by French and American dignitaries. MMe Monique Rolland, the beautiful French actress, christianed "La France Libre". Brigadier General Strahm, Ninth Air Force Chief of Staff, dedicated the planes's future missions to the French Nation and People. General Martial Valin, Commanding General of the French Air Force, and Charles Tillon, French Minister of Air, accepted the dedication for the French people and spoke over a world hook-up, speaking of the ceremony as a "symbol of the fraternity of our two nations." General Duncan, General Backus, and Colonel Aylesworth also participated in the ceremony.(See Exhibits attached.).
The training program for the new type aircraft, and extreme poor weather, prevented participation in attacks on enemy targets from October 8th to the 31st, preventing the squadron from increasing its excellent record to date.
During the month the first chance to send combat men back to the United States for a brief rest after the completion of a tour of sixty-five combat missions was granted the Group. This squadron sent eight gunners in the two groups that departed. Thus the squadron lost the valuable services of Staff Sergeants Addleman, Bonamo, Driskill, Griffin, Lee, Moran, Swafford and White. Staff Sergeants Lee, Griffin and Moran had been with the squadron since its activation back at Oklahoma City.
Flying only five missions during the month, the squadron attained a total of fifty sorties, in creasing its eight-month total to 1,309. Personnel status at the end of the month showed sixty-four officers ad three hundred enlisted men comprising the squadron.
The start of the new month brought good news to combat personnel, as the city of Paris was placed on limits for combat crews, with passes of forty-eight hour length being granted.
Two new combat crew members joined the squadron on the first, Lieutenant Martin Errotabere, pilot, and Lieutenant Merlin C. McNutt, bombardier.
Thirteen of the squadron's A-20 aircraft took off for England on November 4th, to turn them over to the United Kingdom. As they flew over the squadron saluted the many fine airplanes which had served so well in blasting the enemy. The pilots returned three days later with the new A-26 "Invaders" which were to be used in future missions.
Captain Jackson and Lieutenant Maltby, pilot and bombardier team of many an exciting mission with the squadron, were placed on detached service with the 4th Combat Camera Unit, to photograph front-line activity.
With A-26 training completed, three pilots and one bombardier who were sent to aid in the instruction of the new craft, took leave of the squadron on November 11th. Captain Richardson, Lieutenants Jordan, Magliano, and Dan O. Turner were transferred to the 409th and 410th Bombardment Groups, to repeat their training program there.
On November 14th Paris opened to all members of the armed forces. Twenty-four hour passes to Paris started the next day.
Announcement of promotion to First Lieutenant was received on November 15th by five officers--Lieutenants Ackerson, Kirk, Popeney, Murphy and Musgrove.
The christening of the new A-26's in combat, and the first mission for the squadron since October 8th, took place on November 17th. Eleven of our crews took part in an attack on the Haguenau storage depot. Forced to go below a cloud cover on the bomb run, the crews bombed from 8,000 feet. The attack was centered on two large warehouses, fifteen miles north of Strasbourg. Only weak flak was encountered and excellent bombing results were obtained. Bombs demolished bridges, railroad and warehouses in the target area.
Thirty-seven ships comprised the Group's 160th mission on November 18th, in an attack against the town of Durwiss. The squadron was represented by six crews . The town was only recently actually converted into a fortress by the enemy, and our ground forces requested its neutralization as an aid in the advance toward Cologne. Returning crews reported that fires started by strafing fighter bombers merged with the explosion of their bombs.
Two missions were flown on November 19th, making a busy three-day introduction for the new "Invaders". Twelve of our crews participated in a morning attack on Merzig, Germany, strongpoints, which included a storage depot, a railroad bridge, and the defended locality. Because of weather, crews were forced to bomb from 6,000 feet.
Recognition for excellent bombing on November 15th [19th] was received by our Division's units during the week in form of a letter from Lieutenant General Patton. The letter was endorsed by Lieutenant General Bradley, Commanding General, 12th Army, Major General Vandenberg, Commanding General, Ninth Air Force, and Major General Anderson who sent it to the various Groups. It read as follows:
The splendid bombing on the German town of Merzig on the morning of 19 November by over 160 medium bombers of your command is producing excellent results. This bombing, coupled with your afternoon effort on the ordnance depot at Pirmasens, I am certain will materially assist this army in cracking the Siegfred Line and defeating the German nation.
The willingness of your airmen to go in against heavily defended targets is an inspiration to this Army.
For all of the officers and men of the 3rd US Army I wish to express to you our appreciation for your cooperation and our admiration for your magnificent efforts.
In endorsing the letter General Bradley wrote "I take great pleasure in forwarding the foregoing letter from General Patton and wish to add my own appreciation of a job well done."
General Anderson in transmitting the letter wrote "It is a great pleasure for me to add to the above message my own commendation to each combat crew and all ground personnel who have in any way contributed to this offensive for their courage, loyalty and efficient performance in a most important and hazardous task."
The afternoon mission, of which there were seven of our crews, was against the Landau ordnance depot, but the weather prevented identification of the target, so no bombs were dropped.
Five officers of the squadron received the Distinguished Flying Cross, per General Order 242, Hq, Ninth Air Force, for achievements on previous missions. Major Conant was decorated for heroism and outstanding achievement on the June 4th mission when antiaircraft bursts damaged the instrument panel, gas tank, left engine, and hydraulic lines, besides damaging the bombsight. Despite the condition of the plane, Major Conant kept the ship on its course enabling the bombardier to hit the target.
For outstanding work on two missions, Captain Jackson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. On June 5th, one engine was incapacitated, and all but two instruments disabled. With the left aileron control severed, Captain Jackson piloted the craft to an emergency landing field. On August 6th, with the hydraulic system damaged, gas tank punctured, and a gunner wounded, Captain Jackson maintained his position as flight leader and crashed landed at his home base.
Lieutenant Hillerman received the award for bringing back his plane on June 3rd through zero visibility, by instrument flight, after his left engine was set afire by antiaircraft shells; also for his skill on September 1st when the A-20 he was piloting developed engine trouble shortly after takeoff, but completed the entire mission with single engine flight.
Completing the sighting operation in a violently shaking aircraft that had one engine afire, and directing the release of bombs as lead bombardier with excellent results on June 6th, earned Lieutenant Powell the decoration. Lieutenant Rooney received the Distinguished Flying Cross on July 18th's mission. After the right engine was knocked out, hydraulic lines cut, the pilot sustained a severe wound from shell fragments. Aware that one of his gunners was also seriously injured, Lieutenant Rooney disregarded the pain of his wounds and brought the damaged craft back for a successful crash landing.
Lieutenant Sparling was transferred to the 63rd Fighter Wing on November 22nd.
In spite of war time conditions a successful Thanksgiving Day was observed on November 23rd. Through the efforts of Lieutenant Heafey, Staff Sergeant Payton, and their aides, a very enjoyable dinner of turkey and all its trimmings was served.
Another of our pilots was transferred to the 63rd Fighter Wing on November 25th, when Lieutenant Crispino departed from the squadron. A great deal of excitement prevailed on the base that evening, when the 409th Bombardment Group returning from a mission was forced to land on our field due to exceedingly bad weather. One aircraft crashed during the rainstorm.
Five more of our members departed for the United States on November 27th, having completed their tour of missions. The squadron bid goodbye to Lieutenant Hillerman, first pilot to complete the sixty-five mission tour, and Staff Sergeants Binney, Evans, Donahue, and Riley, gunners.
November 27th also saw the awarding of Distinguished Flying Crosses to personnel of our squadron. In a group formation, Brigadier General Anderson, Commanding General of the Ninth Bombardment Division, pinned the decorations on Major Conant, Captains Jackson, Harrold, Rudisill, and Atkinson, and Lieutenants Leonard, Maltby, McGlohn, Ostrander, Powell, and Rooney.
Mission activities for the month were brought to a close on November 29th when twelve of our crews participated in an attack on the defended village of Mariaweiler, in support of 1st and 9th Army troops one mile north of Duren. Due to weather conditions no bombs were dropped, but flak was very heavy. Lieutenant McBride's ship was hit and caught fire. The pilot and Staff Sergeant Eutsler bailed out and landed in friendly territory at Florennes-Juzaine. The ship exploded and crashed in the vicinity of Ciney.
With the transfer of personnel, the total of personnel decreased to our smallest total since arrival in France, and the month ended with the squadron comprising 59 officers and 294 enlisted men.
Captain John T. S. Morris, Squadron Executive Officer, who had been working as Station Courts and Boards Officer since the Group came overseas, received word of his well deserved promotion to Major on the first of December. On the same day First Lieutenant Vernon H. Powell was transferred to Group Headquarters, to assume the duties of Group Bombardier-Navigator, after having piled up an enviable bombing record with the squadron and becoming the Group's most outstanding bombardier.
Ten of our crews took part in the first mission of December, which was an attack on the defended area of Saarlautern, Germany. Superior results were obtained. Hits were scored on roadways and factory buildings. Flak was described as moderate accurate.
First Lieutenant Wayne E. Downing joined the Squadron on 4 December from the 668th Squadron, where he had already completed his first tour of sixty-five combat missions. He volunteered for a second tour with the 670th Squadron.
Pathfinder technique was used in the mission of 5 December, which was an attack on the defended village of Kall. Eight 670th Squadron crews took part in the attack. Results of this mission were rated as good. No flak was reported.
Again on the sixth pathfinder was used in the bombing attack on Erkelenz, another defended village. Only meager flak opposition was encountered. Although the results of the five hundred pound bombs were unobserved, photo reconnaisance the following day showed that superior results were obtained. Half the buildings in the north end of the town were damaged or destroyed and all ten railroad lines in the town were damaged.
A group of new pilots joined the squadron on 6 December to take the places of some of our original pilots who were gradually finishing their combat tours and being sent home. They were Captain Henry W. Borman, First Lieutenants John F. Stankowski and John F. Wallace, and Second Lieutenant Jack V. O'Brien.
The "Stars and Stripes" carried a description of the new A-26 on 8 December and quoted Lieutenant McGlohn's statement that the airplane was "a dream ship".
Lieutenants Henry A. Buono and Frank A. Cernich were transferred to the 410th Bombardment Group on December 15th.
Major Dunn and Lieutenant Maltby led the first box of the 8 December mission against the Sinzig railway bridge and Captain Atkinson and Lieutenant Ackerson led the second box. Complete cloud cover prevented any observation of the results, although later photo reconnaissance showed that the bombs had fallen beyond the bridge. On the return leg of the mission the planes encountered moderate-accurate light flak from Jerry ground defenses. Lieutenant Grunig's plane was hit and one engine knocked out. However, he made it back to the base and landed safely on single engine. Captain Atkinson and Lieutenant Ackerson had dropped their bombs using their Gee equipment. This was the first time that Gee equipment had been used for any purpose other than navigation. Ten of our crews had participated in this mission.
The following day, 9 December, two missions were flown, both using pathfinder technique. The morning mission was an attack on the town of Saarwellin in which seven of our crews participated. Results were unobserved. In the afternoon the defended village of Dilsburg was the target. Pathfinder equipment failure prevented the fulfillment of the mission so no attack was made. Visual bombing could not be tried because of heavy cloud cover over the target area.
The House Military Affairs subcommittee made up of about twentyfive congressmen and women, made a quick visit to the base on 11 December. This subcommittee was at that time touring the ETO so that they could better understand the soldiers' problems and attempt to remedy them. Poor weather cut their visit of the squadron area to a fast ride through the area in a caravan of automobiles.
December 12th was a happy day for the following combat crew personnel, who had completed their tour of sixty-five combat missions and left for the United States and home: Captain Rudisill, Lieutenants Joost and McGlohn, and Staff Sergeants McKee, Wilson, Falk, Maziasz, Colbert, Paules, Eutsler, Francis P. Glynn, Patrick F. Glynn, Palmer, and Martinez.
Pathfinder equipment failure prevented completion of a mission again on 12 December, which was to be an attack on the defended village of Schleiden. Since the pathfinder plane failed to notify the box leader of equipment failure, no visual bombing was attempted. Instead, the PFF plane circled the Initial Point and led the formation back to the base.
The Inspector General, Ninth Bombardment Division, arrived in the squadron on 13 December for a complete administrative inspection of the unit. As a result of this visit the squadron received a superior rating.
The defended village of Gemund was attacked on the 13th. Eight 670th crews took part. More pathfinder equipment failure plus 10/ 10th cloud cover forced the first box, led by Major Dunn and Lieutenant Maltby, to bomb on Gee equipment, hitting the Tondorf area in Germany. Captain Harrold and Lieutenant Brewer, leading the second box, also bombed with Gee equipment and hit the Schutz area. Results were unobserved.
Another German defended village, Heimbach, was attacked on the 15th, with eight of our crews taking part. This was another pathfinder mission and the results were unobserved due to 10/10th cloud cover over the target area, so the damage done by the 250 pound bombs could not be determined.
In a lightning-like thrust on 17 December a combination of German infantry, armor and paratroopers broke through the allied defenses toward St Vith, Malmedy and Bastogne, at a point between Duren and Trier. Within a few days the enemy had advanced far into our lines and it became evident that the drive had as its objective to take Liege and eventually Antwerp, thus cutting the Allied armies in two. This sudden turn in events had its effect on the squadron. The situation was brought close to us about 0400 the morning of 20 December when we routed out of bed with a general alarm. The entire base was alerted because of a paratroop attack supposedly in the vicinity of our base. Defense positions were immediately taken up; guards were doubled on all aircraft and vital installations in the area. Stringent security measures were enforced, the unit defense plan reorganized, and the squadron made ready for whatever might happen. All personnel were given the following uniform instructions, to be worn immediately and until further notice; steel helmet, gas mask, web belt, canteen, firearm, and a complete unit of ammunition. On the 18th Lieutenant Rooney and Staff Sergeants Hummer and Wiggins left for the front. They were to visit the 3d Army for a period of seven days to get the ground-man's point of view of the war.
Lieutenant Herbitter was promoted to First Lieutenant on the 21st and Lieutenant Shea promoted to Captain on the 22d of December. On the 23d Second Lieutenant Bruce C. Morris joined the squadron as a bombardier-navigator.
With the enemy advance came a high priority job of destroying his vital supply lines. On the 23d of December a mission took off to destroy the bridge at Sarrburg over which enemy materials were flowing. Twelve 670th crews took part in this attack behind the Ardennes salient. In spite of intense accurate flak over the target the planes dropped their 1,000-pound bombs with deadly accuracy and completely destroyed the bridge. Before this mission returned to the base another was on the line. This was to attack the defended village of Waxwieler.
The following day, December 24th, the communications center of Zulpich was attacked. Twelve of our crews took part in the attack, which scored excellent results.
Christmas Day of 1944 was different from others we had spent. There was the Christmas tree in the mess hall brightly decorated. There was the fine turkey dinner which Staff Sergeant Payton's men prepared so well. There was candy and fruit cake from home. There was even the radio blaring out with "White Christmas" and "Silent Night". But it was not like other Christmases we had spent. Thoughts were thousands of miles from Army Air Force Station A-55 that day. Two missions on Christmas Day kept everyone busy. The first was an attack on the Munsteriefel communications center and the town itself. Only one flight was able to pick up the target and achieved superior results. Another flight picked up another target and bombed it. This was the town of Krimm with its important marshalling yard and highway, which were severely damaged. A third flight hit the town of Kronen-burgerhutte. Moderate to intense, heavy accurate flak followed the formation from the bomb-line to the target area and knocked down one of the planes of the 668th Squadron. The formation suffered heavy flak damage on this mission. The afternoon mission was an attack on the defended village of Hillsheim in which six of our crews took part. Although the primary target could not be picked up, heavy damage was scored on three secondary targets. They were the towns of Pelm, Fousdork, and Gereisten in Germany. Again the formation was subjected to intense accurate heavy flak from the bomb-line to the target and returning to the bomb-line.
The 27th brought a mission of five flights to bomb the Eller railway bridge over the Moselle River. Six of our crews took part and bombed with 1,000 pound bombs to achieve a superior rating. However, in spite of the fact that the bombs hit right in the middle of the target area and reports were that they had knocked it out, photo reconnaissance showed the bridge to be standing.
The long silent Luftwaffe burst into activity with the German breakthrough. Air raid alerts were sounded every evening around chow time and usually a couple of times during the night. Enemy reconnaissance planes were reported over the field on two occasions. TWX's began to pour in from higher headquarters on recognition of enemy agents, plans for destruction of equipment, and warnings to properly barricade all vital installations.
About 0200 hours on the 27th an enemy raider circled the field once and then came in for a strafing job with its twenty millimeter cannons. Several men who had gotten out of bed when they first heard the aircraft saw it coming in and thought it may have been a JU-88. No damage was done to equipment and no one was injured.
The enemy break-through progressed to a point where it became advisable to draft plans for a six-hour emergency evacuation plan which could be put into effect if needed. The group was put on this alert and was ready to move out if necessary.
Lieutenat McBride completed his tour of sixty-five missions and left for the United States on 28 December.
Weather over the target prevented bombing on the mission of 29 December which was to be an attack on the Keuchingen road bridge.
Liuetenant Leonard left for the United States on 31 December after having completed his tour.
The later part of the month of December brought a cold spell which will long be remembered. The squad tents and an acute shortage of fuel made living conditions far from comfortable. Snow created a substantial problem since it had to be cleared constantly to keep the taxi-ways and runways in condition for use. A very efficient snowplow was rigged up by Sergeants Chaplin, Stoy, and Flath which did much to minimize this problem.
The year ended with an enemy attack on two towns near the base. Bombs were dropped on the railroad at Coubert, three miles north of the field and a road near Lissy at the edge of the field was strafed. Explosions had a sobering effect on the New Years celebrations which were being held in small groups around the base.
1944 ended with a squadron strength of 59 officers and 294 enlisted men.
The year 1945 opened with an experimental mission flown in the afternoon of New Years Day. Captain F.J. Harrold, pilot, and Lt. W.E. Brewer as Bombardier-Navigator led a flight of six aircraft to bomb and strafe concentrations at Mont Le Ban. All six crews participating in this mission were from the 670th Bombardment Squadron. They took off with 260 pound fragmentation bombs and a full load of 50-caliber ammunition. When they arrived at the target area they met P-47 Thunderbolts who were to mark the target with smoke bombs. Three runs were made on the target but were unable to drop their bombs. Intense accurate heavy and light flak was met at the target and we lost 1st Lt Thomas A. Murphy and S/Sgt Lawrence W. O'Connell. The airplane was hit and was last seen leaving the formation in the vicinity of the target, going down in a glide. One parachute was observed coming out of the plane. Battle damage was heavy on all aircraft. Thus, the new year began by depriving us of one of the best liked pilot and gunner in the squadron.
Our Commanding Officer, Major Dunn, Lt Maltby and S/Sgt Majewski left for the front the morning of January 1st to observe how the ground forces work.
The Simmern Railway Bridge was attacked on the 2nd of January after a series of very unfortunate and costly accidents on the takeoff. The weather was cold and much snow and ice covered the field. Three aircraft crashed with full loads of one thousand (1000) pound bombs after getting into the air. The first plane crashed just after takeoff and exploded and burned, killing its crew. The second crashed in exactly the same manner, but the pilot and gunner crawled away from the wreckage and ran to safety just before the bombs exploded. These explosives shook the entire base and knocked a window out of our squadron headquarters. Lt Rooney was preparing to take off just as this happened and because of a malfunction was just coming to a stop at the end of the runway as the crash occurred. He started to run to the accident to give whatever assistance he could when he saw the crew come out and run. He and his gunner then also took cover just as the explosion occurred and were uninjured. Lt Rooney's airplane standing just off the end of the runway was damaged by the flying bomb fragments. Shortly after that a third airplane started to takeoff, got a few feet off the runway, settled and its landing gear collapsed. Its crew members were uninjured, although the airplane was washed out. It is believed that these crashes were caused by icing of the wings and possible carburetor iceing. The remainder of the airplanes went on to bomb the target with superior results. They reported that a couple flights of ME 109s attempted an attack on the formation, but were scared off by the fighter escort. Three of our crews took part in this mission. Later reconnaisance showed that although our bombs had blanketed the bridge area and the roadway, it was not destroyed. Poor weather in the beginning of January slowed down the training of new crews and also worked a hardship on the entire squadron. Heavy snowfalls made almost constant effort necessary to keep the taxi-ways and runways clear for operations. A serious shortage of coal and wood had its effect on our living conditions and evenings found us huddled around stoves which had small and usually very inadequate fires burning in them. The solution to the problem was getting into bed early.
Again on the 5th, ten of our crews took part in a twenty-eight plane attack on the Simmern Railway Bridge. The first box dropped on ETA through 10/10 cloud cover after the pathfinder aircraft had gotten off course. The second box bombed on the PFF. Results of this mission were unobserved.
The Simmern Railway Bridge was again our target on the 11th of January, using pathfinder. Due to equipment failure, the bridge was not attacked and a secondary target bombed. The marshalling yard and highway at Alzey, Germany were badly damaged.
On the 13th, Sgt Orin R. Hawkins was transferred to a General Hospital and eventually sent back to the United States where he received a medical discharge from the army. Mention should be made at this point in the story of the 670th Bombardment Squadron, that Sgt Hawkins did an outstanding job with the squadron and was primarily responsible for compiling data used in the squadron history up until the time he left.
The Steinbruk road bridge in Germany was the target of the January 13th mission. Weak heavy flak was encountered and only minor battle damage was suffered. The road leading up to the bridge was badly damaged.
Excellent results were achieved on the next day's mission, which was an attack on the defended village of Schleiden. On the takeoff another airplane crashed, probably due to wing and carburetor ice and its crew members were killed. It was a 669th Squadron airplane. On the turn off the target weak heavy flak was experienced which was ineffective. Seven of our crews took part in this attack.
2d Lt Russell Ford joined the squadron as a pilot on the 15th of January.
On the 15th and 16th, the Simmern Railway Bridge was again attacked. The results on both missions were undetermined but the bridge was still standing when viewed by reconnaisance later. However the approach to the bridge was out.
A letter was received 16 January by F/Sgt Combs from S/Sgt Gossett's mother telling that her son wrote her from a prison camp in Germany. This was the first word the squadron received since S/Sgt Gossett was missing in action in October of 1944.
Captain Chester R. Jackson left for the United States on 17 January after having finished his tour of combat duty.
Captain Frank J. Harrold Jr was sent to the XX Corps Headquarters on January 20th to act as Ninth Bombardment Division Air Liaison Officer. S/Sgt Burns accompanied Captain Harrold.
The Euskirchen Railway Bridge was bombed with superior results on 21 January, with twelve of our crews taking part. The bombs fell across the bridge, on the tracks and into the marshalling yards, heavily damaging the area. Major Dunn and Lt Brewer led the first box and Captain Monroe and Lt Kirk led the second box on this mission.
Another attack was made on the Simmern Railway Bridge on 22nd January. The results of the bombing were not observed due to 10/10 cloud cover. The first box bombed on Pathfinder and the second bombed on ETA. Later in the afternoon a special mission was sent out to strafe enemy vehicles in the Dusburg area. The bombers were late getting to their fighter rendezvous, but continued into enemy territory and eventually were recalled by "Parade" without making the attack.
Two flights of six aircraft each took off on the 23rd to bomb and strafe motor and troop concentrations at Blankenheim and at Dasburg. Six crews from our squadron were assigned the Dasburg area. Captain Paul Atkinson with Lt Dale Ackerson as bombardier led this attack. They took off in extremely poor weather and never did join up, although they were in contact with each other by radio. They arrived at the fighter rendezvous and proceeded on to the target. At the target they met heavy accurate flak and Captain Atkinson's ship was hit badly. Lt Ackerson's left leg was almost severed at the ankle, Capt Atkinson was hit in the face, and the aircraft was burning. One engine was knocked out and Captain Atkinson feathered the propeller. The cockpit was soon filled with smoke so they jettisoned the canopy in case the plane was burning. The elevator trim was used to control the plane, because the elevator controls were useless. He then dropped the bombs on the target area. They noticed the plane vibrating and think it was S/Sgt Collier, the gunner, using his guns. After the smoke cleared out of the cockpit, Captain Atkinson depressed the nose of the airplane with the trim tab and strafed with his forward guns. Despite his wounds, Lt Ackerson kept on the alert and continued to check the aircraft's position. He was losing blood rapidly. They went on about a minute heading further into Germany and Captain Atkinson turned back, firing his nose guns once again on the way out. About that time Captain Atkinson noticed the red jettison light burning, which could have been S/Sgt Collier bailing out. Lt Ackerson checked their position while holding his leg in an effort to stop the blood, and gave a correction. Captain Atkinson called fighter ground control three times but could get no response. They were on single engine going about 260 miles per hour. The right engine was "wide open". When they got back to about the bomb line they were again hit hard by flak and Lt Ackerson was struck severely in the right leg just above the ankle. The airspeed indicator went out but Captain Atkinson was still able to fly the airplane. Lt Ackerson indicated that they were back over in friendly territory. Captain Atkinson saw that his Bombardier-Navigator would probably bleed to death if he wasn't given help soon, so he decided to crash land. He picked out a small field and landed wheels up, flaps down and going up hill. They slid by a tree on the crest and hit in a deep gully on the other side. Lt Ackerson was thrown out and landed in the snow beyond the plane, dislocating his right shoulder. Fortunately the plane did not burn because Captain Atkinson had his shoulder harness locked and was pinned in the seat for four or five minutes. Some infantry men came along and helped him out of the wreckage. They were given first aid and rushed off to a field hospital. Captain Atkinson suffered a fractured ankle and hand. S/Sgt Collier must have bailed out over Germany when he saw the canopy go. This was the "last resort" signal to abandon ship in case interphone, emergency bell and gunner's call light were out. He is carried on reports as Missing in Action. Captain Atkinson and Lt Ackerson were transferred to a General Hospital.
Lt Theron S. Merritt, who was also in Captain Atkinson's flight was unable to stay in formation due to bad weather. He dove down from 3,000 feet to about 1,000 feet to strafe some vehicles he found hidden in a town in the area. At a second town he released his bombs on another concentration of vehicles. Light flak was thrown up at his plane and S/Sgt Raymond J. Gatti strafed the gun emplacements with his lower turret. Lt Merritt's plane received only two holes. He then headed back and landed at Station A-68.
Eleven Pilots who flew on this mission volunteered for the job, knowing that it would be "A Rough One".
1st Lt's Francis F. Brewster and Lewis W. Dennis, Pilot and Bombardier-Navigator respectively, joined the squadron 24 January.
Three of our crews took part in an attack January 24th on the Schleiden road junction. Excellent results were achieved. The bombs blanketed the railroad lines and cut a major road. The communications center at Kall, Germany, were attacked on the 25th of January. Superior bombing completely blanketed the road junction, damaged buildings and the railroad lines and sidings. Nine of our crews took part.
Lt Ostrander was transferred to Headquarters, Ninth Air Force on 27th January.
The last mission of the month was an attack on the Nonweiler Railway Bridge. 10/10-cloud cover prevented any observance of the results. Twelve or our crews, led by Major Dunn, took part in this mission.
The squadron strength at the end of January was 60 officers and 301 enlisted men.
On the first day of February three of our crews took part in an attack on the defended village of Schleiden in Germany. The results were undetermined because there was no photo cover.
The next day the Euskirchen communications center was bombed with excellent results. This village was being used by the enemy as a supply and housing center for troops enroute to the front. Twelve 670th crews took part in disrupting this vital communications point.
Captain Monroe, 1st Lt Ernest L. Johnson and 1st Lt Neil G. Brown left on 3 February for the United States after having completed their tour of sixty five combat missions with the squadron.
Lt Barausky, Lt Sewell, S/Sgt Blackford and S/Sgt Hall left for the front on 4 February to observe the war from the ground.
The squadron had been making hurried plans to move to a new base and on 5 February, Captain Sheridan took fifteen enlisted men as an advanced echelon to prepare the new base. They left by truck convoy in the middle of the night and arrived at Station A-69, Laon, France, the following morning where they set up tents and started to work.
On the 6th, a pathfinder mission was sent out to attack the Berg Gladbach supply depot. Nine 670th crews took part. The results were unobserved.
Major Conant, T/Sgt Ellis, Sgt's Hayes, Wagner and Willever left on temporary duty to Station A-78 in Belgium. The purpose of this temporary duty was to experiment with a fighter group to determine the suitability of the A-26 Invader as a fighter bomber.
Seven of our crews took part in an attack 8th February on the Nutterden. 98 1/2 tons of 260 pound fragmentation bombs were dropped. This was the Group's 200th mission.
The following day the Kempen communications center was attacked. Heavy accurate flak was met at the Cologne area and also at Dusseldorf and Dortmund. Captain Borman had a gas tank shot up and because of the loss of fuel had to land at Station A-54 in Belgium.
Also on the 9th, the rail convoy of the squadron left for the new base. Major Morris was in charge of 10 officers and 145 enlisted men. They loaded into the French "40 and 8" box cars and left Melun in the evening. After a very uncomfortable twenty-two hours they arrived at the new base.
The truck convoy with Captain Geffinger in charge, left at 0100 hours, 10 February. Seven Officers and fifty four Enlisted men drove through the night and arrived at A-69 about 0900 hours. Practically all men in the squadron had been without sleep for about thirty-six hours, but there was a big job ahead so they went to work. By evening we were settled enough to accommodate everyone, either in tents or in what few buildings we found on the new base.
The Munstereitel Motor Depot was attacked with 65 tons of general purpose bombs. Light inaccurate flak was met leaving the target area. Although there was no photo cover, the crews reported excellent results. Seven of our crews took part in the attack.
After about three days, the squadron had started its many building projects in an attempt to improve our squadron area. The possibilities of the new base were very encouraging. We set up our tents in a wooded area along the perimeter track. A large hanger was given over to the mess. Most of our technical sections had brought their buildings with them from Station A-55 and before long these were assembled and we were operating as usual. It is important to point out that all during this period of the move the squadron continued its tactical operations. The 670th and 668th squadrons moved up first and acted as an advanced operating base, while the 669th and 671st Squadrons remained in the rear. After the very inadequate living conditions at Station A-55, our new home was a treat. We found almost perfect drainage, which was a marked contrast with the area at A-55, where we were under several inches of water whenever the weather became warm enough for the water to flow.
The administrative headquarters of the 416th Bombardment Group closed at Station A-55 at 1200 hours on 12 February and opened at Station A-69 at 0001 hours on 13 February.
The Air Echelon of 27 Officers and 46 Enlisted Men arrived at Station A-69 in the afternoon of 12th February.
The following day the first mission was run from the new base. It was an attack on the Iserlohn Motor transport center. Seven of our crews took part. No photo cover was available so the results were unobserved.
Two missions were flown of the 14th. In the morning the Mechernich Prime Mover Depot was bombed. Eight of our crews were on the mission. They ran into intense heavy accurate flak after they left the target which continued until they reached the bombline. One of the ships in the formation was hit and went down in flames. Photo reconnaisance later showed that rail lines, buildings and cars were severely damaged and burned out.
In the afternoon, eleven of our crews took part in the bombing of the Rheinbach ammunition dump. Excellent results were scored. Moderate heavy accurate flak was encountered at the target and on the turn off. Bright flashes observed by the crews indicated that their mission had been accomplished.
Three members of the 30th Infantry Division arrived from the front on 15 February as the first of similar groups which were to come to visit us on air-ground liaison work. They were Capt Arne Nielson, 1st Lt James F. Taylor and T/Sgt Sterling. They were to stay with us for about ten days and observe the Air Corps at work.
Lt Hall, Lt Rogers, S/Sgt Burger and S/Sgt Ottaviano left for the front on 16 February for temporary duty in air-ground liaison work.
The Unna Ordnance Depot was hit with undetermined results on 16 February. Eight 670th crews took part. Moderate to intense heavy accurate flak was met at the target and on the turnoff. One plane from the formation went down.
Lt Popeney, S/Sgt Arnett and S/Sgt Candler left for temporary duty at the front on 19 February.
The Wiesbaden Ordnance Depot was the target of the 19 February mission. Results were undetermined.
In the morning of 21 February the communications center at Gelder was attacked with satisfactory results. Six of our crews were on the loading list.
Only one of our crews participated in the afternoon mission which was an attack on the Lage Bielsfeld railway bridge. One aircraft piloted by Lt R.K. Johnson of the 669th Squadron had an engine shot out over the target and came back to the base on a single engine. He was coming in for a landing too high and turned into his dead engine. He couldn't control the plane and stalled, crashing into our squadron officer's area. Some of the officers saw the plane coming but couldn't warn anyone before it crashed into one of the wooden buildings. Lt John Cook, Lt Merritt and Lt Sheley were hit. Lt Cook died of a fractured skull, hips and legs before he could be taken from the scene of the accident. Lt Merritt and Lt Sheley were seriously injured and rushed to the hospital. The pilot was trapped in the plane for almost an hour before the wreckage could be cut away to get him out. He had a broken collar bone and was cut about the face. The gunner escaped uninjured. It took three days to remove the mangled aircraft from our area.
Two missions were run on the 22nd of February. The morning mission was an attack on the Munster Bridge with undetermined results. Six of our crews took part. The afternoon mission was an attack on the Simmern marshalling yards, Bridge and Round house. Excellent results were achieved.
The first leaves given to ground personnel since we arrived overseas were started on the 22nd when Lt Easterwood, T/Sgt Robinson, Sgt Goff and Cpl Wurzburg left for seven days in England. Also on this day, S/Sgt's Burger and Blackford left for the Zone of Interior after having completed their tours of combat missions.
Excellent results were achieved on 23 February when the Group attacked the Glozhein communications center in Germany, with eight of our crews taking part. Three more missions were flown on the 24th and 25th against communications centers at Vierson, Kerpen and Morvanich.
Captain Daniel F. Shea left for the United States on 25 February where he was to spend a 30 day leave and then return to the squadron for reassignment to the Ninth Bombardment Division.
The Sindorf Communications center was bombed on 26th February and Unna Ordnance Depot on the 28th to conclude the month's operations.
Major Dunn was transferred to the 671st Squadron on the 28th of February to take command. Major Collins H. Ferris assumed command or our squadron. At a ceremony held in the mess hall that evening, Major Dunn addressed the squadron after presenting Bronze Star Ribbons to T/Sgt's Anderson, Ewing, Spillett, Thompson, Bos, McClellan and S/Sgt Pelligrino.
The squadron strength at the end of February was 54 Officers and 294 Enlisted Men.
The Giessen Ordnance Depot in Germany was the target of the 1 March mission which included eight of our crews. Because of PFF failure and the fact that they could not locate their fighter escort, the formation turned back and bombed the secondary target of Brenn with the use of their Gee equipment. No flak was experienced and there were no enemy aircraft encountered. The cloud cover was 10/10.
On the following day the Iserlohn Motor transport depot was bombed with 500 pound fragmentation bombs using the new type "airburst" fuse which is operated on a radar principle. Twelve 670th crews participated in this attack.
Lt Peter G. Royalty joined the squadron from the 671st and was assigned as Asst Operations Officer, on 3 March, and also on this day a mission took off to bomb the Giessen Ordnance Depot. Nine 670th crews participated.
The Huls Marshalling Yard was bombed with excellent results on 4 March. The formation bombed on pathfinder and went into the target without fighter escort. Weak inaccurate flak was met at the bomb line and continued on into the target.
The Marburg Marshalling Yard was the target in the morning of the following day. The take off was accomplished in extremely poor weather which continued to the target where they found 10/10 cloud cover. Bombing was done behind the pathfinder ship and results were undetermined. In the afternoon the Bergen Marshalling yards were hit with 12 670th crews taking part with undetermined results because of 10/10 cloud cover. This also was a pathfinder mission.
Second Lieutenant's Curtis, Balch, Henson and F/O Boerner joined the squadron as pilots on 6 March.
The OPLADEN Marshalling Yards were bombed on 6 March with excellent results. Bombs cut completely across the north end of the marshalling yards. This mission was accomplished without fighter escort. Eight of our crews participated.
On 8 March the Wulfren Motor Transport Depot was bombed with undetermined results. This was a pathfinder mission and 13 of our crews took part.
The following morning, 9 March, eight of our crews took part on an attack on the Butzbach Marshalling Yards. The results were again unobserved due to no photo cover and cloud cover. That afternoon the Wulfren Ammunition Filling Plant was the target. Twelve of our crews participated with good results, hitting buildings and in the woods. There were violent explosions which indicated that ammunition storage areas were probably hit.
Second Lieutenant's Forbes, Fry and Wilbur, Bombardier-Navigators, joined the squadron on 9 March.
Seven of our crews took part in the March 10th attack on the Niederscheld Marshalling Yards in Germany. It was a pathfinder mission through heavy cloud cover and the results, therefore, were unobserved.
On the 11th of March, S/Sgt Heidorn left for a 30 day furlough to the United States. This is significant in the history of the squadron since he was the first man of our organization to be rotated.
The Lippe airfield was attacked on the 11th with fourteen of our crews participating. The results were undetermined since this was a pathfinder mission bombing through heavy cloud cover.
All the Squadron Transportation Personnel were attached to the 79th Station Complement for rations and to 416th Headquarters for quarters. This was the result of a new policy to consolidate all transportation in the group.
Also on the 12th, Lt Merritt was transferred to a general hospital as a result of his accident.
The Lorch Marshalling Yards were bombed with unobserved results on 12 March. Twelve of our crews participated. In the afternoon a second mission took off to bomb the Posen Marshalling Yards with eight of our crews taking part. This too, was a pathfinder mission and the results were unobserved.
Two missions were run on the 13th, the first being an attack on a Rhine Air Field and the second the Nehum/Huster Marshalling Yards. Both missions were leb by pathfinder aircraft and the results were unobserved. On the afternoon mission the formation left the pathfinder airplane at the bomb line. The radio was not functioning properly and the pathfinder plane believed the formation could bomb visually. However this could not be done and operations were abandoned. The tail gunner of the pathfinder plane fired at a ME 109 but no claims were made.
Excellent results were achieved on 14 March when the Nieder Marsburg railway bridge was bombed through heavy haze. Eight of our crews took part.
Lt Robert J. Rooney was promoted to the grade of Captain and Lt Errotabere to 1st Lt on the 15th of March.
Superior results were achieved when the Pirmosens [Pirmasens] Communication Center was bombed on 15 March. A blanket of bombs covered the center of the town. Eleven 670th crews participated in this attack.
Lt William E. Sheehan, bombardier-navigator, joined the squadron of the 16th of March.
Two attacks were made on 17th March, one on the Altenkirchen Communication Center and one on the Bad Homburg Marshalling yards. Both of these missions were led by pathfinder aircraft and results were unobserved. Twelve of our crews were on the first mission and eight on the second.
Excellent results were achieved on the attack in the morning of 18 March when the Worms Communication Center was the target. Intense accurate flak was met. Thirteen of our crews participated, in this attack, and all returned safely, although the group lost a total of four aircraft. Lt Chitty's airplane was hit by flak on the bomb run. His account of the incident follows: "On the 18th of March we bombed the town of Worms, Germany. I was flying number two position of the second flight, first box. This was a PFF mission, but as we crossed the bomb line the weather was C.A.V.U. We reached the I.P. flying at 11,500 feet and 200 MPH, made a right turn and leveled off for the bomb run. My gunner, Sgt Raccio, called several flak bursts level at 6 o'clock. At the same time, there was a loud explosion and the left engine quit. I advanced full throttle and RPM to my good engine and stayed in formation. About ten seconds later another burst directly in front of me knocked three holes in my wind shield and one in the canopy, spraying me with powdered glass. We opened bomb doors and I made several attempts to feather my left engine with no results. I left my prop control if full decrease RPM to cut down drag. About one minute before bombs away I heard two other explosions and Sgt Raccio called and said there were several small pieces of metal from the top of the bomb bay lying in his compartment. Also he saw several holes in the tail and wings. Just as I saw my flight leaders bombs go away I pressed my release button. Sgt Raccio called bombs away. I knew I couldn't stay in formation during evasive action I peeled out of formation and came back across the bomb line alone. As soon as I was across the bomb line I began checking my instruments and noticed the fuel pressure on my left engine was down. I advanced RPM and throttle and switched on high boost. The left engine sputtered a few times and caught up although the fuel pressure was still only 10 pounds. The formation was circling at the RP so I rejoined my flight and we set course to our base. Approximately ten minutes after setting course, Sgt Raccio called that he could see smoke coming into his compartment. I told him to locate the fire and try putting it out. A couple of minutes later he called again and told me that it was apparently gasoline vapor burning out of holes in the top of the bomb bay tank. He also said the smoke in his compartment was getting pretty thick, so I told him to come up to the pilot's compartment, which he did. I tried to contact my leader but could not do so. Then I tried all emergency channels without success. Sgt Raccio then used the fire extinguisher in the pilot's compartment on the fire but could do no more than slow it down temporarily. As the bomb bay tank was full of gas I didn't think there was to much danger of an explosion from the vapor, so I decided to stay with the flight back to our base or until I saw a field. After about thirty minutes I saw our field so I peeled off and called in for an emergency landing. I could hear boatdeck control very faintly but could understand them. As soon as I was sure of making the runway I cut all switches and cut my gas off. As soon as the wheels touched, Sgt Raccio opened the hatch. I let the plane roll on at the end of the runway, clear of other planes and we climbed out. The fire department was at the plane as soon as it stopped rolling.
I believe that the bomb bay tank being full of gasoline is all that prevented an explosion as the vapor escaping from flak holes in the top of the tank was burning. The gas vapor apparently caught from electrical wiring inside the bombay, that had been severed by pieces of flak."
In the afternoon of 18 March the Kreutztal Marshalling Yards were attacked. The formation went in without fighter cover but met no enemy opposition except weak inaccurate flak.
On 19 March the Lage Railroad bridge was attacked. Only one box attacked this target. Major Ferris, our squadron commander, led the formation of twenty-four aircraft to bomb with superior results. Moderate accurate heavy flak was encountered from the bomb line in for five minutes. The escort was a formation of P-38 aircraft. At the same time, 18 other aircraft were dispatched to attack the road junction at Nassau. Captain Rooney led the attack and excellent results were achieved. No flak or fighter opposition was encountered. A total of twelve 670th crews participated in these two missions.
In the afternoon of the same day the Schweln Marshalling yards was attacked with excellent results. Weak inaccurate flak was encountered. Major Dunn led this mission, which was covered with a fighter escort of P-47's and P-38's.
Also on the 19th, F/O Green received notice of his promotion to Second Lieutenant in the Army of the United States.
A formation took off on 20 March to attack the Geisecke Marshalling Yards. However this target was covered with clouds and could not be found so the secondary target was attacked. This was the town of Westerberg, which was wiped out by the 76 tons of 1000 pound bombs dropped. The bombing was rated as excellent.
Captain Paul G. Atkinson returned to the organization on 20 March after being hospitalized since his crack up in Germany on the 23rd of January.
Captain Chester C. Slaughter, Captain R.J. Koch and Pfc Louie Massoni arrived on the 20th of March from the 29th Infantry Division for the purpose of observing activities of the bombardment group.
In the morning of the 21st of March the Goesfeld Communication Center in Holland was attacked. Superior results were observed with the 500 pound incendiary bombs which were dropped. The town of Goesfeld was fired from one side to the other. Seven of our crews took part.
That afternoon another mission took off and bombed the Vreden Road Junction and communication center with excellent results. Fourteen of our crews took part. Captain Rooney was leading his flight homeward into the setting sun at about 12,000 feet, when another flight leader, who was also flying into the sun, collided with him. Apparently Captain Rooney tried to get his airplane under control in an attempt to save his crew, but it went into a spin and crashed near Peers, Belgium. All personnel in both airplanes were killed instantly when the aircraft crashed into the ground, with the exception of 1st Lt Robert L. Kirk, Caption Rooney's bombardier-navigator, who successfully parachuted to the ground. Captain Chester C. Slaughter of the 29th Inf Div, who was riding as an observer with Capt Rooney, and Sgt Robert J. Kamischke, the gunner, were killed. Three officers and one enlisted man in the other airplane were also killed. This was Captain Rooney's 65th mission and constituted his tour of combat duty.
The Borken Communications Center was bombed with superior results on the morning mission of 22nd March, with twelve of our crews taking part.
Two missions were run on the 23rd against the Dinslaken Factory. In the morning superior results were achieved with 1000 pound bombs and again in the afternoon another superior was scored using 500 pound incendiary bombs. A total of 17 of our crews took part in these two missions.
On the morning mission Lt Ford was shot down and landed within our lines. His interesting account of the incident is as follows: "The boxes proceeded to the target on time, and peeled off at the proper interval from the I.P. No flak was experienced on the run, although we were in enemy territory two and one-half minutes before the target. As we closed the bomb doors, preparing for a second run, however, one burst exploded beneath and to the rear of my right nacelle. The left fuel pressure dropped off to zero, immediately; I tried all gas combinations, but with no success, so I feathered the left propeller. My airspeed had fallen to 150 MPH and I was losing altitude which caused me to recheck my fuel pressure. By that time I had rolled out on a reciprocal heading of 223 degrees (our emergency heading). My right fuel pressure was fluctuating and as I completed my first call to Parade, it, too, dropped to zero. In an effort to keep at least one engine running, I pushed the blowers back into low, and tried to start the left engine once more. When nothing happened I pulled the controls back into high blower and made one more attempt.
"As soon as I had taken up the emergency heading I had not only called Parade, (since "C" channel was jammed) but also notified my gunner, Sgt Tharp, to prepare to bail out. We had dropped to approximately 9,000 feet indicated in the turn, and it was then that I checked the time in order to ascertain when I would cross the Rhine River, for we could not see the bomb Line due to the smoke blowing from Germany. The time allowance was three and one-half minutes.
"I was descending at a rate of 2,000 feet per minute which I figured to bring me safely over the bomb line about 3,500 feet indicated. At 6,800 feet, approximately, the gunner tried to salvo the bombs without success. Again I called Parade for a fix, and once more was told to fly a heading of 180 degrees and call in 3 minutes. (Fortunately I ignored the heading given and continued on 223 degrees). Then I hit my own salvo switch. Nothing happened, so I opened the bomb doors in the normal manner and attempted to punch the bombs out; this time the arming switch was in neutral. By that time we were at about 3,500 feet indicated and my rate of descent had decreased to 1,600 feet per minute. The gunner tried unsuccessfully to get the bombs out with the doors open. As a last resort he had to jettison his escape hatch and at 3,800 feet indicated I ordered him out. His acknowledgement were the last words I heard from him. At 3,300 feet indicated I felt something hit the tail; whether it was he, I could not say.
"After that I rehooked my flak suit and safety harness since I realized that I had little chance of getting out. I could not reach my flak helmet, however. Afterwards I made certain all bombing switches were off, and at 2,000 feet indicated I started calling off the altitude to the gunner in case he was still with me.
"A town was on my left with two fields west of it - a road with telephone lines paralleling it separating them. About 200 feet above the ground I dumped full flaps and out all my switches. I made my turn into the field still maintaining 150 mph with the props feathered. The flare out showed no signs of a stall, and even when my airspeed dropped off to 130 mph I had control of the craft. I was forced to alter my plan to land in the first field when I saw a team of horses in line with me. The aircraft still handled smoothly, permitting me to bank to the left and pass under the telephone lines. I misjudged slightly, though, and cut one of the wires. Unfortunately a ditch in the middle of the second field caused me to push the plane into the ground early in order to escape stalling out in the ditch. The 1,000 pounders stayed in the bomb bay!!"
Lt Ford suffered a nine inch laceration of the scalp when the airplane crashed and was hospitalized in Liege. Sgt Tharp is carried missing in action.
A long awaited push by the ground forces started on 24 March and the group took off in a dawn attack to cooperate in the move. This attack was on flak positions at the Ihling Kamps area in Germany.
Excellent bombing results were achieved with the 260 lb fragmentation bombs. Flak resistance was intense but inaccurate. As our airplanes returned to the base the sky was filled with C-47's towing gliders, which were heading eastward to participate in the mass offensive. That afternoon our planes went out again to attack the Colbe Rail Bridge. Six of our crews took part with good to superior results.
Lt Sewell, the first replacement pilot, received by the squadron after arriving overseas, and S/Sgt Teran, left for the zone of interior on 25 March after completing their tour of combat duty in this theater.
The Altenkirchen Communications center was attacked on 25th of March, and what remained of the town was destroyed. Over the target Lt Barausky's aircraft was badly hit in the right engine. A large part of the engine nacelle was knocked off, but he feathered the propeller and peeled off the bomb run with gas and oil leaking badly. He closed his bombay doors and headed towards the bomb line on single engine. A portion of his right nacelle was bent upwards, causing a great degree of drag, thus the normally good single engine performance of the aircraft was hampered. When he got in the vicinity of Trier, Germany, he had to crash land at the Trier airport. Just before he hit he feathered the remaining engine and made a no-engine landing. Although the aircraft was completely washed out, neither Lt Barausky, his bombardier-navigator, nor his gunner were injured.
The second mission of the day was an attack on the Fulda Marshalling Yard in Germany, in which eleven 670th crews participated. This target was a very important and heavily trafficked marshalling yards. It was a key point for the transfer of supplies and equipment to German troops facing General Patton's bridgehead. Excellent to superior results were achieved. Violent explosions on the target indicated fuel and ammunition trains were hit. Enemy fighters were reported but did not attack. The two boxes were led by Major Ferris and Lt Brewster. 74 tons of 1,000 pound bombs were dropped. Lt Royalty finished his tour of combat duty on this mission and did a superior job of bombing.
The following day, 26 March, the Gemunden Marshalling Yards in Germany were hit. This target was a great distance from the base, just a few miles ahead of General Patton's rapidly advancing troops. Excellent results were achieved. No enemy opposition was encountered.
An oil storage depot at Erbach, Germany, was hit on the 28th of March. The results of this mission were unobserved due to bad weather. Twelve of our crews took part.
On the 30th, the Hann Munden Ordnance Depot and barracks area was bombed with unknown results due to bad weather. Twelve of our crews took part.
Two missions were run on the 31st of March. One was against the Wurzburg Storage Depot and the other against the Marionburg Storage area. Again bad weather made observation of results impossible. A total of fourteen crews took part in these two missions.
The squadron flew forty-one combat missions during the month of March 1945 and dropped over 1,300,300 pounds of high explosive, incendiary, and fragmentation bombs on enemy held territory. This amount is about equivalent to the two-thirds of the total poundage dropped by this squadron in the eight months we employed A-20 type aircraft in tactical operations. At times because of the scarcity of bombs and the great number dropped, it was necessary for squadron ordnance personnel to travel to other bases in order to get enough for the next morning's mission. Although everyone in the squadron worked to almost the breaking point during the month, morale continued to be very high.
The end of March found the squadron strength at sixty-three Officers and Two Hundred Ninety Four Enlisted Men.
The month of April opened with weather too poor for combat operations on April 1 and 2. Capt. Henry W. Browman moved to the 97th Combat Wing (L) on temporary duty for a period of thirty days. S/Sgt. Henry Nowosielski Jr. after completing his tour of missions left the squadron on the 3rd of April for the 70th Reinforcement Depot and the first step of his journey home. The first mission of the month, in which 36 A-26 and 2 PFF aircraft participated was against Hameln Marshaling Yards. 12 aircraft of this squadron were on the mission. Due to cloud cover there was no photo coverage but crews believed that the results were good. Again on 4 April cloud cover prevented observation of results of the mission against Crailsheim Barracks. On this date notice was received of promotions to First Lieutenant of Second Lieutenants Bower, Ford and Turner.
The Fifth, Sixth and the seventh of April were confined to local flying which was carried out extensively. 100 hours of local flying per day were averaged.
Six enlisted men Cpl. Howard H. Calhoun, Pfcs Robert J. Eaves, and Earl Wilkerson, and Pvts. Benjamin T. Cleaves, Grimsley L. Cooper and Walter M. Smolicek were transferred to the 79th Station Complement Squadron on the 6 April 1945.
Two missions were flown on 8 April 1945. The morning mission target Munchen Bernsdorf was led by Major Ferris, Lt. Royalty and Lt. McNutt with Lt. Brewster and Lt Dennis leading the second box. The results were unobserved due to smoke and flames caused by earlier bombing. This was the last mission for Lt Royalty as his tour was completed on this day. 12 aircraft of this squadron participated, which was maximum effort. 6 aircraft of this squadron took off in the afternoon mission against Sonderhausen and excellent results were determined.
Two missions were again flown on 9 April. The morning mission in which 13 aircraft of this squadron flew was to Amberg-Kammersbruck Ordnance Depot. Smoke from previous bombing covered target and prevented observation of results. The afternoon mission was an attack on Saalfield Marshalling Yard with 6 of this squadron's crews on the mission. Excellent to Superior results were obtained. On this day one of the Bombardier-Navigators that came with this group overseas Lt. Alfred H. Maltby, left for the 70th Reinforcement Depot and the beginning of his trip back to the States.
Two missions were flown on the 10th of April but we participated with 12 crews on the morning mission only which was Eger (Railway Viaduct). Major Ferris, Lt. Kirk and Lt. McNutt leading the formation, this was the first mission for Lt. Kirk since the accident in which Capt. Rooney, Capt. Slaughter, and Sgt. Kamische were killed. Also it was the first mission in which Major Ferris and Lt. Kirk flew as a team. Results for the group were excellent to superior, but Major Ferris' flight achieving superior results. This was the first time for aircraft from this division to attack targets in Czechoslovakia. The first bombs released by Lt. Kirk scored direct hits on the bridge, cutting it. The afternoon mission against Stassfurt-Loepoldshall POL Depot was attacked by 416th and 409th Bomb Groups with the 416th having 22 aircraft in the first box and the 409th having 18 aircraft in the second box.
Flying two missions a day was continued on 11 April 1945, with maximum effort in the morning, in which 12 670th crews took part, against Bernburg Marshalling Yard, with excellent to superior results. Evasive action prevented photos of results on this mission. Lt. Warren, Lt. Forbes, and Lt. Grunig/Lt. Morris led our flights. Lt. Popeney and Lt. Fry led our flight on mission No. 269 in the afternoon against Zwickall Marshalling Yard with excellent to superior results for the group.
The 12th April 45 found Major Ferris, Lt. Kirk and Lt. McNutt leading the formation on mission no. 270, with Lt. Brewster and Lt. Dennis leading the second box. Rain and clouds prevented bombing the target, the Kempton Ordnance Depot, and the aircraft returned with bombs. One bomb broke loose in the bombay of Major Ferris' aircraft. He lined aircraft up on a bombing range, opened bombay doors and released clusters in area, preventing any mishap from the loose bomb. Twelve of our crews participated. Mission No. 271 in which 6 crews from this squadron participated, was led by Lt. Hall and F/O Goss against Hof Rail Bridge produced excellent to superior results. One aircraft piloted by Lt. Downing diverted because of bad weather.
Capt. Paul C. Atkinson left the squadron on the 12 Apr 1945 for 30 day leave in the United States. Capt. Atkinson left with the good wishes of all members of this organization.
The news of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was received with a shock to the members of this organization. It was felt by everyone that the nation had suffered a great blow.
On the 13th and 14th of April missions were scheduled but releases were received before crews arrived at their aircraft. Local flying was the main attraction for the remainder of the days.
Twelve of the 670th crews flew on PFF mission No. 272. Lt. Errotabere/Lt Wilbur and Lt. Heinke/Lt Rosenquist led our flights with Lt. Heinke and Lt. Rosenquist leading the second box. Target was the Ulm Marshalling Yard; the results were undetermined due to cloud cover. The object of this mission was to block movement of supplies into the national "Redoubt" area.
Two missions were again flown on 16 April 1945. The morning mission, No. 273, target, the Zerbst Communication center against which excellent results were achieved. Our flight was led by Lt. Warren and Lt. Forbes. No. 274 was flown in the afternoon with 11 of our crews taking part. The target was Wittenburg Marshalling Yard, and the results were undetermined. Our crews were scheduled to lead both boxes, but Capt. Evans of the 668th squadron led the first box with our wingmen and Lt. Brewster with Lt. Dennis and F/O Conley led the second box. On this day Sgt. Elmer J. Willever, a gunner, was transferred to the 323rd Bomb Group. A memorial service in honor of our deceased President was conducted with nearly all of the 416th Group personnel and the 4th Service Group personnel present. Chaplains Penticoff and Doyle gave excellent talks during the service.
The fast pace of two missions a day was continued on 17 April 1945. 12 of our aircraft flew on the morning mission; target Magdeburg, which was maximum effort. Lt. Hall/F/O Goss and Lt. Errotabere/Lt. Wilbur led our flights with results reported as excellent to superior. 12 crews also participated in the second mission for the day, No. 276, target, Tubingen Ordnance Depot. Results were good to excellent. Our flights were led by Lt. Popeney/Lt. Fry and Lt. Heinke/Lt. Rosenquist, Lt. Pavey. This was the first mission for Lt. Pavey and Lt. Peppers, Navigators.
No missions were flown on the 18 April 1945. 2d Lt. Wesley D. Chitty Jr. today received notice of his promotion to 1st Lt. effective 9 April 1945.
On the 19th of April 1945, two missions were flown, the morning mission was against Deggendorf, but due to weather conditions, no attack was made. No credit for a sortie was given. Mission No. 277 was flown in the afternoon and produced excellent to superior results in an attack on the Ulm Marshalling Yard. Our flight was led by Lt. Warren and Lt. Forbes. Enemy fighters were reported in the area of the target and one single inline engine fighter closed in on the formation while it was circling the rally point. One gunner opened fire at approaching plane which broke away without returning fire. No further attacks were made on the formation.
Mission No. 278 flown on the morning of 20 April 1945 produced excellent to superior results against Deggendorf Oil Storage Depot. 1000 pound GP bombs were used on this mission. 12 of our aircraft participated, with Major Ferris/Lt. Kirk and Lt. McNutt leading the formation. Major Ferris's flight had superior bombing. Lt. Brewster/Lt. Dennis and F/O Conley led the second box and scored excellent results. The second mission for the day, No. 279, again produced excellent to superior results in an attack on Annaburg Storage Depot. 6 of our crews flew on this mission with Lt. Barausky and Lt. Sheehan leading a flight, for the first time on a mission, with excellent results. One of the original crew members who came overseas with this squadron, Capt. Frank J. Harrold, Jr., left today for the 70th Reinforcement Depot on the first step of his journey to the Zone of the Interior for a 30 day leave. Capt. Harrold was the last of the West Point Officers to leave the squadron for leaves at home.
Mission No. 280, flown on 21 April 1945, had 12 of our crews. In an attack on the Attnang-Pucheim Marshalling Yard the crews received superior to excellent results. For the second time in a month the 416th was the first Bomb Group to bomb virgin country amongst 9th Air Force Bomb Groups, crossing the Austrian border for the first time. Our flights were led by Lt. Popeney/Lt Fry/Lt Peppers and Lt. Hall/F/O Goss and Lt. Pavey. Three gunners, S/Sgt. Donald E. Burns, Millard Hall and James A. Hummer, departed today for the Zone of the Interior after completion of their tour of missions.
No missions were flown on the 22nd and 23rd of April 1945. Notification of the promotion of two of our gunners was received on 23 Apr 45. Sgts. Alfred N. Kimball and John R. Vellinga were promoted to S/Sgt.
PFF equipment failure and weather conditions prevented bombing on mission No. 281 to the Landau Airfield on the 24th of April 1945. 7 of our crews were on this mission and this flight was led by Lt. Errotabere and Lt. Wilbur.
Mission No. 282 on 25 April 1945 was led by Major Ferris, Lt. Kirk and Lt. McNutt, with Lt. Hall, F/O Goss and F/O Conley leading the second box in an attack on the Freilassing Ordnance Depot. Both of our flights had superior bombing with the group scoring superior bombing for the mission.
7 flights, maximum effort for the group, took off on 26 April 1945 to attack Plattling Airfield. 12 of our crews, led by Lt. Heinke, Lt. Rosenquist and Lt. Warren, Lt. Forbes, took part in this mission which was No. 283. Excellent to superior bombing was achieved by all flights from the group.
Bad weather (with ice in the air) prevented air activity on 27 April 1945. Aircraft ready time was 1325, but before any action could be taken the mission was scrubbed and the group had a release for the day.
This squadron lost one of its first members when Capt. Sheridan, Intelligence Officer, was transferred to Hq, 416th Bomb Group for duty as Group Intelligence Officer, a well deserved promotion for the excellent work he has done since entering the squadron. No mission was flown on this day.
The 29th and 30th of April passed with the 416th having no luck in getting off a mission. Some sunshine was seen on the 30th and hopes arose of opening the month of May with intensive operations.
* Finis *
The end of April found the squadron strength at Sixty One Officers and Two hundred seventy Enlisted Men.
The bad weather which had held up operations the last few days of April continued on 1 May. 37 aircraft took off on mission No. 284, but because of weather conditions were unable to bomb. The target was the Stod Ammunition Dump.
On 2 May notice was received of the promotion of 1st Lts. Rozell B. Hall and Peter C. Royalty to Captain and 2nd Lt. Stanley H. Sheley to 1st Lt, with effective date of promotion 23 Apr 45. No mission was flown on this date.
36 aircraft flew on mission No. 285 on 3 May 1945, 6 crews of this squadron participating in the attack on the Stod Ammunition Plant. Bombing was done by boxes on shoran at 13,300 to 13,700 ft. The results were undetermined due to cloud cover but were believed to be good to excellent.
No missions were flown on the 4th, 5th and 6th of May. During the evening of 6 May there was an announcement over the radio that the war had ended. While it had been possible, for days, to see that the end was near, the announcement of it eased the tension under which everyone had been working since this group came overseas. Even though it was learned that the announcement was unofficial and that the official notification would be made on the 8th of May the joy of knowing that the war in this theatre was finished was not diminished. In approximately 14 months of operations, this group had flown 285 missions in A-20 and A-26 type aircraft.
3 enlisted men joined the squadron on the 5th May 1945, T/Sgt. James M. Forsythe and Sgt. Chalmers D. Carlile, Gunners, and Pvt. John E. Keating, Airplane Mechanic.
On the 7th May 1945 T/Sgt. Herbert L. Click, Crew Chief returned to the squadron after a long siege in the hospital.
1st Lt. Carl A. Newsome, Intelligence Officer, joined the squadron on 8 May 45 from Hq. 9th Bomb Division.
On the 13th May, Capt. Henry W. Borman on TDY with 97th Combat Wing was transferred to the Wing. Capt. Peter C. Royalty and S/Sgt. Beverly R. Wilson departed for the States after completing tour of duty as Bombardier and Gunner respectively. 2nd Lts. Eugene B. Rowbotham and Nathan D. Porter, Pilots, Sgts. Gerald L. Townsend and John W. Tschudin, gunners, joined the squadron from the 344th Bomb Group.
On 16 May 45, 1st Lt. Robert B. Singletary received notice of his promotion to Captain effective 7 May 1945.
The first step on our move from Station A-69 began on the 19 May with Lt. Peter P. Barausky and 9 enlisted men left for Station A-59 as the advance echelon to begin the setting up of our squadron area and to take care of the numerous details arising at a time like that.
21 May 1945, 2nd Lt. Robert E. Peppers and Morris Pavey, Navigators on DS with the 387th Bomb Gp (M), were transferred on this date.
Cpl. John H. Johnson departed on the 23 May 1945 for the 70th Reinforcement Depot on his way home for discharge, (42 years old).
On 24 May 1945, 26 officers and 52 enlisted men of the air echelon departed for Station A-59 at 1300 hours. The organization was alerted for the move to the new station and the Administrative headquarters was closed at 2400 hours.
On 25 May 45 the motor convoy departed Station A-69 at 1200 hours. The remainder of the organization departed by air at 1100 and 1400 hours. When the arrival at Station A-59 a pleasant surprise was awaiting us in that the entire squadron area has been set up by the advance echelon. The Officers and Enlisted Men's quarters had been set up awaiting only the arrival of their occupants. The area was complete even to a steel pierced planking company street.
Lt. Wayne E. Downing departed for the Zone of Interior on 26 May 45, after completing one tour and well into the second tour as a pilot.
Capts. Atkinson, Harrold and Shea, on leave in Zone of Interior, were transferred to ZI (AAF) on 27 May 1945. 2nd Lt. Alton R. Turman received notice of his promotion to 1st Lt. effective 16 May 1945.
2nd Lt. Carl E. Wimberly Jr. joined the squadron as Gunnery Officer on 28 May 1945.
Major Hiram F. Conant, Operations Officer, who came overseas with this group, left for the 70th Reinforcement Depot on his way to the states on the 29 May 1945.
On 31st May 1945 1st Lt. Billy D. Bell, pilot, joined the squadron.
From the 8th to 31st of May the time of the combat crews was taken up by an intensive training program. O615 Reveille was begun for all personnel on 30 May 1945.
During the Month of May the following flying personnel received awards:
Award Rank Name DFC 1st Lt. Wayne E. Downing Air Medal 1st Lt. Wayne E. Downing 1st Lt. Ernest L. Johnson * 1st Lt. Leonard R. McBride * 2nd Lt. William M. Balch 2nd Lt. Lester J. Page 2nd Lt. Murray F. Wilbur 2nd Lt. William E. Sheehan Jr. F/O Stewart B. Boerner, Jr. F/O Truman L. Goss Sgt. James M. Matthews Sgt. Melvin W. Showers Cpl. Kenneth A. Eddy Cpl. Robert K. Homler S/Sgt. Donald B. Richards Sgt. Dory E. Neal, Jr. Sgt. Anthony P. Sgroi Sgt. John R. Vellinga Sgt. Hillary T. Wright Cpl. James D. Brennan Cpl. Clark J. Thompson The following named ground personnel received awards: Bronze M/Sgt. Thurman B. Strickland Star T/Sgt. Clifford D. Body S/Sgt. Elmo W. Kline Sgt. Vito G. Zukauskas * Personnel previously returned to the Zone of the Interior.
The end of May found the squadron strength at Fifty Eight Officers and Two Hundred Seventy Six Enlisted Men.
During the month of June an intensive training program was in force with all personnel attending ground school and flying personnel participating in both a ground and a flying program designed to prepare this group for another Theatre of Operations. Flying time during the month amounted to 1485 hours, of which, some of the main phases were: 365 hours of low level formation; 291 hours of instrument training; 242 hours of bombing during which time 487 bombs were dropped; 131 hours gunnery with 74,740 rounds being fired; 147 hours medium altitude practice missions; 171 hours of day navigation and 61 hours of night navigation.
This squadron lost five (5) enlisted men on 1 and 8 June with high adjusted service ratings. They were the first to leave the squadron and it appeared at that time as if a large number of key personnel of the organization would leave with high scores. The first men to leave were T/Sgts Richard C. Fisher, Samuel Hamman, Sgt. Carl S. Champlin, 1st Sgt. Harry F. Combs and S/Sgt. Arnold L. Silva.
On 8 June 1945 administrative personnel of all squadrons in the group were transferred between squadrons. Major J. T. S. Morris and 1st Lt. Joseph E. Tollett, Executive and Q.M. Officers respectively, were transferred to 671st and Captain Lowell E. Geffinger, Adjutant, was transferred to the 668th squadron. Major Chester C. Wysocki and Captain Horace W. Breece, Executive and Adjutant respectively, joined from the 668th and 1st Lt. Joseph A. May, Supply Officer, joined from the 671st squadron.
Captains Rozell B. Hall and Robert B. Singletary, 1st Lts. Peter P. Barausky and Wayne Musgrove, Pilots, and S/Sgt Wilmar L. Kidd departed for the Zone of Interior on 9 June 1945, after completing over 50 missions.
During the month of June the following personnel joined the squadron from other organizations: Capt. Carl G. King, pilot, 2nd Lt. Herman W. Kitchen Jr., pilot, 2nd Lt. Duane C. Cumpston, pilot, S/Sgt. Curtis Johnson, Cpl. Clifton Madison, Sgt. Louis H. Hanna, Pfc Willard O. Klamberg, 2nd Lt. Clarke S. Willson, Electronics Officer, Sgt Horman Cousin, gunner, Sgt. Raymond W. Burton, gunner, Sgt. Richard M. Williams, Cpl. Howard H. Calhoun, Sgt. John J. Angel, Pfc. William C. Holliman.
On 18 June 1945 notice was received of the award of the Legion of Merit to Cpl. Lester H. McPeak, Armament Section, for his work on aircraft since this organization arrived overseas.
The following personnel were departed from the squadron during June: Major Chester C. Wysocki, transferred to 322 Bomb Group and further DS to Hq and Hq Squadron 9th Air Force; Pvt. Joseph T. Ryan departed for the Zone of Interior and discharge as he was over 42 years of age; Cpl. Paul Zaretsky, T/Sgt. James M. Forsythe, Pfc. Julius M. Costa transferred to other organizations; 1st Lt. John E. Easterwood on TDY with 9th Air Division.
On 22 June 1945, 2nd Lt Nathan D. Porter Jr. received notice of promotion to 1st Lt Aus with date of rank 30 April 1945. On 25 June 1945, 2nd Lt. Herman W. Kitchen notified of promotion to 1st Lt. with date of rank 18 May 1945.
On 29 June one Officer and 95 Enlisted Men were transferred into this organization to fill vacancies made by transfer of all enlisted men of this organization with 75 or more points. 65 enlisted men of this organization, having an ASR of 75 or more points were transferred to other Bomb Groups as of 29 June 1945, 26 of these men remained with this squadron on TD to complete work on aircraft.
During the month of June notice was received of awards to the following named Officers:
Silver Star to 1st Lt. Dale G. Ackerson + Dfc to 1st Lt. Wesley O. Chitty Jr. Dfc to 1st Lt. Russell Ford Dfc to Capt. Rozell B. Hall + Dfc to 1st Lt. Jackson C. Sewell + + Personnel no longer with this organization.
The end of June found the squadron strength at Fifty Five Officers and Two Hundred Nine Enlisted Men.
Note: I do not have copies of the July through October, 1945 documents,
so these months were not revised from Jane Enman's orginal transcription.
On the 1st of July 1945, 19 Enlisted Men of this organization were promoted, SO 71, Hq 416th Bomb Group.
On the 3rd of July, Sgt. Lucian M. McGrew, Sgt. Robert E. Wayte, Cpl. Joseph J. Lahnstein, Cpl. Ronald J. Whiting and Cpl. Robert E. McLeod joined the Squadron, for the 70th Reinforcement Depot.
On the 6th of July notice was received of a 10-day delay in movement of aircraft to the staging area, Station A-74, which was to have taken place in the next few days.
S/Sgt. Elmore O. Diehl at present in the 62nd General Hospital was transferred to Detachment of Patients, 4315 US Army Hospital Plant APO 887.
S/Sgt. Charles S. Torcivia received copies of orders awarding him the Bronze Star Medal for his performance of his duties from the 21st of June 43 to the 30th of April 1945 as Sgt. Major of the Squadron, on the 7th of July 1945.
On the 10th of July, Cpl. James C. Nolfa and Pfc. Warren C. Baker joined the Squadron from the 668th and 669th Bomb Squadrons. S/Sgt. Ezra Markowsky and Cpl. Dan E. Steele were transferred to Hq, 416th Bomb Group.
The Group received alert orders on the evening of the 11th of July alerting us for movement to an Assembly Area and then to another Theater. Cpl. Charles F. Enslow Jr., Cpl. George J. Verbish, and Pfc. Albert H. Dunn were transferred to Hq, 416th Bomb Group.
The squadron for direct redeployment to an active theater began preparations. Much work was necessary, aircraft were being given a final check and everyone pitch in to accomplish the job of readying the squadron for movement in the shortest time possible. Censorship of mail was begun again on this day, the 12th of July 1945.
On the 14th of July 1945 all personnel in the squadron were processed which included checking of all records and inoculations.
Notice was received of the award of DFC to Capt. Robert O. Gruetzmacher, 1st Lt. Wayne Musgrove (ZI) and 1st Lt. E.O. Turner, 9th AF GO 118 dated the 28 of June 1945. A photograph of flying Officers was taken in the afternoon.
On the 16th of July, 3 Officers and 6 Enlisted Men left for Station A-74 and redeployment through States and to eventually rejoin this organization in another Theater. On the 17th of July, 4 Officers and 6 Enlisted Men departed and on the 19th, 14 Officers and 10 Enlisted Men left. On the 19th of July, 1st Lt. John E. Easterwood was transferred to the 397th Bomb Group.
The 20th of July, 2nd Lt. Eugene B. Rowbstham, Cpl. Wesley M. Bullin and Pfc. Allen V. Porter were transferred to the 671st Squadron. Cpl. Veto Miller was transferred to Hq, 416th Bomb Squadron.
On the 21st of July, 1st Lts E.O. Turner and Billy D. Bell, 2nd Lts William M. Balch and Duane C. Cumpston, Pilots and F/O Frank J. Conley were transferred to the 391st Bomb Group.
2nd Lt. Carl Wimberly Jr., on the 22nd of July received notice of promotion to 1st Lt with date of rank on the 16th of July 1945.
On the 23rd of July, 1st Lt. Corbie F. Cochran and Cpl. John E. Field joined this Squadron.
Movement orders for this organization were received on the 25 of July. The orders stated that we would move to Camp Chicago in Assembly Area Command.
On the 26th of July 1945 notice was received of award to this group of the Presidential Unit Citation for operations of this group during August 1944. This award was long awaited and all members of this organization felt that it was greatly deserved by the excellent work of all of our flying personnel during the period we were on an operational status. Movement of the Squadron to Camp Chicago was begun on this date with the Supply train departing at 1530 hours. The troop train departed at 2030 hours with 7 Officers and 181 Enlisted Men, after a feverish day of activity starting with being awakened at 0500 hours and striking tents and then a general cleaning up of the area, in which all personnel participated.
At 0600 hours of the 27th of July the motor vehicle convoy departed from Station A-59 with 9 Officers and 58 Enlisted Men.
The Supply Train arrived at Camp Chicago at 0015 and the Troop Train and Motor Convoy arrived at 0300 and 1100 hours respectively. A pleasant surprise was awaiting us when we arrived and saw a fine area with concrete floors in the tents, good showers and a Mess Hall of prefabricated type building (although everything was slightly dimmed by the dusty condition of the surrounding area). Squadron Headquarters and Squadron Supply were in Nissen Huts. The first thought in the minds of all personnel was just cleaning up and resting. The work of processing began on the 28th of July and continued for the balance of the month, with Technical Sections turning in equipment. A dental survey was made, a clothing showdown was held and immunizations were given where needed. Administrative work continued with added burden of the processing.
On the 29th of July the Group received the award of two battle stars for Central Europe and the Rhineland, bringing the total awarded to this group of six, namely: Air Offensive of Europe, Normandy Campaign, Northern France Campaign, Battle of the Ardennes, Campaign of Central Europe and the Rhineland.
On the 30th of July Cpls. Leo P. Bernardi and Arthur A. Deicher joined the squadron from the 397th Bomb Group. 2nd Lt. Bruce C. Morris was transferred to the 669th Bomb Squadron. A letter to all Officers and Enlisted Men of the 416th Bomb Group was received from Major General O. P. Weyland. The letter conveyed the General's thanks for outstanding performance while part of the Ninth Air Force and wishing us luck in the future.
The strength of July as Officers 15 and Enlisted Men 242.
First part of the month was taken up with preparing equipment for redeployment.
News of Japan's peace offers and Atomic Bomb did much for morale of Organization.
Continued processing was main duty.
News of Jap surrender and announcement that no troops would be transferred direct to the Pacific was received on the 14th of August.
Unit Censorship again ceased on the 20th of August 1945.
9th Air Force GO158 read - DFC awarded to:
Lt. Col. (then Major) Collins H. Ferris 1st Lt. Martin Errotabere 1st Lt. Francis S. Brewster 1st Lt. David B. Grunig 1st Lt. Robert L. Kirk 1st Lt. Harry V. Popeney S/Sgt. Dayton S. Blackford S/Sgt. Laverne C. Burger S/Sgt. Ralph L. Stobert
On the 29th of August TE equipment was loaded on the train for shipment to port.
The end of August found the squadron strength at 15 Officers and 241 Enlisted Men.
September opened with everyone waiting to hear that representative Japanese Government had signed peace terms and news was received.
On the 7th of September 45, notice was received that unit was not in Category ?? V and would leave shortly for the Zone of the Interior and deactivation.
All "TE" equipment and equipment other than bare necessities for administration were turned in on September 8th. M/Sgt. Donald T. Dame, S/Sgt. Frank G. Schuh, Sgt. Ernest P. Maier, Sgt. Americo L. Marrone and Pfcs Maurice G. Brein Jr., Lynn Galey joined the organization. Lt. Corbie Cochran was transferred to ?? X Air Force Service Command.
Movement orders were received on the 9th of September 1945; no date was given for leaving Assembly Area. Shipment number changed to RE-7367-K.
On the morning of the 15th of September personnel boarded the train and deported at 1214 hours for Calas Staging Area. 15 Officers and 244 Enlisted Men making the trip. The train arrived at 0500 hours on the 17th of September 1945.
Warning orders for movement from theater on the 22nd of September 45 with SS Marine Panther named as transport. On the 25th September 45 alert orders were received.
Lt. Robert L. Heaton and Lt. Carl A. Mewsome were transferred to 671st Bomb Squadron (L) with Lt. Bert J. Ross and Lt. Eugene B. Rowbotham transferred in from the 671st Bomb Squadron (L) on the 27th of September.
At 0630 on the 30th of September 1945 Personnel loaded on vehicles and journeyed to dock at 0930 the ship was boarded. The ship left port at 1300.
Squadron strength on the 30th of September 1945 was 15 Officers and 244 Enlisted Men.
The month of October opened with the organization in the Mediterranean Sea on the way to the United States. At 0430 hours on the 2nd of October 1945 the SS Marine Panther passed the Rock of Gibraltar with a large number of men arising in time to see the "Rock". The route carried us south of the Azores and the trip was through very warm climates and calm waters. The first cool weather was encountered on the evening of the 9th and the end of the voyage was definitely "cool". The warm weather was appreciated by approximately 90 of our men who slept on deck during the voyage. This organization was the last to debark and left the ship at 1300 hours, arriving at Camp Myles Standish at 1600 hours on the 10th of October. 14 Officers and 243 Enlisted Men were transferred from the organization on the 10th of October during process of deactivation leaving Capt. Horace W. Breece and S/Sgt. Del J. Kinney remaining as cadre. On the 11th of October deactivation was completed with all personnel transferred from the unit.
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