S: Capt. William Henry Mayer His Journey Through History By Rebecca "Mayer" Alm
FC: His Journey Through History | Capt. William Henry Mayer | By Rebecca "Mayer" Alm
1: This Book Is Dedicated to Captain William Henry Mayer | On this journey I never expected to take, I found a man that could speak for a generation. This man, proved that, when it is required, you can do incredible things. It also reminded me, you may never know what a person has lived through and how it has affected them and the people they have touched. I never knew my Grandpa had such a history and think it would have been interesting to know the man I discovered. I knew the old fisherman who always had a beer and a cigarette in his hand, telling us blue jokes that never should have hit the ears of a 7 yr old . I didn't know him as the rest of my family did, and that is probably why this took hold of me with such a passion. I thought I was working with a limited amount of material and that this would be a small quick project, but the more I dug, the more I uncovered the incredible historical events he was part of. Every time I sit down I find something new, hopefully I always will. From a history dating to the early days of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, to the swamp lands of Louisiana, from Texas to Oklahoma and Washington State, we follow his story. He followed his path with the confidence built on years of attaining each goal he set for himself. Like the men of that time, he was trained from a young age to hold honor and reputation high in his esteem. For when his time came, he was prepared to join his peers and come to the aid of a world in need. He joined his crew and traveled to England to do his part to defeat Hitler's Nazis. After surviving 26 missions he returned to finish his education and settle into family life. He, like many men, felt were just doing what they had to and never wanted to speak about it again. Some felt used and forgotten for the heroic deeds they had done. Some were a mixture of both. In part, I wrote this book to honor his deeds, to share with all who read it the dangers he faced, and to commend him publicly for his steadfast duty and honor in "just doing his part". The other reason was because I love my dad, and am so grateful to the man who instilled in me the strength his father gave him. During this, I also discovered new friends and kindred spirits in the grandchildren of grandpa's crew. I have met the granddaughter of his belly gunner, James Pita, who shares my passion and works at the EAA. The family of Bernard Berman, the navigator, was excited to make this connection. Hopefully the rest will surface. Thank You Grandpa
2: Mother | Father | Grand Father | Grand Father | Grand Mother | Grand Mother | William Henry Mayer | Henry Mayer | Rose T.Daas | Frank Mayer | Eva Klein | William Daas | Mary Wiesenhoefer | Georg Mayer | Margaretha Kaersch | Nicholaus Klein | Elizabeth Bienemann | Peter J Daas | Caroline Quast | Ferdinand Wiesenhoefer | Caroline Theine | Let's start back where he started With a little Genealogy | Emil Stippich | John Stippich | Catharine Wehle | Frank Mayer came over from Germany in 1852 and worked in Wauwatosa for the Pabst Brewery. He was also one of the early settlers of the city. Soon he started his own Market Garden, on the property that covered what is now Ludington Ave. to the river in Wauwatosa. Frank was also one of the first investors of the Wauwatosa Savings and Loan. | Emil | Henry
3: Henry and Emil were best friends. Rose used to joke that, not many people have a picture of their 1st and 2nd husbands as friends. | Henry | Bob and Bill Mayer | Rose worked at her father's bar in Wauwatosa and it was jokingly said Henry was allowed to marry Rose despite the fact he was drinking up all the profits. | Bill was the second of Rose and Henry's 4 children, born on November 23 1916. Bob, Bill, Margaret and Henry lived on Ludington Ave. His father Henry passed away from kidney failure in 1922. Rose remarried in 1926. Emil Stippich and Rose added Theodore to the family in 1930. They remained on the farm and watched the city grow around them. | Henry Mayer
4: Bill attended Wauwatosa Junior High School from 1931 to 1939. He then attended Wauwatosa Senior High School, now known as Wauwatosa East, from 1932 to 1935.
5: The family frequently took trips to Bark Lake to enjoy the country.
6: During the time he attended Wauwatosa High he was heavily involved in their high-caliber football team. Playing Center, along with 10 other members, he took the school to a nearly undefeated season and took the Suburban League without letting many of their rivals score even one point. They made newspaper headlines many times in their high school careers. | Later he would play for his infantry division.
8: Bill attended Marquette University 1935-1940 completing 5 years with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering. He worked for Spring City Foundry while attending Marquette | While attending Marquette, Bill was likely inducted into the Holy Name Society. Its roots go back to the Crusades in 1274, where the Dominicans preached the belief in the power of the Holy Name of Jesus. The Society was first officially recognized in the 15th century and still has initiates today. Bill was an active member for at least 31 years as represented by the anniversary lapel pin .
9: SPECIFICATIONS FOR A MAN To respect my country, my profession, and myself. To be honest and fair with my fellow man as I expect them to be honest and square with me. To be a loyal citizen of the United States of America. To speak of it with praise an act always as a trustworthy custodian of its good name. To be a man whose name carries prestige wherever it goes. To base my expectations of a reward on a solid foundation of service rendered. To be willing to pay the price of success in honest effort. To look upon my work as an opportunity to be seized with joy and made the most of, and not as painful drudgery to be reluctantly endured. To remember that success lies within myself, my own brain, my own ambition, my own courage and determination. To expect difficulties and force my way through them. To turn hard experience into capital for future use. To believe in my profession heart and soul. To carry an air of optimism in the presence of those I meet. To dispel ill temper with cheerfulness. Kill doubts with a strong conviction, and reduce active friction with an agreeable personality. To make a study of my business. To know my profession in every detail. To mix brains with my effort, and use system and method in my work. To find time to do every needful thing by never letting time find me doing nothing. To hoard days as a miser hordes dollars. To make every hour bring me dividends, increased knowledge or healthful recreation. To keep my future unmortgaged by debts. To save as well as earn. To cut out expensive amusements until I can afford them. To steer clear of dissipation, and guard my health of body and peace of mind as a precious stock in trade. Finally to take a good grip on the joy of life. To play the game like a man. To fight against nothing so hard as my own weakness, and endeavor to grow, in strength, a gentleman, a Christian. So I may be courteous to man, faithful to friends, true to God, a fragrance in the path I tread. William Henry Mayer Dear Bill, Read this often and you can't go wrong. Mother
10: Bill and Adelaide had known each other for a years by the time the war in Europe started. She lived next door to the current family home on Bark Lake. Emil Stippich had a place on the lake as well, two doors down from Lermans Pub, and had been bringing the family to the lake on the weekends. | Billy Daas's Buffet in Wauwatosa, interior on opposite page
11: Things Started Changing in 1939 For the Cities of the US | As you walked down the street you saw posters calling for Support and Recruitment, even in his local haunts! | You saw the Headlines of the Newspapers. | They were very effective! | The whole country was rallied into switching gears to support the war effort. Gas and sugar were just some of the items rationed to help in the support of the thousands of troops we sent overseas. | In 1941 Bill made the commitment to follow his brother Robert and help in the war effort. He had to say goodbye to his family, friends and his Tutie.
14: April 9, 1941, Bill enlisted in the US Army and was assigned to the 127th infantry division at Camp Livingston in Pineville Louisiana. | "Les Terribles" the 127th's Motto | U.S. Army Sharpshooter Weapons Qualification Badge With Rifle Bar Pistol Bar | U.S. Army Expert Weapons Qualification Badge With Rifle Bar
15: He chose Intelligence to specialize in. featured above | Also lent his football skills to the Division Team | Army Transportation Corps Insignia
16: this badge was awarded to those troops who participated in the Louisiana Army Maneuvers of 1941. | The Historic 1941 Louisiana Maneuvers | After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the government leaders in America thought that the United States could become involved in a war. The military was expanding and needed a place to hold a large exercise. Louisiana seemed like a good place. General Lesley McNair and Colonel Mark Clark, using a Louisiana road map, laid out the maneuver area. It involved 20,000,000 acres secured from 94,000 landowners and covered 3,400 square miles from the Sabine River, east to the Calcasieu River and north to the Red River. In Colonel Robert S. Allen’s book, Lucky Forward, he calls the area “a 40 by 90 mile sparsely settled, chigger and tick infested bayou and pitch pine section between the Sabine and Red Rivers.” It would be the largest maneuver ever held at that time and would involve nearly half a million men and 19 divisions. Although the Army was starting to use tanks, some of the cavalry units were still using horses. Maneuvers were held in Louisiana in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1944, but the 1941 maneuver was the largest and was called, “The Big One.”
18: Enlisted in the US Army Air Corps Mar 27,1941 | Trained as an Aviation Cadet in Texas and Oklahoma for one year flying Timm N2T Tutor and the AT-7. He graduated from Pampa, TX.
20: After graduation from flight school, he was given his orders to fight, a promotion to 2nd Lieutenant and went to Washington State to train in the B-17.
21: In November 1943 he was cleared to pilot the B-17 in combat and met his crew in Nebraska to make the journey to England.
22: #1. 1941-3-27 Enlisted WWII Milwaukee, Wisconsin "Private" #2.Camp Grant, Rodchester, IL #3. Camp Livingston, Pineville, LO #4. Fort SAACC San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center #5. Randolf Field TX #6. Fort SAACC San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center Tulsa OK #7. 1942-7 Kelly Air Field, Texas #8. 1942-10 Tulsa, Oklahoma Aviation Cadet #9. 1942-12, Enid, Oklahoma #10. 1943-3-11 Pampa Texas Application for Commission #11. 1943-4-14 Randolph Field, Texas "2nd Lt" Call to fight, Flight Course Requirements Fulfilled #12. 1943-4-21 Pampa TX Pampa Flight School Graduation - served 2 yr 25 days in Army - Honorable Discharge from Army - Accepted Commissions to 2nd LT - Recommended for good conduct medal - received Pilot Card
23: #13. 1943-5 Moose Lake, Wash Trained with B-17F #14. 1943-6 Walla Walla, Washington training with B-17F requirements fulfilled for Co- Pilot for B-17F - Organization flying with 39th BG #15. 1943-7-21Ephrata Wash. Crew of the Peters Pride was completed #16. 1943-8-3 Geiger Field, Spokane, Wash. Travel To Europe #17. Grand Island, Nebraska #18. Detroit, MI #19. Syracuse, NY #20. 1943-8-26 Bangor, Maine #21. 1943-10-26 Zandor, New Found land #22. 1943-8-29 - Prestwick , Scotland #23. Stony, Stratford Bovington #24. 1943-11-14 - Bury St. Edmond's till 1944-4-16
24: Getting there was no pleasure cruise. Airmen, soldiers and supplies were ferried over in convoys by the thousands using every commercial and military ship available. All commercial shipping was suspended during the war. All convoys were escorted by Navy destroyers, always on the lookout for the 2,500 U-boat submarines constantly hunting the convoys. By the end of the war 1.5 million men and women would be stationed in Great Britain or would pass on through to fight towards Germany. | It is unclear if our crew went with the convoys or flew their plane to England, which was a common occurrence.
25: The Airfront | RAF and USAAF dotted the coastline and covered the lower half of the Island in order to put forth the Allied Airfront. The many cities and towns where the air bases were established date back far into history, so care was needed to not destroy what they were trying to save. After landing in Scotland they were transported to London by rail. This gave them a chance to see and feel the reality of what the English were living through with the Biltz. They boarded the trains buses to their assigned stations and left the big city for the pastoral countryside. | Some destruction from the Blitz can still be seen today. Old Coventry Cathedral
26: Bury St. Edmond's Suffolk, England | Bury St. Edmund's was, at the time, a moderate sized town with farming, factories and small businesses. For many years the town was known for brewing and malting for "Greene King Brewery" and for sugar refining. The base was located on the east side of the town. Raugham Tower was the flight coordinator and the main head quarters for the 94th BS. The crew was assigned a barrack of its own. With many other crews, all on different shifts, it was necessary to maintain a home for each crew. The barracks were half cylinder corrugated steel buildings with little or no insulation. Each had a small stove on each end, one for the enlisted men and one for the officers who had a separate area towards the back of the building. On weekends the soldiers were allowed to go into town and would be followed by local children asking for sweets or gum. The food in town might have been a draw as well as the pubs, but the food served to the crews on the morning of their flights was made extra special in consideration that it might very well be their last. They felt a visit to the Chaplain was mandatory before they would take off. Many went to confession and the Chaplain was on the tarmac blessing them as they departed. | Each "drip" on the runway was a docking bay or "hardstand" for each plane. B St. E had 50 at the time of this map but by the end of the war they had 72. Every plane had a flight crew and a Ground crew, When the plane was not flying it was being taken apart, refitted and reassembled for the next mission. It is estimated that 37.5% of planes were operational for missions at one time. The exceptional ground crews had close to 50% operational.
27: Raugham Tower painting Photo above from Bill | The quiet of the mornings in the rural towns in England and Scotland were as peaceful as a Sunday afternoon picnic back home. When the Missions geared up to take flight, around dawn, the peace of that day was replaced with the thunder of 50 B-17 bombers taxiing and taking off. 200 V9 engines with 1,200 horsepower, each one louder than 8 Harley Davidson's, made the country side vibrate with the roar. The wind they produced frequently broke branches and it was dangerous to be within 500 yards. Planes needed to get in the air as fast as possible to reach their assembly point on time so a bomber took off every thirty seconds, No exceptions! The airborne Fortresses circled the air field until the whole group was in place. Then they flew to meet up with the rest of the formation. The majority of operations were carried out during daylight hours and would run 4 to12 hrs, averaging around 8 hrs. Quiet returned to the pastoral setting, and only the sounds of the ground crews repairing the damaged planes remained. As the return time approached, the whole air field became silent and watchful to see which crews would return and in what shape.
28: Life on Base at the 410th | The Chapel | The Barracks | The Red Cross Club mobile | KP potato peeling | Communal site A
29: 100th mission Celebration | 410th fall 43 bombardiers | Munitions Dump | Interrogation at 410 | Recreation Football at Rougham
30: 8th Air Force Bomber Command 94th Bombardment Group 410th Bombardment Squadron The 94th Bombardment Group (Heavy] was activated June 15 1942 at McDill Field FL. They were transferred to the Eighth Air Force 4th Combat Bombardment Wing covering the north aerial attack points from England and Scotland in1943. It was composed of 331st, 332nd, 333rd and 410th Bombardment Squadrons, the group tail code was a "Square-A". During its time in England, the 94th BG (H) mounted a total of 324 operational missions, the first on 13th May 1943 and the last on 21st April 1945. The missions comprised 8884 sorties and a total bomb tonnage of 18,924 tons was dropped. A total of 153 aircraft were listed Missing In Action (MIA). The group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations for operations at Regensburg on 17th Aug 1943 and at Brunswick on 11th January 1944. | The 94th's Motto was "Cunning - Rugged - Outrageous" | 94th Bombardment Group | 410th Bombardment Squadron
31: Because many of servicemen had never been abroad before, the War Department sent with them a pamphlet called Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain. This pamphlet was designed to familiarize these servicemen with life in Britain - the history, culture, even the slang. The pamphlet also encouraged the men to get along with the British to help defeat Hitler. It is filled with great advice like “Don't be a show off,” “NEVER criticize the King or Queen,” and “The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea. It's an even swap.” “Don't be misled by the British tendency to be soft-spoken and polite. The English language didn't spread across oceans and over the mountains and jungles and swamps of the world because these people were panty-waists.” The pamphlet concludes by telling the servicemen that while in Great Britain, their slogan should be “It is always impolite to criticize your hosts; it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies.” | A common phrase uttered by the English "The Yanks are overpaid, oversexed and over here."
32: The B-17 | The B-17 was designed by the Boeing Aircraft Corporation of Seattle, Washington. When the US entered WWII huge orders flooded into Boeing. The "F" was the first B-17 variant to be produced by all of the "B.V.D." companies (Boeing, Lockheed/Vega, and Douglas). Because of the pressing demand for the Flying Fortress, Boeing provided blueprints and cooperation for the B-17 to be built at the Douglas plant in Long Beach and the Vega plant in Burbank. Altogether, they would turn out 3,405 B-17s: 2,300 by Boeing. The first B-17F flew in May, 1942. They cost $238,329 US dollars. B-17G had two major improvements, the addition of the nose guns and the addition of double guns for each turret. This version fairly bristled with defensive firepower: 13 Browning .50 caliber machine guns: chin, dorsal, ventral, and tail turrets each mounted a pair of guns (8), left- and right- side guns in the cheeks and waist, and a single, rear-firing gun on the top of the fuselage made 13. No wonder Luftwaffe pilots suffered from "Vier Motor Schreck" (four-engine fear) They covered the air in every direction for 100 yards. Put them in formation and miles of the sky became deadly for the enemy aircraft. These armaments were necessary because the bombers job was to fly straight through to the target and could not perform tight aerial turns as the fighter did to avoid or attack. Imagine if they could have. Another reason the B-17 was called the Flying Fortress was its ability to remain in flight with incredible damage. Its four engines gave it the capability to stay airborne with the complete loss of one engine. Many times damaged planes limped home with only 2 engine running, pushed well past their max limits. The heaviest bomb load carried by a B-17 was 8,000 lb. The average bomb load dropped in World War II was between 4,000 lb and 5,000 lb. Top speed was 315 MPH.
33: The Peter's Pride The B-17 "F" assigned to the Ferguson/Mayer Crew in December of 1943 was the "Peter's Pride", serial # 42-5950. One of the 72 Flying Fortresses at Bury St. Edmond's. In January 1944, Peter's Pride was upgraded with the "G" modifications and would take a beating with them on every mission. The plane was said to be named by the crew chief. About 40% of the B-17's flown in the war were not named and had no art. She was originally named "My Devotion", it was painted darkly on the nose but when it was given to a new crew it was renamed. Many commanders only allowed art to be temporary applied for photo shoots, but it had to be removed by the next morning. The Army was very strict about photographing during the war so many planes were never photographed, but the above color photo is what she looked like. This airship was delivered to Long Beach 28/5/43, and assigned to the 410BS/94BG [GL-P] Raugham 12/7/43. A full description including colors is given in the missing crew log, above painting is accurate. | Only actual image of the Peter's Pride
34: FERGUSON / MAYER CREW The following Officers and Enlisted Men having reported for duty and assigned to the 94th Bomb Group, PAC par 6, SO #56, Hq. 2900th CCRC GP. dated 13 November 1943 are further assigned as indicated: 410TH BOMBARDMENT | 2nd Lt. JOHN H. FERGUSON, (P) 2nd Lt. WILLIAM H. MAYER, (CP) 2nd Lt. BERNARD(NMI)BERMAN, (N) 2nd Lt. CLARENCE W. WALDORF (B) S/Sgt. Clifford D. Stephens, (E) | This is the make-up of the Ferguson / Mayer crew upon arrival to the 94th Bomb Group. Crews were subject to change throughout their duty assignment. 1st Lt. J.H. Ferguson transferred out on 20 March’44. 1st Lt. W.H. Mayer transferred out on 13 April '44 after finishing 26 missions. S/Sgt. Pitas is noted by the 410th Sq. as having completed 30 Missions and being transferred out on 3 May 1944 so he would have finished up with another crew. | Sgt. James F. O’Neill, (AE) Sgt. Lloyd H. Brown, (R) Sgt. James J. Pitas, (AR) Sgt. Steve J. Takach, (G) Sgt. Fred C. Wasmer, (G) | Later a Plane Engineer / Top Turret gunner and a Radio Operator were added. It is believed to be the two on the right and left of the bottom row, names unknown.
35: Without the dedication and pride of each man in the maintenance crew the air war would never have gotten off the ground. | After working all day and night to repair each plane. The second half of each crew began to prep their planes for the upcoming missions hours before dawn. Maintenance Crews began loading the bombs and cleaning windows, checking oil pressure and propellers well before the pilots and crews were even woken up for breakfast and briefings. | Master Sargent. Peter Waichulis Poss. crew chief of the Peter's Pride and who it was named by. | All images from the Archives
36: Time spent between November 11 and December 4th was adjusting to life in England, time difference, setting up residence, and studying the attack strategies and routines of the base. Getting your plane and familiarizing yourself with it, knowing the maintenance crew and recertifying, proving to your new commander you were capable. | Some of you won't come back from this. Some of you will, but you'll be the lucky ones." a Briefing officer in the European Airfront | "Consider yourself dead. | In briefings Officers were told: Target- city and what they were targeting specifically and why. Secondary target, other targets of opportunity if 1st or 2nd objectives cannot be hit. 0 hour Type of Formation - and placement within it. Assembly Point "AP" Route to Target, Initial Point "IP", Rally Point "RP". Route Back Home Weather Intelligence - Allied Fighter Escort, Enemy Fighters, Flack, If you are forced down in Enemy Territory - Destroy Equipment, If taken Prisoner - Give no information, only Name, Rank and Serial Number. | 3 am, officers and enlisted men were mustered for the Mission Preparations. Breakfast, Briefings, and Dressing | Images from Archives
37: Most High God, who ridest upon the wings of the wind and makest the clouds thy chariots: We commit to thine especial care the airmen of our flying force. Give them a clear eye and a cool mind; nerve them to meet confidently the times of their swift and solitary trial; protect them in brief moments of sudden peril; and if need be, steel their spirits to meet death unafraid. Grant that through all vicissitude their spirits may mount up on the wings like eagles; vouch safe to them in the exercise of their newest skills, the gallant and generous soul of chivalry; and in thy good providence return them to the ways of earth with the secrets of an upper air. Amen | Bill's Airforce issue Medal of the Holy Scapular or Mt. Carmel. This medallion is very well worn and was probably with him on each mission, and for years after.
40: Assembly at 25 Thousand Feet | It took an average of 2 hours for all planes to get airborne. As each plane took off they would circle and rise to meet the planes ahead for Assembly. The coordination needed to assemble "at peak strength", more than 2,000 four-engine bombers and more than 1,000 fighters on a single mission was as a massive organizational effort. Several Bombing Wings were created by the 48 bombing groups in the 8th Air force during WWII. Each Wing, which acts like a wave of bombers, is comprised of 3 squadrons in a specified formation. Formations changed and evolved to accommodate the growing number of planes added as the war progressed. During the time Bill flew with the 94th / 410th, December 1943 to April 1944 the formation only had minor changes. They were created in sets of three. Three squadrons of three groups of six to seven planes, were set on three different levels. The formation had to be arranged so each Plane had its own air space, if they flew to close to the jet stream of another plane they would not be able to maintain control. They circled the skies until the aircraft formed up. Any straggling aircraft would attach themselves to a nearby squadron. Then the Lead Wing would turn for their IP where they would begin to line up for their bombing run. | View from Above | Profile View | Head on View | 1 Element Formation
41: Col. Moore frequently took squadrons up for practice flights to assess their formation. The safety and effectiveness of a squadron was determined by the tightness of its formation. Each formation was designed to maximize the gun range and coverage for each aircraft, covering the skies for 1,000 ft in every direction. If you were too loose in formation, you became an immediate target for the Luftwaffe. When patrolling the skies, the Germans would choose their targets by whether the formation could defend against their attack. That is the major reason that some squadrons' experiences were devastating and others in the same mission were Milk Runs. The Luftwaffe would hunt the skies like wolves looking for the stragglers.
42: Initial Point "IP" | After the complicated and sometimes harrowing Assembly, the Combat Wings would continue to the "IP". The Initial Point was a landmark or town that was close to the Target. The groups would make their turn towards the target at different times to line themselves up behind the lead squadrons for the bombing run. | Target
43: Rally Point "RP" | Target "Bombs Away" | This was the most dangerous portion of the mission. The flight formations were designed to give the most gun coverage to each aircraft. However when the turn for the bombing run was made the formation was broken, they were not even able to take evasive action. Once on the run, they had to hold the plane steady through Flack and Fighter, wind and weather. The Pilot was in charge of handling the aircraft on the bombing run but most of the time the co-pilot needed to help keep the plane on course. One more thing to note, although later models of bombers have an auto pilot and power assist steering the B-17 did not. The plane was kept on course by the continued brute strength and perseverance of the Pilots. | As the lead squadron approached the Target, the bombardier was given temporary controls to the aircraft. This was for minor adjustments in the aiming of the drop. Once " Bombs Away" was called the Lead, High and Low squadrons again took a slightly different turn to angle themselves to be back in formation by the Rally Point "RP". Only then were they able to defend optimally. Often, after a hard run, with many casualties, the formations were not complete. In the chaos of battle, many ships attached themselves to the nearest formation for survival. | Bombs Away!!!
44: Air Time in the European Corridor Bold delineates combat and non combat flying December 1943 4F,6F,10G,13F,15F,16F,19F,20F,21G,24F,27F,28F,30F,31F "G" and "F" are the plane type of B-17 all further flights took place on B-17G January 1944 4,5,7,3,9 11,27,28,30,31 February 1944 2,4,6,8,9,11,13,19,20,21,22,24,25,29 March 1944 1,2,3,4,15,16,17,18,22,25,26,28,29,30 April 1944 1,7,8,9 - - Cert of completion 26 missions | MONDAY, 13 DECEMBER 1943 Mission #154 Plane: B-17 F Time in air: 8 hr 15 min Weather: Heavy Overcast, -42 degrees USAAF - Aircraft: 5-1-140 Personnel: 4 KIA, 16 WIA, 50 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 7-3-17 Bomb Tonnage: 1146.6 The 94th (BG) joined the 3rd Combat Wing, sending 2 groups over Keil, Germany. "A" group in high position and a composite group was attached to the 385th flying in low position. 466 aircraft targeted the shipping yards, sinking 5 torpedo-armed Schnellboote (known to the Allies as E-boats). The remaining 61 were Bombers forced to break formation due to heavy frosting and poor visibility and hit targets of opportunity in Hamburg. They encountered heavy flak at the target and on the return trip from a small island. "A" group was attacked by 30 fighters but a tight formation made the Luftwaffe decide to break off at 600 yards. They received damage to 12 aircraft but no losses for the day. This mission had many firsts: The first time any mission had been escorted both to and from their targets by the Ninth Air Force's P-38 and P-47 fighter planes. The first time fighter planes reaching their escort range and the first time more than 600 aircraft were dispatched in battle. Not to mention the first mission for 2nd Lt William H Mayer and crew. Because the bombing missions required so many planes to be effective-"hundreds", many bombing groups were sent on the same mission. On this day, the crew of the Peter's Pride were in good company. Also on their first mission, they shared the sky with the 445th Bombing Group commanded by . . James Stewart, aka Jimmy Stewart! They also flew with him on a few subsequent missions as well. | THURSDAY, 16 DECEMBER 1943 Mission #156 Plane B-17 F Time in air: 7 hr 10 min Weather: Solid Overcast USAAF - Aircraft 10-4-155 Personnel: 6 KIA, 8 WIA, 104 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 18-11-11 Bomb Tonnage: 1508.0 535 Bombers were dispatched to target the seaport area at Bremen, Germany. The 94th sent 2 groups, "A" flying lead and "B" flying High position. Though the crews could not see their target, the Pathfinder technology had the bombs fall close to the marker. Trails of dense black smoke were seen rising through the clouds. Enemy fighter opposition was weak, flak was intense and accurate with 23 of our Fort's taking damage but the 94th had no losses. Their escorts, the 9th's P-47s and P-38s, had a job to do patrolling the skies filled with 535 bombers. | Key to air craft stats USAAF: X- Destroyed; E- Damaged beyond repair; D- Damaged Enemy Aircraft: X-Destroyed; P-Probable; D-Damaged Example 12-5-124 | Upper, bombing run on Bremen port Left, Jimmy Stewart | o | o | Aircraft in the lowest right of formation is nicknamed the " Purple Heart Corner " because of the ease of attack. | "B"group High | "B"group Low
45: MONDAY, 20 DECEMBER 1943 Mission #159 Plane B-17 F Time in air: 7 hr 10 min Weather USAAF - Aircraft 27-3-247 Personnel: 9 KIA, 41 WIA, 270 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 21-14-23 Bomb Tonnage: 1099.6 472 Bombers, 16 from the 94th, were dispatched to target the port area and city center of Bremen, Germany. Enemy attacks were concentrated on stragglers. Twin engine fighters were observed firing rockets. Flack was accurate. Even with the P-47 and P-38 escorts discouraging the Luftwaffe the 94th received damage in 11 aircraft but no losses for the day. Window-"metal foil strips" or "chaff" is used for the first time on an 8th AF mission. When dropped from an airplane, it provided an echo which confused radar locating equipment. It was primarily used to protect bombers in the extremities. | Chaff or Window | SATURDAY, 18 DECEMBER 1943 The men had been saving their candy, gum and cookies rations, buying, making and secretly testing each toy, satisfying their inner child, in preparation for the visit from the children of Dr. Barnardos Orphanage. It is not surprising that the men threw themselves into a happy cause. The children were overjoyed when Father Christmas climbed out of a B-17 with the sack stuffed with presents, each one beautifully wrapped with the name of a child on it. As Father Christmas handed out the presents, the talents of the men were shining. Singing and playing music, dancing and telling stories were just a few of the many talents that were enjoyed during the evening. After the feast the children were bussed back to the orphanage with happy hearts and tired eyes. The men slept peacefully as well, at least until roll out for the next mission.
46: FRIDAY, 24 DECEMBER 1943 Mission #164 Plane B-17 F Time in air: 4 hr 45 min Weather: Light Clouds to Clear Skies USAAF - Aircraft 0-2-85 Personnel: 0 KIA, 4 WIA, 0 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 0-0-0 Bomb Tonnage: 1744.6 23 V-weapon sites in 14 towns on the Pas de Calais area of France "northern tip of France" are targeted. The 94th sent 2 elements flying lead and Low. 670 Bombers hit the targets. This is the largest number of aircraft carrying out attacks of any Eighth Air Force mission to date and the first of its major strikes against missile sites "V-weapons". Flack was heavy and accurate. The heavies are escorted by P-38s, P-47s and P-51s. There was no opposition from the Luftwaffe, and it was said that once again the skies were full of Yanks! | THURSDAY, 30 DECEMBER 1943 Mission #169 Plane B-17 F Time in air: 9hr 25min Weather: Heavy Clouds, Overcast USAAF - Aircraft 23-5-117 Per:11 KIA, 19 WIA, 200 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 12-4-9 Bomb Tonnage: 1394.0 The port area and oil refinery at Ludwigshafen, Germany are targeted. It was the center of research on oil, rubber, explosives and chemicals. The 94th sent 2 groups. "B" group lead the 4th Combat Wing using the pathfinder technique. Bombing occurred through heavy clouds, but blue-green smoke was seen rising from the target area. The port was bombed with the crews experiencing very little enemy opposition. 25 Luftwaffe were seen attacking the 94th but it seems they were struck by the holiday spirit as they fired from afar, then did a victory role and headed for home. 658 aircraft attacked the targets. The mission is escorted on the return by P-38s, P-47s and P-51s. 1 94th aircraft crash-lands at St. Marys-in-the-Marsh. One man was lost to flack burst on his 24th mission. | FRIDAY, 31 DECEMBER 1943 Mission #171 Plane: B-17 F Time in air: 9 hr 45 min Weather: Cloudy USAAF - Aircraft 23-10-108 Per: 9 KIA, 36 WIA , 231 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 17-13-27 Bomb Tonnage: 682.4 Four different targets in France are hit. The 94th sent 21 planes in 2 groups. 18 flew High in 4th CW and 3 joined the 447th. 257 Bombers hit the Chateau Bernard Airfields and Now Parvaud Airport in Cognac, France. Cloud cover was heavy and the targets were difficult to spot, but targets were hit. Most attacks were not concentrated and were delivered as if by inexperienced pilots. The 94th had unfortunate losses with intense flack and enemy fighters. 94th aircraft crash-lands in Manston MIA B-17 42-6037, 42-31110-Pacific's Dream, 42-37820 are all lost. | "18,000 Flack" | o | O | O | "B" group Low | "B" group Low | "B" group Lead | Saturday, 25 DECEMBER 1943 Both the Germans, English, and US forces Stood Down in observance of the Christmas Holiday!
47: TUESDAY, 4 JANUARY 1944 Mission #174 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hr 10 min Weather: Cold -50 Degrees USAAF - Aircraft 17-5-127 Personnel: 22 KIA, 53 WIA, 170 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 4-12-4 Bomb Tonnage: 1069.0 486 Bombers are dispatched to the port area and city center at Kiel. The 94th send a full group of 20 that lead the 4th Combat Wing, and 8 joined a composite group. Many planes and personnel had problems with the extreme cold, bomb bay doors froze open and people got severe frostbite. There was moderate-heavy flak, but chaff dropped by lead planes reduced its severity. Targets were successfully hit. This is the first CARPETBAGGER operation from Tempsford, England on this night. US airplanes begin flying supplies from UK to underground resistance forces in W Europe, this operation being coded CARPETBAGGER. 94th Bomb Group MIA B-17 42-30162 -the Piccadilly Virgin | FRIDAY, 7 January, 1944 Mission #178 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hr 35 min Weather: Clouds USAAF - Aircraft 12-4-122 Personnel: 14 KIA, 13WIA, 121MIA Enemy Aircraft: 30-6-17 Bomb Tonnage: 1001.0 420 Bombers hit the I G Farben Industrial Oil Refinery Plant at Ludwigshafen, Germany with 6 x 120 lb bombs each. Were unobserved due to cloud cover. Black smoke was seen through the clouds at 1,800 ft. Heavy enemy fighters, escorts were praised by the Bomber crews for handling the fighters. | WEDNESDAY, 5 JANUARY 1944 Mission #176 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hr 55 min Weather: USAAF - Aircraft 11-2-49 Personnel: 22 KIA, 21 WIA, 110 MIA Enemy Aircraft: 50-10-9 Bomb Tonnage: 266.2 112 B-17s hit the Merignac Airfield in Bordeaux, France; The 94th sent 23 aircraft, 20 as a group in lead and 3 joined composite groups. On the Bombing Run the groups were hit with determined force, continuously attacking for 40 min through the run and outbound to the French coast. The Fortress Gunners took their toll but the Lufwaffe was in the mood for a fight. The flack was light but deadly accurate. 94th gunners claimed 11 fighters destroyed - 4 prob - 4 damaged. 410th BG B-17 MIA: 42-30112 LIL BUTCH, 42-30200 SLO-TIME SALLY, According to Mayer, his toughest combat experience occurred during the attack on an airfield near Bordeaux, France. FW 190s picked us up right over the target, he said. As we arrived we could see them taking off from the air strip along the shore and getting over the target area, waiting to pounce on us. We went in and dropped our bombs and then they hit us. They came one after another for about an hour straight. They came in head-on, passed through and under the formation, turned around and came in from the tail for another crack at us. That's about all the gas they had so then one group would go down and another group would come up and take us on. They kept working in relays almost all the way back. They knocked down both ships flying on our wing and two others in the group. But they didn't get by undamaged. The gunners in my ship alone received credit for two ships destroyed. | "50 degrees below" | "Rough Fighters" | Oil refinery plant at Ludwigshafen after bombing | O | "A" group High | o | "B" group Lead
48: TUESDAY, 11 JANUARY 1944 Mission #182 Plane: B-17 G Time: 7 hr 30 min Weather: Bad USAAF - Aircraft 65-2-54 Personnel: 0 KIA, 5WIA, 176MIA Enemy Aircraft: 247-68-141 does not include planes lost by bombers and fighters who did not make it back! Bomb Tonnage: 666.0 Three aviation industry targets in Germany are targeted. The 94th sent 21 bomber in the Lead of the 3rd CW including 2 equipped with Pathfinder plus 6 who joined the composite crew of the 447th. 620 Bombers took off in heavy rain and clouds. Weather worsened as they headed to GR. The Recall was given but the 94th was 25 miles from the target in Brunswick and since they could not verify the Recall and visual bombing was possible, they proceeded with the run. The Luftwaffe had good enough weather to launch an estimated 500 fighters to defend their aircraft plants. This should not have been a surprise since they were being built and stored at this location. Unable to positively identify the target on the first run the 94th executed a 360 degree turn and realigned for another pass. The other groups dropped inaccurately on the first run and headed for home. The 94th was now alone. The Luftwaffe pounced. There was nothing to do but hunker down and ride it out trying to take as many out as you could. They dropped 73% of their bombs within 1,000 ft of the aiming point. A great success but with high losses. Three fighter production facilities, Oschersleben, Halberstadt and Brunswick were destroyed or crippled. The Germans had concentrated one of their most important ME 110 plants, producing about 55 ME 110s a month, or about 37% of the production of this fighter and 20% of the total output of twin engine fighters. The many fires left burning in the main assembly area as our bombers turned home were a testimony of the destruction at the plant. 60 bombers and 5 fighters were lost, 8 from the 94th including one with the 447th. Every 94th aircraft came home with massive damage except one. The 94th gunners were credited with 11 destroyed - 6 prob. - 7 damaged. The only 410th to be lost was 42-30248 LASSIE COME HOME | "Air Battle" | Flack pulled from under the right seat after it blasted through the bottom of the aircraft. It was pulled 6 inches from where Bill Mayer's keester sat. | Excerpt from James F. O'Neil News paper clip | Excerpts from Diary Stories of the day After the target, 18 Me 110s queued up out of range and shot rockets into the formation following with 20mm shells. The enemy would gang-up on the crippled for a sure kill. Pilots were doing violent evasive action and several times I noticed clouds of 20mm shell explosions where we had been just seconds before. It looked like the group was being annihilated one by one. About 90 miles from the coast, 6 P-47s suddenly appeared and their presence seemed to squelch the blood lust of the enemy. One ship from the 447th went down with the Commander. It was blazing fiercely from waist back. A Me 110 was following it down, guns firing toe to toe with the tail gunner who finally scored against the German. As the German caught fire it seemed he was saying, "Now how did that happen?" The flames ate their way up the fortress then it suddenly nosed up and fell off on its back to go straight down. There were no chutes. | "The Sky was full of Airplanes, Spitting Fire, and Exploding Rockets!" Sgt. Prater | Damage received on Brunswick Mission. Archive Photo | o | Composite Group
49: The most important purpose of the German Air force today is the defense of Germany itself, and an eighth of those fighter production factories enable it to maintain its uphill struggle. In this mission of January 11 we achieved a double victory because we struck a duel blow at the German Air force. By shooting down a tremendous number of German fighters we have greatly reduce the existing strength of the Luftwaffe, and by seriously damaging three important aircraft manufacturing plants, we have impaired her ability to recover this strength. If an operation such as this could be repeated at frequent intervals with equal results the German Air Force would be brought to its knees in a very short time. Gen. Doolittle | Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Unit Citation awarded.
50: TUESDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #214 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 8 hr 35 min Weather: Overcast USAAF - Aircraft 12-2-108 Personnel: 11KIA, 4WIA, 130MIA Enemy Aircraft: 1-3-0 Bomb Tonnage: 485.1 195 B-17s hit the marshaling yards at Frankfurt, Germany using blind-bombing techniques. The third Bombing run on the Main Railroad obliterating the rails. | FRIDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #208 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hr 40 min Weather: Overcast, Windy USAAF - Aircraft 20-3-359 Personnel: 7 KIA, 20WIA, 203MIA Enemy Aircraft: 4-0-1 Bomb Tonnage: 1984.0 633 Bombers attack railroad yards at Frankfurt/Main target, Giessen, Weisbalden, Germany. The 333rd lead 2 groups of 20 on this mission. This was the second heavy attack within a week for Frankfurt. In total Frankfort was hit with 900 tons from 841 Bombers. Enemy fighter opposition was weak but the US Fighters or "Little Friends" kept them at bay. Cross winds forced bombers to fly over flak concentrations with some casualties and considerable battle damage resulting. The weather also made it hard for the Squadrons to see each other as well. The 94th had a close encounter with a group of Liberators on a collision course with them. Crews noticed the lack of fighters attacking, possibly because of the Jan 11 mission. The Pathfinder equipment malfunctioned on the run so the 94th dropped on the smoke from an earlier drop. Bombing results were unobserved. | SUNDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #212 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hr 35 min Weather: Low Thick Clouds USAAF - Aircraft 4-2-50 Personnel: 7 KIA, 3WIA, 43MIA Enemy Aircraft: 3-3-0 Bomb Tonnage: 604.8 Airfields in France are targeted but weather forces 400+ bombers to abort the mission. 100 Bombers are dispatched against the Romilly-sur-Seine Air Depot, 21 Forts from the 94th lead the 60 Forts of the 4th Combat Wing in their drop on St Andre de L'Eure Airfield, 40 hit Evreux/Fauville Airfield. They used 500 pound "GP" General Purpose bombs at low altitude 19,000 feet. The 94th was not attacked this day but 30 to 40 fighters could be seen attacking groups ahead with Forts going down in quick succession. Flack was inaccurate accept above the target but the 94th had no losses on the day | Frankfurt Mission results | o | "B" group High | o | "A" group High | o | "A" group Lead
51: SUNDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #221 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 4 hr Weather: USAAF - Aircraft 12-2-108 Personnel: 11KIA, 4WIA, 130MIA Enemy Aircraft: 1-3-0 Bomb Tonnage: 485.1 V-weapon sites in the Pas de Calais area "North East tip" of France are hit; 41 aircraft were launched in 2 groups "A" group and "B" group joined the 416 B-17s to hit 12 sites holding V-weapons. "A" groups bombing was visual and not good due to malfunctioning equipment. But "B" Group had excellent results. "A" group experienced 3 fighters making a single pass on the way out, however the flack was mean and accurate, damaging 10 aircraft. one had to ditch in the channel. V-weapons, known in German as Vergeltungswaffen (German: "retaliatory weapons", "reprisal weapons"), were a particular set of long range artillery weapons designed for strategic bombing during WWII, particularly terror bombing and/or aerial bombing of cities. | SUNDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #226 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 9 hr 35 min Weather: Clear- good viability USAAF - Aircraft: 0-0-0 Personnel: 3KIA, 0WIA, 60MIA Enemy Aircraft: 15-15-10 Bomb Tonnage: 708.0 The planners devised a diversion to Keil as a Faint away from their real target of Tutow. A total of 1,000 bombers and 900 fighters are dispatched. A true Milestone moment. The first division took 314 aircraft to Keil drawing 80 German forces off. They were recalled due to weather but the ploy had already worked. 8 Minutes after the forces split the Main force was met by 90 Luftwaffe Fighters, who were met by the American Escorts. One group had scored over 40 victories. The 94th sent 2 groups with the 105 B-17s dispatched to the Tutow Airfield. "A" group dropped without incident but "B"group had to make a second pass to hit the primary and immediate area. There were 191 hits on Rostock's Aviation industry. This was a smaller offshoot of the day's accomplishments. On this day Aviation targets were chosen to be hit. The remaining 584 bombers hit industry in the Leipzig and Brunswick areas. The 94th's formation was so tight that they were an unfavorable target and had no engagements. There were 21 bombers and 4 fighters lost on the day but none from the 94th. | MONDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #228 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hr 20 min Weather: Clear USAAF - Aircraft: 16-7-105 Personnel: 24KIA, 20WIA, 163MIA Enemy Aircraft: 19-16-14 Bomb Tonnage: 1978.0 The 94th sent 2 groups with the 203 B-17's and 175 B-25's to target Diepholz Airfield. On this day the 94th was encased by P-47 escorts. A crewman said "It was like a shepherd guarding his flock, with one shepherd to each sheep! The wolves didn't have a chance." It was a beautiful day! "B" group had to make a second pass but results were good, the results of the day made the airfields completely unusable. There were 4 fighters seen by the armada but for some reason they didn't engage. | "No Ball" | Big Week Begins | Cold and clear weather was predicted for the last week of February 1944 and Operations became known as "Big Week". On the night of 19–20 February, the RAF bombed Leipzig. Eighth Air Force put up over 1,000 B-17s and B-24s and over 800 fighters and the RAF provided sixteen squadrons of Mustangs and Spitfires. In all, twelve aircraft factories were attacked, with the B-17s and B-24s. The raids on the German aircraft industry comprising much of "Big Week" caused so much damage that the Germans were forced to disperse aircraft manufacturing eastward, to safer parts of the Reich. | A Winter Storm kept everyone grounded for a week, giving the Commanders time to plan for their next Big Target. | With the good visibility our crews could see the countryside. Many remarked how hard it was to believe this was an industrial arsenal of war bent on world conquest! | o | "A" group High
52: FRIDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #233 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 11 hrs 5 min Weather: USAAF - Aircraft: 5-0-60 Personnel: 0KIA, 8WIA, 50MIA Enemy Aircraft: 23-11-15 Bomb Tonnage: 685.0 GP The final "Big Week" mission 35 craft from the 94th formed 2 groups and joined the 267 B-17s to hit the Messerschmitt aviation industry targets at Regensburg, As the bombing altitude of 17,500 feet was reached, Luftwaffe opposition was encountered. Flak was heavy at the target and 29 aircraft were damaged. This mission had full escorts and they effectively defended against the fighters. This was the longest flight for the "Peter's Pride" at 11 hrs 5 min. Flying over the country to the southeastern Germany. They could not see the target due to previous Combat Wings bombings. The 94th dropped into the center of the smoke column and headed home. The flight home was peaceful and they could enjoyed the German countryside. As they were returning over France, the peace was broken by a small barrage of flack that rained down on them at 14,000 ft. It sounded like hail on tin roof. They and many other groups were dangerously low on fuel as they reached England. Many planes had to make emergency landings wherever available. | "Beautiful Scenery" | THURSDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #233 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 10 hrs Weather: Sunny, Light Clouds USAAF - Aircraft: 5-0-60 Personnel: 0KIA, 8WIA, 50MIA Enemy Aircraft: 23-11-15 Bomb Tonnage: 685.0 GP 27 aircraft of the 94th joined the 295 Bombers targeting Tutow. 21 flew High in the 4th CW and 6 flew with a composite group. The target had cloud cover so they bombed the secondary target, the Heinkel Industry in Rotstock Germany. Flack was light and the few fighters they saw stayed back. The return was uneventful. | Rotstock, Germany Heikel Industry bombing | Regensburg Bombing | The 25th was the End of BIG WEEK, the Eighth dropped more tons of bombs this week than they dropped during the entire first year of operations. | o | "A" group Lead
53: TUESDAY, 29 FEBRUARY 1944 Mission #240 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 8 hrs Weather: USAAF - Aircraft: 1-0-54 Personnel: 0KIA, 4WIA, 10MIA Enemy Aircraft: 0-0-0 Bomb Tonnage: 685.0 GP 218 B- target an aircraft plant at Brunswick After the 7 losses from Jan 11th and the 5 from Feb 10th, the crews were missing their grim sense of humor. But possibly, a large group with escorts might make this mission more bearable. 31 planes launched from the 94th and all went as planned. Fighters did not engage and flack was meager to mean, but on the bomb run it was intense. The final line from this week, "WANTED! More missions like Brunswick February 29th 1944!" | FRIDAY, 3 MARCH 1944 Mission #246 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 6 hrs 45 min Weather: Extreme Overcast USAAF - Aircraft: 11-0-45 Personnel: 5KIA, 11WIA, 103MIA Enemy Aircraft: 3-1-1 Bomb Tonnage: 194.8 The 94th sent 31 Forts with 748 Bombers dispatched to industrial areas and aviation industry plants at Berlin, Erkner and Oranienburg but deteriorating weather and dense contrails force the formations to abort. The recall was given as the broiling clouds grew up to 35,000 ft and worsened. Large group recalls have their hazards and in bad weather the dangers increase. Each squadron needed to communicate with the command and authenticate the orders before they could begin the return. So each squadron would authenticate and make their turn while others waited for the authentication maintaining their heading. Add deteriorating weather with rain and wind and you have a recipe for disaster. Now add flack to the mix. Each lead would turn at their own time and in their own direction with little or no visibility creating close calls and collisions courses with whole squadrons. Chaos and havoc and hell were the words that came to mind when describing the event. As Erving Smith recalls, "Everything went fairly well until we met head on with another group. One ship went over us one went under and the same time, both so close I could see every detail. We were lucky to squeeze through but the ship and crew behind us were not so fortunate. The ship that passed under us hit my wingman head on. There was a blinding red flash as gasoline and bombs exploded simultaneously. Then, nothing but pieces of falling debris and a big ball of smoke that hung there until we pulled away. It was a hell of a sight making us all very sober." Forts and Liberators were going in every direction and the 94th never regained her formation. they returned home in ones and twos attaching themselves to any group returning. Before debriefing many gulped down the traditional double shot of the Flight Surgeons' medicinal whiskey. Losing a crew without bombing was bad enough, but the fact that this was the first Mission on Berlin, the Big "B", and it had failed and more over alerted the Germans of our target, was a huge blow. They would be fortifying the defenses to defend the prize city that Gerring said would "Never see a Bomb!" | SATURDAY, 4 MARCH 1944 Mission #247 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 8 hrs 05 min Weather: Extreme Overcast USAAF - Aircraft: 15-1-120 Personnel: 3KIA, 11WIA, 141MIA Enemy Aircraft: 6-2-3 Bomb Tonnage: 570.3 21 forts in "A" group and 7 in a composite group from the 94th joined the 502 B-17s that are dispatched back to Berlin to hit industrial areas in the suburbs of Berlin; bad weather forced aircraft to either turn back or hit targets of opportunity and only 1 wing attacked the primary target and a total of 249 bombs dropped. The 94th was recalled again but managed to drop on the smoke of the pathfinder at the secondary target. Escorts were excellent so attacks were light. The 94th had one fort lost and 25 damaged. none from the 410th. When they landed there was lots of brass and reporters to cover the first successful mission on Berlin. Later that week the men involved were invited to a viewing of the news reel they were featured in. There were mixed emotions, some were elated, some thought it was a bad dream. | "Recall" | "Recall" | "Every crew out there experienced first hand how it feels when one knows you're going to die." Erving Smith . | o | "A" group High | o | "B" group Low | o | "B" group Lead
54: WEDNESDAY, 8 MARCH 1944 Mission #252 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: ? Weather: USAAF - Aircraft: 37-3-228 Personnel: 4KIA, 1411WIA, 364MIA Enemy Aircraft: 63-17-19 Bomb Tonnage: 1059.5 The primary target is the ball bearing plant at Erkner, a suburb of Berlin; enemy opposition is fierce and 37 bombers and 16 fighters are lost. Only three 410th crews flew that day (8th). 410th B-17 MIA 42-5059 "Peter's Pride" Enemy flack set the tail on fire, crash-landed in Wieste, 17 miles W of Cloppenburg, Germany. (10POW); | According to Sgt. James Pitas, after their 17th mission, the crew took R&R from the 7th to the 14th of March at the country estate of a wealthy Englishman. They stayed in a mansion by the Thames and were served by the owner's staff. It is unclear if Ferguson was with them for R&R because he was transferred to the US just after this on the 20th. 2nd Lt William Mayer was promoted to 1st Lt on the 23rd. | While Ferguson/Mayer crew was on R&R, Peter's Pride was crewed by the Babbington crew until March 8th 1944. Lt. Babington P, 2Lt Norbey A. Overton CP, 2Lt Nicholas L. Papernik N, 2Lt William Davis B, T/Sgt Michael F. Rivera RO, T/Sgt Roy Hatcher TT, S/Sgt Billie B. Ivy BT, Sgt Allan V. Kangas RW, Sgt Rodney C. Shogren LW, Sgt John E. Liberg TG, | Rougham Tower | Back L to R: Pitas, Takach, Wasmer, Brown, O'Neill, Stepmens Front L to R: Berman, Waldorf, Ferguson, Mayer
55: The Ferguson / Mayer crew returned from R&R and found that their plane and replacement crew had been shot down. They thought there were no survivors. On March 8, 1944 the "Peter's Pride", 42-5950, also nicknamed "My Devotion", was flying a mission on Berlin bombing the ball bearing plant at Erkner when they took heavy flack from behind. The tail caught fire and she went down in Wieste (near Plantlünne). All 10 crew members bailed out safely but were detained by local hunters and farmers around Brunzwick, Zuider Zee, then handed over to the German military where they were POW's for 10 months until released by the Russian troops. | The End of the Peter's Pride | 5-28-1943 to 4-8-1944 10 months 10 days old | Archive Photos, not of the Peter's Pride but from 94th BG and representative of her damage. | Sgt. Sheridan of the replacement crew speaks of losing an engine (to fighters?), then a terrible two minutes before the pilot pulled out of a dive. Heading west toward East Anglia, they took flak at about 2000 feet flying in clouds over Hanover, hitting alongside the radio room. That took out 2 more engines. They tried to stretch it to Luxembourg but bellied in gear-up near Quackenbruck on what the crew said was Babington's smoothest landing ever. Farmers gathered and were bent on mayhem until German army trucks came bouncing over the fields. They were allowed to write to family and commanders to let them know they were fine. No information can be found concerning the new plane our crew was given.
56: THURSDAY, 16 MARCH 1944 Mission #262 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 9 hrs 45 min Weather: Overcast USAAF - Aircraft: 23-1-179 Personnel: 7KIA, 17WIA, 2171MIA Enemy Aircraft: 68-32-43 Bomb Tonnage: 1579.0 21 bomber from the 94th join 401 B-17s targeting Messerschmitt Aviation Industry in Augsburg, Germany. Due to undercast cloud cover the Primary target was obscured, "Undercast" because they were above the cloud bank instead of over it. Tthe 94th moved to the secondary target. The rail road complex was bombed. Flack was heavy but inaccurate. 60 Luftwaffe engaged the 94th with guns and rockets but the escorts prevented a slaughter. The gunners of the 94th claimed 4 confirmed - 1 prob - 3 damaged | SATURDAY, 1 APRIL 1944 Mission #287 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 3 hrs 50 min Weather: Bad USAAF - Aircraft: 12-3-49 Personnel: 9KIA, 12WIA, 113MIA Enemy Aircraft: 1-1-0 Bomb Tonnage: 485.0 21 forts flying low in the 4th CW joined 440 bombers dispatched to bomb the chemical industry at Ludwigshafen, Germany (the largest in Europe). The 245 B-17s dispatched of the lead force abandoned the mission over the French coast due to heavy clouds. The group commander chose to abandon the mission when bad weather set in. Another group did not follow his example, and mistakenly bombed a town in Switzerland, causing an international incident. | "200 Fighters" | "Recall" | SATURDAY, 8 APRIL 1944 Mission #291 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 7 hrs Weather: Sunny USAAF - Aircraft: 34-2-247 Personnel: 9KIA, 31WIA, 340MIA Enemy Aircraft: 58-9-32 Bomb Tonnage: 1388.4 41 Bombers are dispatched to Rheine Airfields along with 3 separate forces, a total of 664 bombers divided into 13 combat wings, escorted by 780 fighters, are dispatched against airfields in NW Germany. They were the Germans' operational base for the He 177 Heavy Bombers. Due to heavy haze, the secondary target of Handorf, Hesefe Air Depots were bombed. The 94th sent 21 forts in "A" group and 6 in a composite group. Each plane was equipped with forty 100 pound GP bombs. The bombing altitude of 21,000 feet was reached as the Group crossed the Netherlands North Coast. The airfield was just inside the Dutch - German border. No fighters but flack was heavy. 20 aircraft received damage. William flew with a unknown crew on this flight, but the 410th flew lead. | Attack on Reine | o | "A" group Lead | SATURDAY, 18 MARCH 1944 Mission #264 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 10 hrs 20 min USAAF - Aircraft: 43-4-242 Personnel: 10KIA, 22WIA, 4361MIA Enemy Aircraft: 45-10-17 Bomb Tonnage: 1546.0 21 aircraft headed for Gablingen Airfield but bad weather had them hit the secondary target, the marshaling yard at Munich. One crew member remarked upon see the explosions, "I think we hit Hitler's Beer Hall!!". At bombs away, the B-17 just to the right and behind of the new Peters Pride was attacked by 2 fighters. 2 engines burst into flames and it drifted back and flew right into the drop of the #7 plane directly behind them. The incendiary rounds set the plane ablaze. They remarkably recovered and extinguished the fire only to be hit buy a direct flack burst which tore the plane in half. 4 chutes were seen. 410th MIA 42-37968 LITTLE AUDREY | o | "A" group Low | "A" group Low
57: SUNDAY, 9 APRIL 1944 Mission #293 Plane: B-17 G Time in air: 8 hrs 40 min Weather: USAAF - Aircraft: 32-10-167 Personnel: 25KIA, 21WIA, 230MIA Enemy Aircraft: 45-8-14 Bomb Tonnage: 957.5 21 aircraft plus a composite group of 6 from the 94th joined 85 B-17s dispatched to hit the Heinkel aviation plant at Warnemunde. In total 542 bombers and 719 fighters were dispatched to aircraft factories and airfields in Germany and Poland. The 94th bombed a target of opportunity due to bad weather and conflicts with other groups. Excellent results were observed. No attacks were made because the escorts were itching for a fight and they kept the Luftwaffe on the run. Flack was mean, 20 planes were damaged on target run. | "Easter Sunday" | Last Mission | Attack on Warnemende | Praise the Lord | and Drop the Bombs! | "B" Comp group High
58: All Images from Bill's camera
59: 26 Raids to Hell and Back!
60: Even with the hard work of the ground crews, many men and aircraft were lost due to malfunctions. Refitting and repairing horribly damaged ships repeatedly lead to losses. Nice round numbers of aircraft were ordered for missions, but what was available and flight ready was sent. Each mission had crews recalled due to malfunctions and some of those contributed to the aircraft and personnel loss stats for the mission. That is why there were odd numbers in the operations achieving their objectives. | As soon as the flight crews came to hardstand, the second team took over. The ground crews began their day assessing and making a plan for repairs, often working right up to take off the next day. If the damage was too bad to join the mission, they would work through the day until the aircraft was mission worthy. | The Flight Crew's Best Friends | Images From Archive
62: Bomber crews developed many rituals and traditions during their tour. One of which was when a crew member finishes his missions, his crew gave the deserving man a dunking. Some of these traditions are still used today. | Bill officially completed 26 missions and flew another 35 times in various capacities, logging 210 hours of flight time; totaling 61 times flying over the 5 months of active duty in the European Campaign. | Bill, center inside truck
64: Landing and Interrogation | After landing and coming to hardstand the wounded were checked out and tended to. The remaining men went to interrogation, what we now call debriefing. This was done as soon as possible to get fresh memories and observations to the commanders ASAP. If they had any vital or urgent news to tell they would hit the Hot News room first. The information was then quickly disseminated to the various areas. One such example was the sight of downed planes and the rescue personnel that might be needed ASAP. They were served enough food and coffee to get them through the meeting before they could eat a full meal. This was necessary especially on longer missions as they would have no meals while in flight. Some missions lasted 11 hrs. | * Using the logs and flight notes the crew told when, where and the effectiveness of flack and fighters they encountered. *The bombing run report. *Planes down or hit both friendly and enemy. *Anything noteworthy type of weapons used radio reports heard how the escort planes performed. | After debriefing all reports were compiled and used to help in planning for the next day's missions so they could do it all over again. | 8 March '44, Berlin Mission Interrogation
65: When the War was over and the 8th Air Force was pulling out, they had to return the area to a usable state. Removed were all the equipment, runways and camp remnants before vacating the area permanently. They left only very few buildings to mark the historic places and remember those who died there. | The crews at B St. E had few landing and takeoff accidents! As one of the headquarters for the 8th Air Force, the crews were always top notch: ground crews, flight crews and support staff. Crews not up in the air were training back at base, preparing and honing their skills for when they were called on. | As many men had, Bill ended up bombing his own ancestral town of Hamburg as well as his great-grand children's ancestral towns of Rotstock and Poznan which his bombing group hit as well. Our only consolation is that his ancestors were farmers and would hopefully not be near the targeted factories. The US bombing strategy was of a pinpoint nature. The object was to hit the targeted buildings and spare the surrounding civilians. The RAF used blanket bombing runs to destroy the entire area, in retribution for the bombings of England by the Germans. | Extra Notes
66: What they wore on missions | Because of the extreme conditions the crews of the air force were ordered to fly in, they had layers of specialized equipment. This was more important for the Peter's Pride crew as it was winter. | Tee-shirt and Boxer Underwear Long Johns - one piece cotton long underwear Regular cotton socks Heated silk long johns * Heated socks * Leather shearing lined Hat, Jacket, Pants, and Gloves Large shearing lined rubber and leather Boots Goggles Breathing mask with bladder and hoses. ** thinnest leather face mask - only worn in super extremes Parachute and harness with first aid pouch and life preserver attached Flack Jacket and Helmet Intercom White silk scarf, this was not just a flair for the crews but served a practical use by preventing chafing as they constantly moved their heads back and forth to search the skies. Although it didn't hurt with the machismo. The last thing carried with them was their service pistol.
67: * Heated items had copper wires running through it and needed to be plugged in to their duty station in the plane. Many times there were malfunctioning pieces as in when belly gunner Pitas gear had a short and did not heat one side of his body but used the same amount of power and burnt the other half. He received a Purple Heart for his suffering. | ** Oxygen masks were a necessity as the air at 35000 ft is so thin there is not enough O2 to keep the body going. They were also plugged into each station with the heated items. They needed to constantly check their masks for ice and moisture. If they had to leave there station for any reason they needed to take a yellow traveling can with them. If you didn't you would lose consciousness in 4 min. and die in 6. | Every man was given a survival pack designed for the area they would be flying over. They also were to leave behind any personal effects with the base before dressing for the mission, to eliminate the information obtainable by the capturing forces. | James Pitas Jacket donated to the EAA in Oshkosh WI
68: The Distinguished Flying Cross is a medal awarded to any officer or enlisted member who distinguishes himself or herself in combat by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Attachments: Bronze oak leaf, Silver oak leaf, and bronze letter "V". Distinguished Flying Cross Ribbon was authorized in 1926 and is awarded to military personnel who show heroism or extraordinary achievement during flight which is not routine. | The Air Medal is awarded to any person in the Armed Forces of the US, whom shall have distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Award of the Air Medal is primarily intended to recognize those personnel who are on current crew, which requires them to participate in aerial flight on a regular and frequent basis in the performance of their primary duties. Three Oak Cluster - Worn to denote award of a second or subsequent award for which an Army and Air Force member has already received the initial decoration or award (other than the Air Medal). Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, indicating a total of four awards of the medal. | American Defense Ribbon Awarded for active duty during national and limited emergencies just prior to World War II. | The Outstanding Unit Award is a decoration first created in 1954. The decoration is awarded as a ribbon to any command of the U.S. Air Force which performs exceptionally meritorious service, accomplishes specific acts of outstanding achievement, excels in combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, or conducts with distinction military operations involving conflict with, or exposure to, a hostile action by any opposing foreign force. | Outstanding Unit Award was replaced in 1966 with Presidential Unit Citation However it was being used before that. It was worn alone over the right hand pocket. William received this award instead of the Ribbon Above. | American Campaign Medal is awarded to service members performing one year of duty between December 7, 1941 to March 2, 1946 within the continental borders of the United States.
69: The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal is a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created in 1942 by Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The decoration was intended to recognize those military service members who had performed military duty in the European Theater (to include North Africa and the Middle East) during the years of the Second World War. The flag colors of Germany, Italy, and France are visible in the ribbon. Star represents participation in campaigns or operations, multiple qualification or an additional award to any of the various ribbons on which it is authorized. William was awarded a star for his second tour in the European theater. | World War II Victory Medal Awarded to any member of the US military who served on active duty, or as a reservist, between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946. The World War II Victory Medal was first issued as a ribbon, and was referred to simply as the “Victory Ribbon.” By 1946, a full medal had been established which was referred to as the World War II Victory Medal. There is no minimum service time limit for the issuance of the World War II Victory Medal. | Army of Occupation Medal A award of the US military which was established by the US War Department on 5 April 1946. The medal was created in the aftermath of the Second World War to recognize those who had performed occupation service in either Germany or Japan. The original Army of Occupation Medal was intended only for members of the United States Army, but was expanded in 1948 to encompass the United States Air Force shortly after that service's creation.
70: One More Roll We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the skies, and were gently caught by God's own hand to be with him on High. To dwell among the soaring clouds they've known so well before. From victory roll to tail chase, at heaven's very door. As we fly among them there, we're sure to head their plea. To take care my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me. — Commander Jerry Coffee, Hanoi, 1968. | The Bombers Whenever I see them ride on high Gleaming and proud in the morning sky Or lying awake in bed at night I hear them pass on their outward flight I feel the mass of metal and guns Delicate instruments, dead weight tons Awkward, slow, bomb racks full Straining away from downward pull Straining away from home and base And try to see the pilot's face I imagine a boy who's just left school On whose quick-learned skill and courage cool Depend the lives of the men in his crew And success of the job they have to do. And something happens to me inside That is deeper than grief, greater than pride And though there is nothing I can say I always look up as they go their way And care and pray for every one, And steel my heart to say, "Thy will be done." — Sarah Churchill, daughter of Sir Winston.
71: The years have passed, it seems I'm old Yet still the memories unfold Of' times young boys in battle dress Who to their country's call said, "Yes" Who chose to serve in skies above For freedom's sake they showed their love. All volunteers-they asked to fight To break the back of Hitler's might They picked the tough est job of all "The Mighty Eighth" would be their call. In heavy bombers, crews of ten We changed from kids to older men Between the members of each crew A bond of friendship grew and grew. This bond of love can never end For one on each they did depend. Six miles straight up, no place to hide They did their job with guts and pride. The 17's got glamour more But none surpassed the 24. They roamed the skies and fought the fight And brought us home both day and night. | Through heavy flak and fighter's fire They gave me so much to admire. Of missions-limit 25 How could we live? How could we survive? With purest luck I did stay well Lord knows we had our share of hell. My heart is sad, the tears they burn For thousands who did not return. Their life was sweet - a brimming cup Yet willingly they gave it up. Dear God, my life I'd gladly give If they could have a chance to live. Each one a hero in my mind We nevermore will see their kind. My hair turns white, my body lame Still proudly do I bear its name. With love, respect, abiding faith I can 't forget, "The Mighty Eighth." A survivor Albert P. Hall, 489th BG Sunshine Chapter News | Forget? Never! A Tribute to the Men of "The Mighty Eighth"
72: You lived, now what? Going home! and What comes next?! | When asked what he wanted to do back in the States, now that he had the rest of his life to live, he replied "To continue the Engineering education he began at Marquette in Milwaukee." His commanding officer granted the request. With papers in hand he was sent on his way. | After the tour was complete they held decorations ceremonies and presented the personnel with metals they earned before they head back to the States. In the above photo Bill was pinned with the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Distinguished Flying Cross Award.
73: Bill made the trip back to the US, going through Chorley, Lancs on April 4 1944 on to the exiting station Gp.E23-7 Liverpool on May 16 1944 Boarded a ship back through Boston, Camp Miles Standish, and to Ft. Sheridan, IL on June 19,1944 continued to Redistribution Center #2 in Miami FL in July 1944 and was finally transferred to Chanute Field in Rantoul, IL to recertify for civilian flying and take his Aircraft Engineering Course.
74: While the men were away, those left behind did what they could to support the War effort. "Addie", as she was known by her co-workers, worked processing War Bonds.
75: With Bill on his way back home and being transferred to Chanute, Illinois, Bill and Tutie made a decision a long time coming!
76: 3 months after Bill was stationed at Chanute Field, Illinois. On October 20th, 1944 Bill and Tutie got married, at the chapel on base. Tutie celebrated by driving the firetruck down the runway.
78: 5 months after their wedding, Bill earned his Diploma for Aircraft Engineering Officer and was transfered to MacDill Field in Florida. On August 27, 1945 they celebrated the addition of their first son, Billy, to the family. Bill set up a home for Tutie and Billy to join him in Lakeland, Florida. | Daddy's first tie clip
79: During this time Bill continued his Engineering education at MacDill Florida, Greenville. South Carolina, Buckly Field, Colorado, and Lakeland, Florida. He flew where he was needed but spent the greater part of this time in Avon Park where he was assigned Post Engineer. He was in charge of the supplies of the post. | During the next year and a half Bill became certified as a Pilot instructor and trained B-17 pilots at Avon Park Florida, giving the incoming pilots the benefit of his time over Germany. Sometimes he would buzz the house in the B-17 and scare to pants off Tutie and Billy, not to mention the neighbors. | Pilots who buzzed low lying areas did it against regulations. They needed to be flying at such a high speed that the plane would be gone before the plane numbers could be spotted and reported. | One such case was a pilot and co-pilot on their last flight before deployment. Their instructors gave them orders to stay in the air for eight hours but gave them free hand on their route. The pilot decided to show off his home town. As they got near they began talking of how he never got to say goodbye to his dad. They followed the river up to the town, just above the tree line, they blew down main street and out the other end. They were laughing so hard at the chaos they wrought and the reactions of the towns folk they almost ran in to the Mountains in front of them. It comes up quick at 300 mph and ground level. One of the townsmen yelled to the Judge, who was running out of the courthouse "Who the Hell was that!" The judge loudly told the man to stuff it! He knew it was his son saying good bye!
80: September 2 1945 | As Bill and Tutie get their future life started. | The Allied forces finally broke the will of the Axis. With Germany and the other members of the Axis crippled and the Japanese reeling from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the War Was Over. | The priority for the Allied powers was to stomp out the last vestige of the defiant and redistribute the Allied Armies to aid in the reconstruction and maintenance of the broken governments. The airfields were dismantled and the planes sent home to be stored on the desert.
81: Bomb Groups now participated in Chow Hound Missions to drop food and supplies to the citizens hardest hit. Pilots evacuated POW's and dispersed pamphlets. | Meanwhile at home!
82: On December 28th, 1945 Bill elected to stay active duty for one more year. He was gone for weeks at a time finishing up his education and his teaching duties. Tutie came back to Wisconsin with little Billy in tow, to live with her husband's mother Rose and Emil in Wauwatosa. Bill's brother Robert, who made his own history in the Pacific during the war, Henry and Ted were also living in the full house. | They soon found out Tutie was expecting the second addition to the family. Bobby was on the way!
83: After V-E Day, many units flew food to Holland and hauled redeployed personnel to French Morocco, Ireland, France, and Germany and from stations in Belgium and Germany, engaged in photographic mapping missions over parts of Europe and North Africa | The field was in US hands for 4 months September 13 – December 25 1946 before it was returned to German control. There is conflicting evidence as to exactly when he arrived. If you go by his IFR "Individual Flight Record" he arrived in November but his orders say he arrived on July 19 at Furstenfeldbruck, GR before he continued on to Lechfield on July 23rd. There are not any reports as to what he was asked to do but according to his IFR he continued training pilots and flew "Special Testing" Missions. | In May, Bill began preparing for his second trip to Germany. This time it would be much different. He got his immunizations and packed his camera. He continued training flights up until the day he left for the AAF "Allied Air Forces" Station in Lechfield, Germany.
84: Lechfield, in lower Germany
85: Unlike in war time, Bill was now an instructor and able to sightsee as well as his "Special Testing" flights and instructing duties. All these images are from his camera. | He was even able to visit some of destruction the bombers wrought. | He was given his own room looking out on the square. A home where he could put up the picture of his wife and son.
86: Bill received his orders December 19th, 1946 to the port of Bremerhaven to return home to the US. | This is the last order or record of his active work in the Army Air Corps. He received his long awaited Promotion to Captain, and registered a 5 year term at the Army Reserve Corps at Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. His formal separation Papers were presented to him on March 21, 1947.
87: Congruent to his dismissal from the Active Armed Service. He received his Captains promotion on January 29,1947
88: The education Bill received in the service and experience he picked up growing up with his step father Emil who was a foreman himself, led him to a profession as a Civil Engineer. | He worked for the Milwaukee Co. Hwy Dept. from 1947 to 1950 helping construct the Billy Mitchell Airport and the North Ave. Bridge in Wauwatosa. Next came the Milw. Co. Regional Planning Dept. from 1951 to 1954, Surveying and Paving of all roads and sidewalks in new subdivision's and in charge of six crews.
89: Speedway Construction Co. from 1954 to 1959 as Construction Superintendent of Road, Bridge and Sewer construction in charge of 44 man crew | Marchese Brothers Inc. was where he worked the longest and from where he retired.
90: While Bill was working on construction crews in town he was also building their home on Bark Lake. It was sorely needed because while Bill was working Tutie was raising Billy and Bobby. After he left the Army, Brian, Tom and Patty came along. They were all living in a duplex across the street from Calvary Cemetery on Hawley Rd. in Milwaukee. | They moved out to the homestead in 1952 and the family continued to grow with Mark, Eric and Rose. Living next door to Grandma Gerkhardt was probably welcome help for Tutie.
95: "Jim and Jack" were 2 of 7 family pet crows. | Schmack n Schtick crow | Perky Skunk was one of a litter of 4 skunks that came home from a construction site. de-sentented of course! | Bill would bring home orphaned animals from his construction job, to the absolute frustration of Tutie. She didn't want to end up taking care of them.
96: My father moved the family from Hawley Road, where he told ghost stories about the residents of Calvary Cemetery across the street, to a 100 ft. lake shore plot on Bark Lake. There he introduced us to countless hours of fishing, swimming, ice skating, and the incredible beauty and joys of the country. We always enjoyed the harvest from a garden we planted and tended. We adopted crows, raccoons and skunks as pets along with family dogs. We viewed northern lights and memorized the constellations from the pier late at night. | He hunted pheasant and rabbit, but could not kill a deer. He sang in the church choir, I followed and tried to understand his spirituality. I shared his appreciation and curiosity for geology and all natural history. We hunted arrowheads and embedded fossils in the fire place. I found pitfalls of life to avoid from his example even if he couldn't share all I wanted to learn. He taught me to throw a 1- 1/4 turn horse shoe, split an elm log with a double bit ax, tie a White Miller fly and send it on a long fly cast for some unsuspecting blue gill. I worked construction with him a couple of summers and learned surveying by detailing the lake in winter. He rough-housed on the living room floor with us boys until mother informed us this was not a gym. He cut our hair when needed. His family saw him as curious, intelligent and of varied interests, hard- working, with a sense of humor you would not call "polished". I suspect reality did not live up to his dreams and expectations. Smoke and drink were always a part of his tradition and that cultivation would cloud his thinking and health. Drink’s pleasure would intoxicate his world and create an escape from a hard day or frustration. It competed with communicating with his family and he chose a role where he could be less responsible to them and to himself. Abundant food was also a heritage to be reckoned with, but never managed for a long life. Once in a Vet’s hospital he lost 80 lbs and quit smoking, yet at home it would not last. He never spoke of his 26 combat missions or his 1 in 7 chances of survival each time he went up. His chances to correct an aortic aneurysm were 50/50. He chose and lost. He enjoyed life and wanted more of this life but did not have the tools to make it last. He regretted not giving us the finer life of the city. He could not have been more wrong. My personal regret is that he passed before we could fly together. I remember that each time I lift off on my own missions, often to fly over his plot in Hubertus and wave a wing in salute. Maybe his spirit is flying along with me and and we share the joy of flight. With love, Bob Mayer second son | A Son’s Remembrance by Bob Mayer
110: Bill and James Pitas visit in 1996. James was the belly Gunner form his crew of the Peters Pride
114: April 29, 2004 The WWII Memorial was opened to the Public. 60 years after the war ended. If he was with us I would have loved to have taken him.
116: Thanks to My husband for being my sounding board. My Father and Mother for unearthing boxes of Photos negatives and Memorabilia My Aunt Rose for crawling threw the corners of the attic and closets to find Grandpa's cigar boxes full of photos and paperwork. The Family of James Pitas The Family of Bernard Berman Marc Benson 410th Historian Chris Argent 94th Historian Members of the Army Air Forces.com of WWII Members of the 94th bomb Group Facebook Community | Resources Army Air Forces.com fold3.com Lingering Contrails of the 94th National Archives
117: Recommendations | Videos on You Tube this Playlist is available on youtube.com WWII B-17 Mission and Fight Videos *Tribute To All Unlucky WWII Aircraft Crews - Gun Camera Footage,Crashes etc. *Fight for the Sky - 1945 World War Two Fighter Pilot Educational Documentary *Target For Today - 1944 United States 8th Army Air Force During World War Two *WWII Bomber Mission *"MEMPHIS BELLE" - B-17 Flying Fortress and her crew - World War Two Documentary *"Operation Titanic" - 1944 Bombing Operations Over Germany During WW2 *WWII B-17 Mission To Berlin, Germany in 1944 *WWII: 8th Air Force in Europe - "All The Fine Young Men" (1980's) [Full Documentary] *Battle Stations: B17 flying fortress *447th Bomb Group B-17 "A Bit O' Lace" Crew Film B17 'Shot Up' Flyby *Steve McQueen Low Pass B17 over control tower *they don't show this one on history channel *Aviation Graveyard - Kingman Arizona..! *How To Fly The B-17 - Flight Operations (1943) *Don't Mess With Texas B-17.flv *B-17 low pass - The Making of the CAF DMWT Commercial | Movies High Noon 1949 Gregory Peck Memphis Bell 199? Red Tails 2012 Masters of the Skies 2015 HBO mini-series