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CAPT  Omar GONZALES

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: NAV

Omar "The Tent Maker" Gonzales and Harry Crosby

Capt. Omar Gonzales (courtesy of the Gonzales family and Laura Shivers)

SERIAL #: O-725967 STATUS: POW
MACR:

Comments1: 5 NOV 43 GELSENKIRCHEN (Original 100th, Crew #A1 , Group Navigator))

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

OMAR "The Tent Maker" GONZALES WAS THE GROUP NAVIGATOR (REPLACED LATER BY HARRY CROSBY), GOING DOWN ON THE 5 NOV 43 GELSENKIRCHEN MISSION WITH LT. FLESH. WHO ORDERED THE CREW TO BAIL OUT AND WAS ABLE TO BRING THE PLANE BACK TO THORPE ABBOTTS.. BELOW IS THE ROANE CREW OF WHICH GONZALES FLEW SEVERAL MISSIONS . 

VETERAN: Omar Gonzales
VETERAN'S DATE OF DEATH: 27 July, 2005

CREW

2ND LT OWEN D. (COWBOY) ROANE         P CPT 26 NOV 43 PARIS (flew one additional mission on Feb 29, 1944-Brunswick) 
2ND LT ARTHUR C. "BUD" STIPE        CP CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
2ND LT DANIEL L. SCHMUCKER         NAV CPT 29 NOV 43 BREMEN
2ND LT CURTIS K. CAMPBELL         BOM CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
T/SGT CLARENCE R. TOMB             ROG CPT 16 NOV 43 RJUKAN, NORWAY
T/SGT ROBERT A. STUART             TTE CPT 16 NOV 43 RJUKAN, NORWAY
S/SGT ROGER O. STROBLE              BTG CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
S/SGT JAMES JARVIE                   RWG CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
S/SGT ARTHUR HAUGE                 LWG NOC  X-FERRED TO BASE MP'S.  Replaced by T/SGT RICHARD DETWEILER
S/SGT PATRICK J. HEALY                  TG CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN

349th Sqdn.. Crew joined 100th in June 26, 1943 as one of the first replacement crews along with Lt Henry Henington, Lt John Justice and Lt  "Big Chief" Walter Moreno. 

Repacments on Lt Roane Crew:  

LT STIPE IS REPLACED ON THE CREW ON BY F/O REGINALD A. SMITH (TRANSFERRED FROM RAF) STARTING WITH 3 NOV 43 MISISON TO WILHEMSHAVEN. HE WOULD LATER TRANSFER TO THE 418TH BS AS A 2ND LT AND COMMAND HIS OWN CREW. LT REGINALD "SMITTY" SMITH WOULD BECOME A POW 20/2/44 ON THE MISSION TO POSEN & SETTIN

2ND LT DANIEL L. SCHMUCKER (NAV) MOVED TO 13TH CBW TO START TEACHING ABOUT RADAR NAVIGATION AND BOMBING. HE WAS REPLACED ON THE CREW BY 1ST LT OMAR "THE TENT MAKER" GONZALES (FORMER GROUP NAVGATOR) STARTING WITH 8 OCT 43 MISSION TO BREMEN.

1ST LT GONZALES IS REPLACED BY LT HOWARD BASSETT (FROM LT VICTOR REED CREW) FOR MISSONS OCTOBER 18-19, 1943, BOTH TO DUREN.

        08 OCT 43       BREMEN*
        14 OCT 43       SCHWEINFURT* (BLACK THURSDAY)
      

              *CREW THAT FLEW WITH COWBOY ON BREMEN AND SCHWEINFURT MISSIONS

2ND LT OWEN D. (COWBOY) ROANE    P CPT 26 NOV 43 PARIS
2ND LT ARTHUR C. STIPE                  CP CPT  20 OCT 43 DUREN
1ST LT OMAR GONZALES                NAV POW  5 NOV 43 GELSENKIRCHEN
2ND LT CURTIS K. CAMPBELL             BOM CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
T/SGT CLARENCE R. TOMB               ROG CPT 16 NOV 43 RJUKAN, NORWAY
T/SGT ROBERT A. STUART               TTE CPT 16 NOV 43 RJUKAN, NORWAY
S/SGT ROGER O. STROBLE               BTG CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
S/SGT JAMES JARVIE                      RWG CPT 20 OCT 43 DUREN
T/SGT   RICHARD DETWEILER          LWG CPT 13 FEB 44 NO-BALL 
S/SGT PATRICK J. HEALY                   TG CPT 20 OCT43 DUREN


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CREW

Mission: Gelsenkirchen
Date: 5 Nov 1943  349th Sqdn..

 William R. Flesh P CPT
 John G.Gossage CP POW   Mar 44 Berlin
 Omar Gonzales  NAV POW
 James J. Lux  BOM POW
 Conner D. Brewster ROG KIA  (From S. Reeder crew)
 Harold L. Pope  TTE EVADEE (From S. Reeder crew)
 Francis G. Dolsen BTG POW  (From S. Reeder crew)
 George P. Gineikis WG EVADEE (From G. Van Noy crew)
 Leon E. McDonald WG EVADEE
 James Marasco  TG POW  (From S. Reeder crew)

---> SUBMITTER INFORMATION
SUBMITTER: Michael Moores LeBlanc
EMAIL: mmleblanc@sympatico.ca
PURPOSE: Submit general feedback
INTEREST: I am researching WW2 history
 MESSAGE
Message:  I was checking details about the Wm R. Flesh crew 349 BS, FTR 5 Nov '43 and note an error in your information.

S/Sgt Leon E. 'Al' McDonald(MacDonald?), 32287971 was not a Pow. He is listed as E&E 256 and was the 208th evader helped by the famous Comete line, crossing into Spain on 27 Nov 43, together with fellow crew man George Gineikis.

Regards,
Michael Moores LeBlanc


Operations Report says: "Plane was hit in #! engine after bombs away. All crew members
except Pilot and Co-pilot bailed out, on orders, over the target area."
Flesh and Gossage managed to fly the ship back to England.

NOVEMBER 1943. MISSION GILSENKIRCHEN."SQUAWKIN HAWK" PILOTED BY WILLIAM FLESH AND CO-PILOTED BY JOHN GOSSAGE, LOST IT'S CREW, INCLUDING OMAR "THE TENT MAKER" GONZALES, 'ONCE GROUP NAVIGATOR' WHEN AFTER SUSTAINING HEAVY BATTLE DAMAGE, THEY WERE ORDERED TI BAIL OUT AND EVERYBODY EXCEPT THE PILOTS JUMPED. ON RECOVERING CONTROL, LIEUTENATN FLESH AND GOSSAGE BROUGHT THE SHATTERED PLANE BACK, TO LAND AT TANGMERE IN KENT.UNFORTUNATELY, THE RADIO OPERATOR, CONNOR BRESTER WAS KILLED WHEN HIS PARACHUTE FAILED TO OPEN. THE ENGINEER HAROLD POPE AVOIDED CAPTURE AND AIDED BY THE UNDERGROUND MANAGED TO GET BACK TO ENGLAND. WAIST GUNNER GEORGE GINEIKIS, ALSO BECAME AN EVADEE. THE REST WERE TAKEN PRISONER OF WAR.THIS FORTRESS WAS REPAIRED AND RETURNED TO COMBAT STATUS. 
THE BADLY DAMAGED "SQUAWKIN HAWK" WAS REPAIRED AND RESTORED TO OPERATIONS. SHE BECAME THE FIRST 100TH AIRCRAFT TO COMPLETE 50 MISSIONS. WITH HER SKIN AUTOGRAPHED BY THE MEN OF THE 100TH, SHE WAS FLOWN BACK TO THE STATES FOR A WAR BOND TOUR.


The following form contents were entered on 12th May 3
Date = 12 May 3 16:30:32
subject = 100thBG Feedback Form
messages = 1019
TYPE = Ask a question regarding history
RESPONSIBLE = 100TH BG HISTORIAN
EMAIL = rmckay@flatsurv.com
UNAME = James Reese McKay
CONNECTION = I am a relative of a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = My father, Dan Boies McKay, will turn 80 this June.  He was the bombardier in Curtis R. "Pete" Biddick's crew.  Their B-17 was shot down over Regensburg on August 17, 1943.  The pilot, Lt. Biddick, and most of the crew were killed in action on this mission.  My father and the radio operator survived and were POWs for the remainder of the war.  I did not see anything in the missions history section about the Regensberg mission.  Is that being worked on?  My father could probably submit his account of this, although I have not talked to him about it in many years and I don't know how much detail he remembers after all these years.

My father did remember that someone named Gonzales replaced Paul Warner as navigator for the original Biddick crew.  He couldn't remember his first name.  He said that Gonzales had flown about 3 missions with them he thought.  Most of the original Biddick crew had been shot up (all had survived their wounds as far as my father could remember) and were likely shipped back to the states by the time of the Regensberg raid.  My father does not have a photo of the Biddick crew or any other crew.  As far as he knows no one ever had such a photo.  I will mail you one or two photos of my father though…

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Gelsenkirchen DATE: 1943-11-05  
AIRCRAFT: "Squawkin Hawk" (42-30088) CAUSE: Battle Damage, Crew was ordered to Bail Out  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Omar Gonzales pre-war magazine article (courtesy of Laura Shivers)

Oct 14, 1943 Schweinfurt: upon return, the crew took this photo: Standing from left, Curtis Campbell, Owen “Cowboy” Roane, Omar "The Tent Maker" Gonzales, Arthur C. "Bud" Stipe, A. Hauge, James Jarvie;
Kneeling center row from left: Robert A. Stuart,Roger O. Stroble, Patrick J. Healy, Clarence Tomb and Richard Detweiler.
Front row; B.G. Woodie Woodward, George Kennedy, Ray C. Morton - Crew Chief, J, E. Baggett.
Fred Lehman is not pictured.
 

Lt William Flesh in middle October 1943 had a pick up crew that consisted of the Enlisted men from Sumner Reeder Crew. Reeder was recuperating from the wounds received on Sept 6, 1943 and Squadron CO Maj Veal asked the enlisted men if they would mind flying with Flesh until Reeder had recovered. The group had significant loses at Bremen,Munster and Hanau totaling 20 crews! 

Lt Flesh Pick up Crew October 1943

Kneeling: L-R
Lt James Lux- Bomb
Lt William Flesh-Pilot
Lt John Gossage- Copilot

Standing: L-R
T/Sgt Connor Brewster-ROG
S/Sgt Frank Dolson-BTG
S/Sgt Charles Ping-TG
T/Sgt Harold Pope-TTE
S/Sgt Robert Lovin-WG
S/Sgt Orrin Furlong-WG

Missing from photo is Nav.  Lt Omar “The Tent Maker” Gonzales 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 2

ID: 1937