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CAPT  Glenn H. ROJOHN

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

Lt Glenn H. Rojohn official photo (courtesy of Rojohn Family)

SERIAL #: O-819322 STATUS: POW
MACR: 11550 CR: 11550

Comments1: 31 DEC 44 HAMBURG (SEE ROJOHN MEMO) PIGGY-BACK INCIDENT

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Glenn H.Rojohn               P     POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG
2nd Lt William G.Leek             CP       POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG
2nd Lt  Robert Washington      NAV    POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG (from the Spear crew)
   Cpl Edward G.Neuhaus        ROG     POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG                     A/C #42 31987 "The Little Skipper" 
   Cpl Orville E.Elkin                TTE     POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG                        MACR #11550,Microfiche #4246
   Cpl Joseph L.Russo              BTG    KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG    
   Cpl Roy H.Little                  WG     KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG
   Cpl Robert W.Baker            WG     NOC    
   Cpl Herman G.Horenkamp    TG      CPT   


350th Sqdn. This crew,as above (no Nav or Bom) joined the 100th Group on 15/9/44.
Crew formed in Salt Lake City UT on 5 May 44.   Left USA 16 Aug 44, arrived in Valley Wales, 19 Aug 44
Assigned to 95th Bomb Group 6 Sept 44, Left 95th Bomb Group on 14 Sept 44 and joined 100th Bomb Group (because of loss of 12 aircraft on September 11, 1944 mission to Ruhland) 

See S.O.C. p.88/89 and "CONTRAILS" p.91/92 for story of the mid air "Piggy Back" crash of this A/C and that of W.G.MacNab.

On 31/12/44, Lt Robert Washington,from the crew of A.S.Spear,was flying as navigator and 
became a POW. A Sgt James R.Shirley was flying as NG and was a POW. S/Sgt Francis R.Chase from Lt Hansen Crew, was aboard as TG and was KIA.

Both Roy Little and Francis Chase are commemorated on the Wall Of The Missing at the 
Netherlands cemetary.

Crew on December 31, 1944 mission to Hamburg:

2nd Lt Glenn H.Rojohn            P     POW    31/12/44 HAMBURG
2nd Lt William G.Leek             CP     POW   31/12/44 HAMBURG
2nd Lt Robert Washington   NAV      POW    31/12/44 HAMBURG (from the Spear crew)
Sgt James R. Shirley               NG      POW     31/12/44 HAMBURG
   Cpl Edward G.Neuhaus       ROG     POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG                           
   Cpl Orville E.Elkin              TTE     POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG                          
   Cpl Joseph L.Russo           BTG     KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG    
   Cpl Roy H.Little                 WG     KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG
S/Sgt Francis R. Chase            TG      KIA        31/12/44 HAMBURG 

CREW
DATE: 31 December 1944                  350th Sqdn.         A/C #43-38457 "NINE LIVES"

MISSION: Hamburg                             MACR #11359      Microfiche 4180

1st Lt William G.MacNab             P     KIA    31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
2nd Lt Nelson B.Vaughan          CP    KIA    31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
2nd Lt Jack Berkowitz             NAV POW  31 DEC 44 HAMBURG   From C.W. Wilson crew       SN# 0-777438
2nd Lt Raymond E.Comer, Jr.  BOM POW  31 DEC 44 HAMBURG    From C.W. Wilson crew
 T/Sgt Henry S.Ethridge           ROG  KIA   31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
 T/Sgt Joseph A.Chadwick        TTE POW  31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
 S/Sgt Edward L.Woodall,Jr.      BTG POW  31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
 S/Sgt Duane F.Rench            WG  KIA    31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
 Cpl Leno R. Delmolino                WG  Taken off Crew to reduce to nine men. 
 S/Sgt Francis J.Seyfried           TG KIA    31 DEC 44 HAMBURG


Missions of Capt. Glenn H. Rojohn from Sgt Herman G.Horenkamp (2003)

1.   06/10/44    BERLIN-FW 190 ENGINE PLANT
2.   07/10/44    BOHLEN/LEIPZIG-OIL REFINERY
3.   09/10/44    MAINZ-TANK FACTORY
4.   12/10/44    BREMEN-FW190 PLANT
5.   17/10/44    COLOGNE-MARSHALLING YARDS
6.   18/10/44    KASSEL-FW190 ENGINE PLANT
7.   22/10/44    MUNSTER-MARSHALLING YARDS
8.   30/10/44    MERSEBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY
9.   02/11/44    MERSEBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY
10. 05/11/44    LUDWIGSHAVEN-LUBRICATION PLANT (our records say marshalling yards..mpf)
11. 10/11/44    WIESBADEN-AIRFIELD
12. 16/11/44    AACHEN-GERMAN FRONT LINES
13. 21/11/44    MERSEBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY
14. 26/11/44    HAMM-MARSHALLING YARDS
15. 02/12/44    KOBLENZ-MARSHALLING YARDS
16. 04/12/44    FRIEDBURG-MARSHALLING YARDS
17. 05/12/44    BERLIN, ORDINANCE PLANT
18. 18/12/44    MAINZ-MARSHALLING YARDS
19. 27/12/44    FULDA-MARSHALLING YARDS
20. 29/12/44    FRANKFURT-MARSHALLING YARDS
21. 30/12/44    KASSEL-MARSHALLING YARDS
22. 31/12/44    HAMBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY, CREW DOES NOT RETURN. 


Rojohn Crew fill-ins and changes

S/Sgt Roy Little is injured on first mission (Oct 6 1944-BERLIN) and S/Sgt Robbie Gill from Lt Spear Crew fills in from Oct 7-Oct 22, 1944.   Little resumes missions with Rojohn Crew on Oct 30, 1944.  

S/Sgt Victor J. Vallerga (from Lt Stansbury Crew) fills in at TOG. From 6/10/1944-5/11/1944.  On mission to Ludwigshafen He is hit by Flak pretty badly in arm and leg.  

1.   06/10/44    BERLIN-FW 190 ENGINE PLANT 
2.   07/10/44    BOHLEN/LEIPZIG-OIL REFINERY 
3.   09/10/44    MAINZ-TANK FACTORY 
4.   12/10/44    BREMEN-FW190 PLANT 
5.   17/10/44    COLOGNE-MARSHALLING YARDS 
6.   18/10/44    KASSEL-FW190 ENGINE PLANT 
7.   22/10/44    MUNSTER-MARSHALLING YARDS 
8.   30/10/44    MERSEBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY 
9.   02/11/44    MERSEBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY 
10. 05/11/44    LUDWIGSHAVEN

11. 10/11/44    WIESBADEN-AIRFIELD     Sgt Hans ? flew as TOG

At this point, Lt William J. Wellings takes over as Bombardier and flies missions at Bombardier on Lt Rojohn Crew.  

12. 16/11/44    AACHEN-GERMAN FRONT LINES 
13. 21/11/44    MERSEBURG-SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERY 
14. 26/11/44    HAMM-MARSHALLING YARDS 
15. 02/12/44    KOBLENZ-MARSHALLING YARDS 
16. 04/12/44    FRIEDBURG-MARSHALLING YARDS 
17. 05/12/44    BERLIN, ORDINANCE PLANT 
18. 18/12/44    MAINZ-MARSHALLING YARDS 
19. 27/12/44    FULDA-MARSHALLING YARDS 
20. 29/12/44    FRANKFURT-MARSHALLING YARDS 
21. 30/12/44    KASSEL-MARSHALLING YARDS
       
*******************************************************************************************************************

Spear Crew (Robert Washington's original crew)
2ND LT ALBERT S. SPEAR           P KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
2ND LT DEWEY H. NELSON       CP CPT 25 DEC 44 KAISERLAUTERN, MY
2ND LT JOHN P. SPILLANE      NAV KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
2ND LT ROBERT WASHINGTON BOM POW 31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
CPL ARTHUR A. MARSHALL        ROG KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
CPL RAYMOND A. PIECZYNSKI    TTE KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
CPL REMI G. EBERNENZ            BTG CPT 03 JAN 45 FULDA
CPL ARTHUR V. GENS               WG KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
CPL ROBBIE L. GILL                WG CPT 24 OCT 44 UNKNOWN
CPL ROBERT D. BASS                TG KIA 28 JUL 44 MERSEBURG

350TH SQDN.. CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 17 JUL 1944
MACR # 8174, Microfiche # 3002,    A/C #42-32009
This ship collided with that of Lt W.G. Stansbury over the North Sea.  .

Lt Robert Washington was flying with the Glenn Rojohn crew on 31 Dec 44 (Hamburg) and became a POW. 
On the Rojohn MACR he is listed as the Navigator. Sgt Eberenz finished his tour with the Charlie O. Daniels crew.

(Hensen Crew; original crew of Francis  R. Chase
2ND LT EDWARD H. HENSEN           P CPT 4 MAR 45 ULM, MY (S.T.)
2ND LT LEW E. WALLACE             CP POW 11 SEP 44 RUHLAND, OIL REFINERY
2ND LT LEE M. RADEN             NAV CPT 14 MAR 45 SEELZE & HANOVER
2ND LT MARVIN D. LASKEY        BOM CPT 25 FEB 45 MUNICH
SGT LEROY J. EDWARDS            TTE CPT 4 MAR 45 ULM, MY (S.T.)
CPL FRANCIS R. CHASE                TG KIA 31 DEC 44 HAMBURG
CPL CALVIN E. MILLER               BTG NOC
CPL JAMES R. MUGRIDGE           ROG CPT 4 MAR 45 ULM, MY (S.T.)
CPL ANDREW C. PAULO             WG CPT 4 MAR 45 ULM, MY (S.T.) (TAPS 1988?)
CPL CLAYTON J. SMITH             WG CPT 31 DEC 44 HAMBURG (WIA)

350TH SQDN..CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH 29 JUL 1944

LEW WALLACE WAS WITH J.H. RAINE AT RUHLAND ON 11 SEP 44.
FRANCIS CHASE WAS WITH G.H. ROJOHN AT HAMBURG ON 31 DEC 44.
CLAYTON SMITH WAS WITH R.H. WHITCOMB AT HAMBURG IN 31 DEC 44.



MEMO                     LT GLENN ROJOHN

LT GLENN ROJOHN; PIGGY BACK LANDING AFTER THE 31 DEC 1944 HAMBURG MISSION.  COLLISION WITH LT MacNAB WHILE BOTH WERE ATTEMPTING TO FILL THE SLOT IN THE FORMATION CAUSED BY THE LOSS OF LT WEBSTER. ACCOUNT GIVEN IN "CENTURY BOMBER" FOLLOWS:
"AT 1244 HOURS AND AFTER LEAVING THE ENEMY COAST, NAVIGATOR DANNY SHAFFER, WHO FLEW  WITH THOMAS HUGHES, NOTED IN HIS LOG: "TWO 17'S HOOKED TOGETHER, 42-31987, PILOTED BY GLENN ROJOHN, HAVING CLOSED UP INTO THE SPACE LEFT BY THE LOSS OF LT WEBSTER. UNFORTUNATELY  B-17 43-38457, PILOTED BY WILLIAM MacNAB, HAD RISEN SLOWLY FROM BELOW TO FILL THE SAME POSITION.."
        ANOTHER PILOT, ETHAN PORTER, WHO IS LISTED AS HAVING NO KNOWN ADDRESS BY THE VA(1992), IMMEDIATELY SHOUTED A WARNING VIA RADIO, THE TWO FORTRESSES COLLIDED AND LOCKED TOGETHER, CONTINUED FLYING PIGGY-BACK OVER THE SEA.'
        FINDING THE ELEVATORS AND AILERONS STILL WORKING, ROJOHN AND HIS CO-PILOT WILLIAM LEEK, 'CUT THEIR ENGINES, AND BY USING THE ENGINES OF THE LOWER AIRCRAFT, THREE OF WHICH WERE STILL RUNNING, SLOWLY TURNED THE TWO AIRCRAFT TOWARD LAND.  FOUR OF THE CREW BAILED OUT ON ORDERS AND ROJOHN DECENDED TO RECROSS THE ENEMY COAST AT 10,000 FEET. ON LANDING NEAR WILHELMSHAVEN THE TOP SHIP (43-31987) SLID OFF MacNAB'S 43-38457 WHICH EXPLODED. BARELY HURT ROJOHN AND LEEK WALKED AWAY FROM THE WRECKAGE OF 43-31987 AND INTO CAPTIVITY.
        AS FOR THE MEN WHO BAILED OUT, THE ROG EDWARD NEUHAUS CAME DOWN ON AN ISLAND; TTE ORVILLE ELKIN CAME DOWN IN THE WATER TEN MILES OFF SHORE AND WAS DRAGGED TO THE SHORE BY HIS CHUTE.  REPLACEMENTS NAVIGATOR ROBERT WASHINGTON AND GUNNER JAMES SHRILEY LANDED ON THE COAST.  ALL SURVIVORS WERE TAKEN PRISONER.  NOTHING WAS FOUND OF BTG JOSEPH RUSSO AND WG FRANCIS CHASE.
        AS FOR LT MacNAB--HE WAS KILLED ALONG WITH THE CO-PILOT NELSON VAUGHN (BOTH HAD SUSTAINED WOUNDS PRIOR TO THE COLLISION), ROG HENRY ETHRIDGE, WG DUANE RENCH AND TG FRANCIS SEYFRIED. SGT'S RENCH AND SEYFRIED ARE BOTH BELIEVED TO HAVE BAILED OUT SUCCESSFULLY ONLY TO PERISH IN THE SEA.
        THE REST ESCAPED THE AIRCRAFT AND BECAME POWS: NAVIGATOR JACK BERKOWITZ AND BOMBARDIER RAYMOND COMER, FROM THE HONG KONG WILSON CREW, TTE JOSEPH CHADWICK AND BTG EDWARD WOODALL.  SGTS WOODALL AND CHADWICK ALSO LANDED IN THE SEA BUT REACHED SHORE.
        JIM BROWN NOTES THAT PREVIOUS TO THIS WHEN THE CREW COMPONENT WAS REDUCED TO NINE, WG LENO DELMOLINO WAS ASSIGNED TO INTELLEGENCE IN THE 351ST.



Two Brothers Trained to be Pilots   (From Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 14, 1992

 Leonard Rojohn says if he were a betting man, he would bet that no other American brothers come close to havingthe experiences he and his brother Glenn, shared during World War ll. Chances are that Leonard won't be asked to put his money where it counts because government records at the time did not collate such things; there wasn't time with a war to be fought. The initial oddity of their wartime experiences was that the Rojohns, natives of the Greenock section of Elizabeth Township, trained together to become pilots. Glenn, older by three years, enlisted in the late summer of 1942, but was not as-slgned to an Army Air Corps cadet training program until spring 1943. By thattime, Leonard had enlisted, too, and both arrived at Nashville, Tenn., on the sameday to begin flight training.

 From there they received primary and advanced training together, often with the same instructors and the same crew members and stood side by side as they were awarded their second lieutenant bars.

 They then began instruction to earn classifications as first pilots on the B-1 7s and on a remarkable day, one brother sat beside the other as each took his first solo flight, changing seats in the air. Leonard said they would have flown overseas on the same day in June 1944, except that he became ill and was grounded. Glenn flew that day, but was almost led astray by German interference. Noticing what he thought miqht be an error in the compass reading, Glenn asked his navigator to take a celestialreading to determine their exact location.
His hunch was correct: the Germans were jamming compasses on the American planes, directing the pilots to fly too far north. If the ruse was successful, the planes would run out of fuel and fall into .the sea.  Ln England, the brothers were asasigned to different bomber groups and lost track of each other for the first time slnce their training began a year before. But fate interceded and while walking down a street in London on leave the Rojohns spotted each other and had time to pose for a photograph marking the coincidental reunion.

 On Dec. 31, 1944, Leonard telephoned Glenn's base in Thorpe Abbotts to speak with his brother. Glenn had been sched-uled to go on leave to Scotland that day. Leonard was told by the base operator that Glenn's plane had been shot down that day.

 Only later did Leonard learn that his older brother had been taken prisoner by the Germans after surviving one of the most extraordinary aerial incidents of any war.

         --By Teresa K. Flatley






Article by Thesa Flatley for publication in WORLD WAR II MAGAZINE. Article appears unchanged from original form and was not formated….May not be reproduced without permission of T.K.F….pw

Thersa K. Flatley

"Breeding Dragonflies" Over The North Sea

At dawn on Dec. 31, 1944, while the Battle of The Bulge raged, two young pilots took off from Thorpe Abbotts, England, and flew their B-17 in formation with hundreds of others in what was to be a Maximum Effort over Germany by every available flyer.
That New Year's Eve would soon require the maximum effort these two men could muster to stay alive in what must be one of the most phenomenal incidents in aerial history.

It was the 22nd mission for First Lieutenant Glenn H. Rojohn, a native of Greenock, Pennsylvania, the pilot on B-17 42-31987, and Second Lieutenant William G. Leek Jr. of the state of Washington, his co-pilot.  Scheduled for "R and R" after flying several missions in a row, their plans were interrupted at 2 a.m. that day when they were awakened for a Maximum Effort "which means everyone flies," Rojohn said. Thirty seven aircraft took off with the 100th Bomb Group that day.  Only 25 planes returned home to England.

"Breeding Dragonflies"
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Following breakfast and briefing at the base, home to members of the 100th Bomb Group from June 1943 to December 1945, Rojohn and Leek learned that their target that day would be Hamburg, a city(rife~with oil refineries and submarine pens. Second Lieutenant Robert Washington, the ship's navigator, remembers the start of the mission at 0647-0737 hours this way: "Take-off on the morning of Dec. 31, 1944, was delayed because of fog and when we assembled the group and departed the coast of England, we learned that the fighter escort had been scrubbed due to the weather."
It takes "almost as much time to rendezvous, to go on a mission, as it does to complete a mission," Rojohn said, "because the weather in England was always bad and we had to circle around and around until we broke out of the overcast.  Our squadrons (Rojohn flew in the "C" Squadron) then formed and we met other groups until we got into a long line of traffic heading towards Germany.  This particular day we flew over the North Sea to a point south of Denmark and then we made a 90 degree turn into the Bay of Hamburg.  We were somewhere in the neighborhood of 22,000  "At that time I don't think much was known about jet stream but we had a tailwind of about 200 nautical mile an hour.  We got into the target pretty quick," Rojohn said.  "Over the target we had just about everything but the kitchen sink thrown at us."
"The target and the sky over it were black from miles away,"

"Breeding Dragonflies"
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Page 3


Leek, who died in 1988 after writing down his "recollections" of the mission, said.  "The flak was brutal.  We flew through flak clouds and aircraft parts for what seemed like an hour."  Rojohn said he doesn't like to criticize his commanding officers but he thinks "we made a mistake that day.  Instead of hitting the target and angling out over Germany still on a southwesterly direction and then out over Belgium, they turned us at 180 degrees back toward the North Sea. So a 200 nautical mile tailwind became a 200 nautical mile headwind.  We were probably making about 50 or 60 mile on the ground.
"Washington said "when we finally got up near Heligoland, I believe we turned west and skirted the flak area by flying between Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven.  The flak was probably heavy as we crossed the coastline. I'm not certain whether we headed northwest between Bremerhaven and Kuxhaven, or due west over a little town of Aurich and across the coastline near Norden," Washington said.  In an earlier account, he said he
thought it was the later route.
Over the North Sea, Rojohn remembers they were flying at 22,000 ft. when "we encountered wave after wave of German fighters. We just barely got out over the North Sea and the sky was rumbling around us with exploding flak and German ME109 fighter planes so close I could see the faces of the young German pilots as they went by.  They (the Germans) were just having a field day with our formation.  We lost plane after plane."

Breeding Fragon Flies
Paqe 4


Leek said he had been at the controls when the crew came off the bomb run. He and Rojohn alternated the controls each half hour so that "the man resting could enjoy the view.  On this mission, the lead plane was off Glenn's wing, so he flew the bomb run.  I should have kept the controls for at least my half-hour, but once the attack began, our formation tightened up and we started bouncing up and down.  Our lead plane kept going out of sight for me.  I may have been over-correcting, but the planes all seemed to bounce at different times.  I asked Glenn to take it and he did."
Rojohn said he was taking a position to fill the void created when B-17 43-38436 piloted by Second Lieutenant Charles C. Webster went down in flames and exploded on the ground. "I was going into that void when we had a tremendous impact," he recalls.  Feeling the bomber shudder and scream, the men immediately thought their plane had collided with another.  It had, but in a way that may never have happened before or since.
Another B-17 (43-38457), this one piloted by First Lieutenant William G. MacNab, and Second Lieutenant Nelson B. Vaughn, had risen upwards.  The top turret guns on this lead plane for the high flight of the low "C" Squadron had pierced through the aluminum skin on the bottom of Rojohn's plane, grinding the two huge planes together like "breeding dragonflies," Leek said.  The two planes had become one.
Whether MacNab and Vaughn lost control of their plane

"Breeding Dragonflies"
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Page 5


because they were seriously injured or if the planes collided because both Rojohn and MacNab were moving in to close that open spot in the formation is uncertain and indeterminable:  both MacNab and Vaughn were fatally injured that day.
Staff Serqeant Edward L. Woodall Jr., MacNab's ball turret gunner, said when a crew check was called, "all crew members reported in okay just prior to the mid-air collision.  At the time of the impact, we lost all power and intercom on our aircraft.  I knew we were in trouble from the violent shaking of the aircraft, no power to operate the turret, loss of intercom and seeing falling pieces of metal. My turret was stalled with the guns up at about 9 o'clock.  This is where countless time drills covering emergency escape procedures from the turret paid off, as I automatically reached for the hand crank, disengaged the clutch and proceeded to crank the turret and guns to the down position so I could open the door and climb into the waist of the airplane.  I could see that another aircraft was locked onto our aircraft with his props buried in our wings and his ball turret jammed down inside our aircraft."
A report written by John R. Nilsson in "The Story of The Century" (copyright 1946) said that E.A. Porter, a pilot from Payton, Mississippi, who witnessed the mid-air collision, sounded the warning over VHF: 'F for Fox, F for Fox, get it down!' --however MacNab, whose radio was dead, did not hear. Not to see the collision which seemed inevitable, Porter turned his head,


"Breeding Dragonflies"
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Page 6


while two of his gunners, Don Houk of Appleton City, Missouri, and Clarence Griffin of Harrisburg, Illinois, watched aghast, as MacNab and Rojohn settled together 'as if they were lifted in place by a huge crane,' and many of the 100ths anguished fliers saw the two Fortresses cling --  Rojohn's, on top, riding pick-a-back on MacNab's, how held together being a mystery.  A fire started on MacNab's ship, on which three propellers still whirled, and the two bombers squirmed, wheeled in the air, trying to break the death-lock."
In the 1947 book, "Contrails: My War Record," the editors wrote:  "The situation was something too fantastic for even Hollywood to simulate."
Washington said he "opened the escape hatch and saw the B-17 hanging there with three engines churning and one feathered.  I believe Rojohn and Leek banked to the left and headed south toward land," he said.
"Glenn's outboard prop bent into the nacelle of the lower plane's engine," according to Leek. "Glenn gunned our engines two or three times to try to fly us off.  It didn't worlc, but it was a good try.  The outboard left engine was burning on the plane below.  We feathered our propellers to keep down the fire and rang the bail-out bell."
"Our engines were still running and so were three on the bottom ship," Rojohn said.  When he realized he couldn't detach his plane, he turned his engines off to try to avoid an

"Breeding Dragonflies"
Flatley
Paqe 7


explosion.  He told Tech Sergeants Orville E. Elkin, the top turret gunner and engineer, and Edward G. Neuhaus, the radio operator, to bail out the tail, the only escape route left because all other hatches were blocked.
"The two planes would drop into a dive unless we pulled back on the controls all the time.  Glenn pointed left and we turned the mess toward land," Leek wrote.  "I felt Elkin touch my shoulder and waved him back through the bomb bay.  We got over land and Shirley came up from below.  I signalled to him to follow Elkin.  Finally Bob Washington came up from the nose.  He was just hanging on between our seats.  Glenn waved him back with the others.  We were dropping fast."
As he crawled up into the pilot's compartment before bailing out, Washington said "I saw the two of them (Rojohn and Leek) holding the wheels against their stomachs and their feet propped against the instrument panel.  They feathered our engines to avoid fire, I think.  The toggalier (Sergeant James R. Shirley) and I went on through the bomb bay and out the waist door, careful to drop straight down in order to miss the tail section of the other plane which was a little to the right of our tail." Because of the physical effort of Rojohn and Leek, Shirley, Elkin, Washington, and Neuhaus were able to reach the rear of the plane and bail out.
"I could hear Russo saying his 'Hail Marys' over the intercom," Leek said.  "I could not help him and I felt that I

"Breeding Dragonflies"
Flatley
Page 8


was somehow invading his right to be alone.  I pulled off my helmet and noticed that we were at 15,000 feet.  This was the hardest part of the ride for me."
"Awhile later, we were shot at by guns that made a round white puff like big dandelion seeds ready to be blown away.  By now the fire was pouring over our left wing and I wondered just what those German gunners thought we were up to and where we were going!  Before long, fifty caliber shells began to blow at random in the plane below.  I don't know if the last flak had started more or if the fire had spread, but it was hot down there!"
As senior officer, Rojohn ordered Leek to join the crew members and jump, but his co-pilot refused.  Leek knew Rojohn wouldn't be able to maintain physical control of the two planes by himself, and was certain the planes would be thrown into a
death spiral before he could make it to the rear of the plane and l
escape.   "I knew one man left in the wreck could not have
survived, so I stayed to go along for the ride," Leek said.
And what a ride it was. "The only control we actually had was to keep them level.  We were falling like a rock" with the German ground reaching up to meet them, Rojohn said.  "I know I prayed on the way down."
Washington, from his vantage point while parachuting to land, said "I watched the two planes fly on into the ground, probably two or three miles away, and saw no more 'chutes. Shirley was coming down behind me.  When the planes hit, I saw

 Breeding uragonflies
Flatley
Page 9


them burst into flames and the black smoke erupting."
At one point Leek said he tried to beat his way out of the window with a veri-pistol, but admitted he wasn't sure why he did it.  "Just panic, I guess. The qround came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed.  We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground."
As they hit land near Wilhelmshaven shortly before 1300 hours, Rojohn and Leek's plane slid off the bottom plane, which immediately exploded.  Alternately lifting up and slamming back into the ground, their B-17 careened along the ground, finally coming to rest only after the left wing sliced through a German l~eadquarters Building "blowing that building to smithereens," Rojohn said.  Staff Sergeant Joseph Russo, Rojohn's ball turret gunner, is believed to have been killed when the planes landed.
"When my adrenalin began to lower, I looked around," Leek said.  "Glenn was OK and I was OK and a convenient hole was available for a fast exit.  It was a break just behind the cockpit.  I crawled out onto the left wing to wait for Glenn.  I pulled out a cigarette and was about to light it when a young German soldier with a rifle came slowly up to the wing, making me keep my hands up.  He grabbed the cigarette out of my mouth and pointed down. The wing was covered with gasoline."
The two pilots sustained only slight injuries, which shocked even them when they took a look at the wreckage of the B-17.
 "Al] that was left of the Flying Fortress were the nose, the

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cockpit, and the seats we were sitting on," Rojohn said.
Following their capture, Rojohn said he and Leek were forced to undress "so they could search us for weapons, which we had thrown out on the way down.  They put us into a truck and drove through the countryside to pick up the survivors. The Germans then put us all into an old schoolhouse where we were finally able to talk with each other."
Even  with their lives in thehands of the Germans The Americans found a little humor. "Our captors didn't know what to do with us because we were in a part of Germany where they didn't take many captives," Rojohn said.  "They put us in a dark damp building way out in nowhere. All of a sudden the door opened up and everybody popped to attention.  A German captain came in and barked something to his men.  I didn't understand what he had said, but Berkowitz (Second Lieutenant Jack Berkowitz, MacNab's navigator) heard the same words and dead fainted away.  The next day they brought us back to the schoolhouse.  Berkowitz, the only one of us could understand German, told us the German captain had said, 'If they make a move, shoot 'em.' That was too much for him and he fainted."
Watching the piggy-back planes fall to the earth, German soldiers believed they were seeing a new American weapon: an eight-engine bomber.  In fact, the Germans were so concerned that the Americans had developed a devastating new weapon that Berkowitz said he was "shipped to an interrogation center in

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Frankfurt, Germany and put into solitary confinement to be questioned."   After questioning him for two weeks, his interrogators gave up on the idea of a new American aircraft threat and Berkowitz was transferred to a prison camp near the North Sea.
Staff Sergeants Roy H. Little, Rojohn's waist gunner, and Francis R. Chase, the replacement tail gunner, did not survive their jumps from the plane. (In an aside he calls an example of how providence sometimes intercedes in a man's life, Rojohn said that Tech Sergeant Herman G. Horenkamp, his friend and tail gunner for all of his 21 previous missions, did not report for the mission t~at day because he had frostbite from the mission the day before.  Chase, who Rojohn and Leek had never seen before and never did meet face-to-face, was Horenkamp's replacement that day.  Chase died during the mission.)
All survivors from the Rojohn B-17 were captured by the Germans almost immediately as were three other men who bailed out of MacNab's plane: Second Lieutenant Raymond E. Comer, Rr., Tech Sergeant Joseph A. Chadwick and Woodall.
Woodall told Rojohn years later that he was grateful to him and Leek because they carried him for several miles when broken bones sustained in his parachute landing kept him from walking after his capture. Rojohn has no recollection of that.
Rojohn searched for 40 years through social security and veterans records to find his co-pilot Leek, but was not

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successful until 1986 when he was given a telephone number in the state of Washington by a man who claimed "I can find anybody."
Rojohn called the number and reached Leek's mother, who asked him if he wanted to talk to Bill, who was visiting from California, right then and there. The two pilots were reunited for one week in 1987 at a 100th Bomb Group Reunion in Long Beach,


After the war, like thousands of other soldiers, Rojohn came back home to marry and raise a family.  He eventually went to work with his brother, Leonard, in their father's air conditioning and plumbing business in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, putting the war and thoughts of heroics behind him.  But something notable happened that day over the North Sea, and who
is responsible for that and worthy of glory changes depending on
who is speaking.
For his part, Rojohn, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart, said he owes his life to Leek.  "In all fairness to my co-pilot, he's the reason I'm alive today. He refused my order to bail out and said 'I'm staying with you.' One of us could have gotten out of that plane.  He's the reason I'm here today."
But Washington, his navigator, puts it this way:  "Glenn said that he doesn't consider himself a hero: but I do!  I will never forget his calm, matter-of-fact response as I paused at the flight deck on my way out through the bomb bay and waist door.

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He may have said, 'Get on out, Wash,' or merely motioned with his head, but I knew he and Bill Leek had made their decision and several of us who jumped over land probably owe our lives to their courage."
As to the mission itself, the "Contrails" editors wrote:
"There have been amazing stunts pulled in the colorful and courageous history of man's will to fly . . . But none more strangely heroic than the day Rojohn and Leek safely crash-landed their two planes pick-a-back on a field in North Germany."



Brave Hearts 
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
By Ralph Kinney Bennett

Tomorrow morning they’ll lay the remains of Glenn Rojohn (died Aug 9, 2003) to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in the little town of Greenock, Pa., just southeast of Pittsburgh.  He was 81, and had been in the air conditioning and plumbing business in nearby McKeesport. If you had seen him on the street he would probably have looked to you like so many other graying, bespectacled old World War II veterans whose names appear so often now on obituary pages. But like so many of them, though he seldom talked about it, he could have told you one hell of a story. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross (search) and the Purple Heart (search) all in one fell swoop in the skies over Germany on Dec. 31, 1944.

Fell swoop indeed.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, of the 8th Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group (search), was flying his B-17G Flying Fortress (search) bomber on a raid over Hamburg. His formation had braved heavy flak to drop their bombs, then turned 180 degrees to head out over the North Sea (search).

They had finally turned northwest, headed back to England, when they were jumped by German fighters at 22,000 feet. The Messerschmitt Me-109s (search) pressed their attack so closely that Capt. Rojohn could see the faces of the German pilots.

He and other pilots fought to remain in formation so they could use each other’s guns to defend the group. Rojohn saw a B-17 ahead of him burst into flames and slide sickeningly toward the Earth. He gunned his ship forward to fill in the gap.

He felt a huge impact. The big bomber shuddered, felt suddenly very heavy and began losing altitude. Rojohn grasped almost immediately that he had collided with another plane. A B-17 below him, piloted by Lt. William G. McNab, had slammed the top of its fuselage (search) into the bottom of Rojohn’s. The top turret gun of McNab’s plane was now locked in the belly of Rojohn’s plane and the ball turret (search) in the belly of Rojohn’s had smashed through the top of McNab’s. The two bombers were almost perfectly aligned -- the tail of the lower plane was slightly to the left of Rojohn’s tailpiece. They were stuck together, as a crewman later recalled, “like mating dragon flies.”

No one will ever know exactly how it happened. Perhaps both pilots had moved instinctively to fill the same gap in formation. Perhaps McNab’s plane had hit an air pocket.

Three of the engines on the bottom plane were still running, as were all four of Rojohn’s. The fourth engine on the lower bomber was on fire and the flames were spreading to the rest of the aircraft. The two were losing altitude quickly. Rojohn tried several times to gun his engines and break free of the other plane, but the two were inextricably locked together. Fearing a fire, Rojohn cut his engines and rang the bailout bell. If his crew had any chance of parachuting, he had to keep the plane under control somehow.

The ball turret, hanging below the belly of the B-17, was considered by many to be a death trap -- the worst station on the bomber. In this case, both ball turrets figured in a swift and terrible drama of life and death. Staff Sgt. Edward L. Woodall Jr., in the ball turret of the lower bomber, had felt the impact of the collision above him and saw shards of metal drop past him. Worse, he realized both electrical and hydraulic power was gone.

Remembering escape drills, he grabbed the handcrank, released the clutch and cranked the turret and its guns until they were straight down, then turned and climbed out the back of the turret up into the fuselage.

Once inside the plane’s belly, Woodall saw a chilling sight: the ball turret of the other bomber protruding through the top of the fuselage. In that turret, hopelessly trapped, was Staff Sgt. Joseph Russo. Several crewmembers on Rojohn’s plane tried frantically to crank Russo’s turret around so he could escape. But, jammed into the fuselage of the lower plane, the turret would not budge.

Aware of his plight, but possibly unaware that his voice was going out over the intercom of his plane, Sgt. Russo began reciting his Hail Marys.

Up in the cockpit, Capt. Rojohn and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. William G. Leek Jr., had propped their feet against the instrument panel so they could pull back on their controls with all their strength, trying to prevent their plane from going into a spinning dive that would prevent the crew from jumping out.

Capt. Rojohn motioned left and the two managed to wheel the grotesque, collision-born hybrid of a plane back toward the German coast. Leek felt like he was intruding on Sgt. Russo as his prayers crackled over the radio, so he pulled off his flying helmet with its earphones.

Rojohn, immediately grasping that crew could not exit from the bottom of his plane, ordered his top turret gunner and his radio operator, Tech Sgts. Orville Elkin and Edward G. Neuhaus, to make their way to the back of the fuselage and out the waist door on the left behind the wing.

Then he got his navigator, 2nd Lt. Robert Washington, and his bombardier, Sgt. James Shirley, to follow them. As Rojohn and Leek somehow held the plane steady, these four men, as well as waist gunner Sgt. Roy Little and tail gunner Staff Sgt. Francis Chase, were able to bail out.

Now the plane locked below them was aflame. Fire poured over Rojohn’s left wing. He could feel the heat from the plane below and hear the sound of .50-caliber machinegun ammunition “cooking off” in the flames.

Capt. Rojohn ordered Lt. Leek to bail out. Leek knew that without him helping keep the controls back, the plane would drop in a flaming spiral and the centrifugal force (search) would prevent Rojohn from bailing. He refused the order.

Meanwhile, German soldiers and civilians on the ground that afternoon looked up in wonder. Some of them thought they were seeing a new Allied secret weapon -- a strange eight-engined double bomber. But anti-aircraft gunners on the North Sea coastal island of Wangerooge had seen the collision. A German battery captain wrote in his logbook at 12:47 p.m.:

“Two fortresses collided in a formation in the NE. The planes flew hooked together and flew 20 miles south. The two planes were unable to fight anymore. The crash could be awaited so I stopped the firing at these two planes.”

Suspended in his parachute in the old December sky, Bob Washington watched with deadly fascination as the mated bombers, trailing black smoke, fell to Earth about three miles away, their downward trip ending in an ugly boiling blossom of fire.

In the cockpit Rojohn and Leek held grimly to the controls trying to ride a falling rock. Leek tersely recalled: “The ground came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed. We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground.”

The McNab plane on the bottom exploded, vaulting the other B-17 upward and forward. It hit the ground and slid along until its left wing slammed through a wooden building and the smoldering mass of aluminum came to a stop.

Rojohn and Leek were still seated in their cockpit. The nose of the plane was relatively intact, but everything from the B-17’s massive wings back was destroyed. They looked at each other incredulously. Neither was badly injured.

Movies have nothing on reality. Still perhaps in shock, Leek crawled out through a huge hole behind the cockpit, felt for the familiar pack in his uniform pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He placed it in his mouth and was about to light it. Then he noticed a young German soldier pointing a rifle at him. The soldier looked scared and annoyed. He grabbed the cigarette out of Leek’s mouth and pointed down to the gasoline pouring out over the wing from a ruptured fuel tank.

Two of the six men who parachuted from Rojohn’s plane did not survive the jump. But the other four and, amazingly, four men from the other bomber, including ball turret gunner Woodall, survived. All were taken prisoner. Several of them were interrogated at length by the Germans until they were satisfied that what had crashed was not a new American secret weapon.

Rojohn, typically, didn’t talk much about his Distinguished Flying Cross. Of Leek, he said, "In all fairness to my co-pilot, he’s the reason I’m alive today.”

Like so many veterans, Rojohn got unsentimentally back to life after the war, marrying and raising a son and daughter. For many years, though, he tried to link back up with Leek, going through government records to try to track him down. It took him 40 years, but in 1986, he found the number of Leek’s mother, in Washington state.

Yes, her son Bill was visiting from California. Would Rojohn like to speak with him? Two old men on a phone line, trying to pick up some familiar timbre of youth in the voice of each other. One can imagine that first conversation between the two men who had shared that wild ride in the cockpit of a B-17.

A year later, the two were re-united at a reunion of the 100th Bomb Group (search) in Long Beach, Calif. Bill Leek died the following year.

Glenn Rojohn was the last survivor of the remarkable piggyback flight. He was like thousands upon thousands of men -- soda jerks and lumberjacks, teachers and dentists, students and lawyers, service station attendants and store clerks and farm boys -- who in the prime of their lives went to war in World War II. They sometimes did incredible things, endured awful things, and for the most part most of them pretty much kept it to themselves and just faded back into the fabric of civilian life.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, AAF, died last Saturday after a long siege of illness. But he apparently faced that final battle with the same grim aplomb he displayed that remarkable day over Germany so long ago. Let us be thankful for such men.


Capt. Glenn Rojohn
Posted by Michael Faley on 8/15/2003, 23:04:56 
205.188.209.5

Dear 100th BG Foundation Members, 
As some of you may not be aware, we lost Glenn Rojohn this past Saturday (August 9, 2003)
Capt.Glenn Rojohn is just "one of the many" true American heroes that are leaving us too soon. Even without his legendary exploits, Glenn would still stand out. He was a true Friend and Gentleman. At one of our Recent reunions he was elevated to the rank of Captain, an oversight in paperwork kept him from that rank after the war, and this was rectified. The Group C.O. Gen Tom Jeffrey pinned on the Captain's bars and Glenn was beaming from ear to ear. His heroics and that of his co-pilot Lt Leek that Dec 31st, 1944 saved the lives of many crewmen and almost cost them the ultimate sacrifice. A hollywood movie could not have dreamed up the "piggyback incident" and many who witnessed the event still shake their heads. Glenn deserved the DSC for his actions that day (received the DFC instead) but he was not hunting medals, only trying to give his crew and himself a chance to survive. It is then that mere mortal men reach down deep and pull out the heroism needed to handle a situation like this. We will all miss Capt. Glenn Rojohn, our Friend and a true 100th BG legend. 
Regards,
Michael Faley
100th Bomb Group Historian
100th Bomb Group Photo Archives


I am the son of Glenn H. Rojohn, the “Piggyback Pilot”, who passed away in 2003.  My mom, Jane, passed away in February of this year.  Since we are in the process of readying the house for sale, I would like to stop as much mail as possible.  Currently, “Splasher Six”, among other items, is being delivered.  Please discontinue those mailings.  The address is 829 Pinecrest Ave., McKeesport, PA 15135-2227.  If you ever need to contact me, I am available at this e-mail address or at home 412-466-7513.  As I would like to continue the tradition, please send me a membership application.  I would be very proud to become a new member.  As my dad always said, people want to hear these stories.

Sincerely,

David G. Rojohn
daveshar@verizon.net
1805 Maine Ave.
W. Mifflin, PA 15122-3937

MEMO 2:

POW/KIA info: Piggyback Incident, see article "Breeding Dragonflies" for more info.


KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Hamburg DATE: 1944-12-31  
AIRCRAFT: "The Little Skipper" (42-31987) CAUSE: Collided with 43-38457  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 The 350th's Glenn H. Rojohn Crew. Please use the Site Search Engine for more information on this crew. They were involved in the famous "Piggy Back" incident on December 31, 1944. There is a vast amount of data on this crew in our web site.. pw (100th Photo Archives) Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Looks like all the Enlisted men of Glenn Rojohn Crew and two other crews. From the collection of Herman G.Horenkamp via Cyndi Rojohn

Enlisted Men from Glenn Rojohn Crew getting Air Medal. From the collection of Herman G.Horenkamp via Cyndi Rojohn

Glenn Rojohn receiving the Air Medal. From the collection of Herman G.Horenkamp via Cyndi Rojohn

Enlisted men of Glenn Rojohn Crew Stateside. From the collection of Herman G.Horenkamp via Cyndi Rojohn

	T/SGT Orville E. ELKIN	TTE	POW
	S/SGT Edward G. NEUHAUS	ROG	POW
	S/SGT Joseph L. RUSSO	BTG	KIA
	SGT Roy H. LITTLE	WG	KIA
	S/SGT Herman G. HORENKAMP	TG

Capt Glenn Rojohn Crew Stateside. Note ten man crew at the time.  From the collection of Herman G.Horenkamp via Cyndi Rojohn

Capt Glenn Rojohn Crew Stateside. From the collection of Herman G.Horenkamp via Cyndi Rojohn

German report of the capture of Glenn Rojohn and members of Crew.  

Medal shadowbox of Capt Glenn Rojohn. (Courtesy of Rojohn Family)

Glenn Rojohn POW card from Dulag Luft.  Ended up in Stalg Luft 1 . Courtesy of Piggyback Flight website, Cyndi Rojohn 

Info about hearing about Glenn Rojohn being a POW in Germany from German Radio.Ended up in Stalg Luft 1 . Courtesy of Piggyback Flight website, Cyndi Rojohn 

Dec 31, 1944, the aircraft of Lt Rojohn (The Little Skipper) and Lt Macnab (Nine Lives) pancake on one another.  This is the "piggyback incident". Search individual pilots and website for more information

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 4454