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Comments1: 27 DEC 44 FULDA




Lt Joseph P.Ricker                       P  CPT 27/12/44   FULDA, MY
Lt George W.Tussing                  CP  CPT 27/12/44   FULDA, MY
Lt John H.Peters                     NAV  POW 29/12/44  FRANKFURT, MY 
Lt Albert J.Tong                     BOM  CPT 27/12/44   FULDA, MY   Became Group Bombardier after completion of Missions
S/Sgt Robert A.Dell                   ROG  CPT 28/12/44   KOBLENZ,LUXEMBOURG, LUNEBACH
S/Sgt John R.Kipila                   TTE  CPT 27/12/44   FULDA, MY
S/Sgt William "Red" Crozier            BTG  CPT 27/12/44   FULDA, MY
S/Sgt Charles E.Winters               WG  CPT 18/12/44   MAINZ, MY
S/Sgt Raymond J."Monk" Mainka    WG   CPT 27/12/44   FULDA, MY Became TG when Crew reduced to nine men
S/Sgt Robert M.Stahl                  TG XFR    Transferred to 15th AF when Crew reduced to nine men.

349th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 4/7/44.
See S.O.C. p33 A/C named "Flak Foot Floogie" and  "Billy Boy" and "Hundredth Proof"

:KREPISMANN, JULIUS 2ND LT(replacement for J. Peters when he become POW on Dec 29, 1944)

Subj: Re: Flak Foot Floogie  
Date: 8/6/2002 9:51:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: Gwaj2sing (George Tussing)
To: MPFaley 
In a message dated 8/4/02 11:37:55 PM Mountain Daylight Time, MPFaley writes:

Hi George,
We have never heard that name before for a 100th BG aircraft.  Can you verify that this was in fact the name of a 100th Bomb Group Aircraft?

Michael, I am passing on to you a message I sent to William "Red" Crozier, our ball turret gunner.  I sent it the same day I queried you.  

Red, I'm a little stove up in the back right now, so I spent a little time reviewing your WW II diary as revealed to us some time ago and discovered something that certainly escaped my notice earlier. You say that our first mission was in Flak Foot Floogie, a name I certainly remember, But was FFF the plane that was assigned to us and later was adorned with the Billy Boy name? I have not succeeded in finding anything on the web re FFF. If any of you guys have info on the tail number of FFF, that would help answer the question. Love to all out there. Tuss

He responded as follows:

Now to your question about Flak Foot Floogie, I will pass on to you the following from my inscrutable memory of World War II. According to my diary we did fly Flak Foot Floogie on the aborted first mission we started to fly. Also according to my diary on the real #1 mission to Kiel we flew in "Sparky". FFF's number was 31347, and I am sure you will recognize this is also the number of our beloved Billy Boy. Furthermore we flew in #31347 on missions number 3,4,5,7,8,9 and 12.   Somewhere along the way FFF was rechristened Billy Boy, and after mission 12 we started flying several other planes including "100 Proof". I don't' know the number of 100 Proof. Also I don't know why we didn't fly in Billy Boy on missions not listed above.. 

Keep in mind that Red did not write this as part of his memoirs years later but he wrote within a day or two in his personal diary.  I don't have Jan's address handy right now so would you pass this on to her with my thanks for her investigation into the matter.  Since you have no record of Flak Foot Floogie it is only natural to guess that I might have made a typographical error in the first word.  Likewise, I thank you for your response.  I have been enlightened by Red as I hope you have.  Incidentally, Billy Boy flew over 100 combat missions so it stands to reason that it may have had two, three or four names in its career.

George Tussing, 
co-pilot to Joe Ricker

Subj: Re: Flak Foot Floogie  
Date: 8/9/2002 12:22:14 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: Gwaj2sing 
To: MPFaley 
File: Diarymnk.wps (49152 bytes) DL Time (31200 bps): < 1 minute 
Gee, Mike, I didn't realize we were sitting on a great source of info.  Since it is not my diary but Red's, I really want his permission to forward it to you.  It took quite a bit of persuading to get Red to edit the "too personal" material so that we could read the remainder.  With his diary and the one written by Raymond Mainka who was our waist gunner then moved to the tail we have much to help our failing memories.  I will attach Mainka's diary and then forward Red's (William Crozier) as soon as a have a green light.  Incidentally, the way Mainka's diary came into possession by others on the crew is as follows: Mainka, being the oldest on the crew, never came to any of our reunions, major or minor, so one day several members visited him at his home in south central Texas and, after seeing his diary, someone sneaked it out and after making copies, returned the original to him. Raymond died a few years ago so I didn't see that I could treat his diary with the same privacy as Red's. Both diaries are very precious to me.....George Tussing, co-pilot  

Flak Foot Floogie is a play on the song title Flat Foot Floogie which makes no sense at all to me.  It was a novelty type song popular during WW II.  "Flat foot" suggests that it may have had something to do with policemen who have earned that name due to wearing out their feet walking their beats or it may have had some reference to a new dance step just as "Doing the Lambeth Walk" referred to a new dance step.  
Our full crew was pictured on page 16 of the Fall 1999 issue of Splasher Six with the caption something like "Does anyone know who these people are?"  Both Joe Ricker and I and probably others responded with identification of each man.  Robert Stahl, the original tail gunner, left the crew when we were reduced to nine men and transferred to the 15th Air Force in Italy.
Al Tong completed his 30 missions with the crew and became group bombardier after that.  He received the DFC for his excellent bombing on our 29th mission after having been struck three times while flying through intense flak over The Bulge.  Mainka also stayed over for extended duty as his diary shows and I remained to serve as assistant squadron ops officer under Capt. Fred Craft and Lt Col Sammy Barr.  I opted to return home when I saw the end of the war rapidly approaching.  The rest of the crew returned to the USA at the completion of our missions.  Incidentally, after two breaks in service I served twenty years, three of which were at Sculthorpe (near Fakenham) flying B-45's.  Later I flew B-47's for almost six years........George Tussing.

SGT, S/SGT & T/SGT 38461208

JUNE 15-44
We put on the troop transport USS Billy Mitchell at noon.  It is plenty crowded.  We are one floor below deck.  (N.Y.P. of E.)  I will try to keep a little diary but don't know if I will do it.
We left port during the night as we were pretty far at sea when I got up this morning.  We sail in a convoy.  I saw several ships.  They ran us down from the main deck.  I was to Catholic mass at 3:30 this afternoon.
Still at sea.  Just get two meals a day except those on duty.  The Air Corps boys are still okay but some of the others are getting sick.
MONDAY JUNE 19, 1944
It's a pretty rough sea today.  I was to hear mass yes- terday morning and afternoon.  In the afternoon the mass was held on the open deck.  We are the only Air Corps boys aboard so the infantry have it in for us.
Still on the boat.  I wrote several letters the past few days.  Am still well and most of the other boys are doing all right.  We did get some candy from ship's PX but that is gone now so have to do without it.  In our group most all are NCO's so we don't catch KP or detail so easy.
Yesterday about 1500 they anchored the ship within sight of land.  There are several other ships scattered out.  I was to mass at 9 o'clock this morning on the starboard side on the main deck.
The ship I was on docked today at Liverpool so it was 7 in the evening before we debarked and got on a train.  The cars are short and to each two seats the door opens to the outside.  The locomotives are small to compare with those in the states.
About 11:30 we got to our destination about half way between Liverpool and London.  This place was a girls' school of some kind before the American Air Corps took it over.  It's just a replacement center.
Am still at Nelson Hall.  (Stone)  Last night I had a pass so I went to a pub and tried some cider.  That stuff will knock a mule out.  I mean it's rough.  I was to mass this evening.  Packed up my stuff again as we are to leave again to another place.
Had a train ride to a place by the name of Diss.  It's about two and a half hours to London.
Our crew is assigned to 349th Sqdn, 100th Bomb Gp.  The planes are continually roaring overhead.
Just had a few lectures by different officers.
It seems funny to sit by a stove in the middle part of July.  The sky is most of the time cloudy and often raining.  Had some false identification pictures made in civilian clothes.
Went up for a practice mission.  When we were coming in for a landing we hit the prop wash of the planes that landed ahead and so we were too close to a crash landing.
Am not doing much today.
Had two practice missions today.  Came down from the second about 10:30 in the evening.
Got up at 2:15 to get ready for a mission in France [Auxerre] but had to come back with number three engine bad.  Were half way across the channel  
Went on a mission to Kiel, Germany, a big naval base. Had ten 500 pound bombs. We ran the target at 27,000 feet. There was plenty flak but was few thousand feet below us.
Were on a raid to Schweinfurt. Had ten 1,000 pound bombs. The flak was so heavy that we couldn't get in the target. So dropped the bombs on the second target.
Went to London on a two day pass.
It's Sunday so was to mass. It was a high mass at eleven.
Went on a mission to France [Saint Lo] to bomb the German lines but the overcast was so heavy so had to bring the bombs back. The load was 38 one hundred pound bombs.
Today the crew went up [Saint Lo] but all the left waist gunners stayed down so it is my turn to stay. They made a mission this morning and went on another in the afternoon.
Were all ready to go on a mission with two 2,000 pound bombs. I was to fly tail. The mission was called off for some reason I don't know.
Got up at 12:30, breakfast at one and briefing at two. Takeoff at about 4:30. Had ten 500 pound bombs. Hit Merseberg. The flak was pretty heavy. Capt. Mason was leading our squadron - went down before we hit the target.
Supposed to go on the same target. But didn't take off the first plane. We had something wrong with the engines. The second we had it too late for the formation. So we took the guns out of both ships.
Had two practice missions. Landed at 10 o'clock so we were plenty tired.
Had to get up at 10 o'clock in the morning. Went to bomb a bridge at La Fere, France with six 1,000 pound bombs. It was a bad time coming into the base. Had to come down to 300 feet altitude to getthrough the overcast.
Went on another mission to bomb a rail yard in Troyes, France with twenty 250 pound bombs. It was the second target. Didn't see any enemy fighters and not much flak. Had a good escort of P-51s.
Bombed Hamburg, Germany at 26,000 feet with twenty 250 pound bombs. Our ship was hit in four places. One piece of flak stopped in my A-3 bag where I kept some of the cold. [candy?]
Bombed Magdeburg, Germany with five 1,000 pound bombs. Our plane has been hit in a good many places. One plane right off our tail blew up to bits and another went down in flames. The shells burst all around us so much it was awful. But honestly I was scared. I mean no one could pray any more then I did. But we all came back okay. Some of our engines were going bad but made it after all.
Bombed Berlin with ten 500 pound bombs. The flak was pretty heavy but not very accurate. Our ship wasn't hit and we didn't lose any planes from our squadron. I went to the 7:30 mass.
Had to go up on a bombing to practice.
Bombed the German lines in France [Saint Silvain] at 11,000 feet altitude with twelve 500 and two 1,000 pound bombs. We had eleven minutes flak and I mean pretty rough. We had the ship shot up in the nose, the windshield on one side [copilot's] was shattered. Some holes in the waist and also in the tail. One gas tank was hit but it sealed up. Chuck went into shock over the target. Lost one ship and another had to land in France but they came back the next day. [Strange: Eleventh mission at eleven thousand feet with flak for eleven minutes.]
Had two practice missions today so we were up again all day in the air. We never eat more than two meals a day lately. 
Had a stand down for a change so I did a little letter writing. Received several letters from home today.
Came back from a 48 hour pass. I spent it in London.
Bombed Ludwigshafen, Germany with twenty 250 pound bombs. The flak was real heavy but there were several formations of planes so it was kind of broken up. We got two holes in our ship.
Bombed Venlo, Holland, an airfield there with thirty-eight 100 pound bombs. Didn't have any flak on the target. The RAF was out too and I mean they are all over the sky. The 100th Bomb Group put up a whole wing just as yesterday.
Just had practice missions the last several days.
The weather kept us down. I received my Air Medal. The colonel pinned the medals on and shook every one's hands.
The weather is still bad so we had some pictures taken to be put in the home town paper. A P-47 crashed close to the end of the runway. It should [?] have collided with a B-24 but don't know much what really happened. [As I recall the scuttlebutt the P-47 pilot dove under the B-24 then pulled up in front too soon. The B-24 took off the tail of the P-47.]
Bombed an oil refinery at Roulin [Ruhland], Germany. Had ten 500 pound bombs. It was visual bombing. There was quite a bit of flak. We got one small hole in the stabilizer. It was more than an 8 hour mission. Bombing altitude 24,000 feet.
Bombed another oil plant near Stitten [Politz], Germany. Had ten 500 pound bombs at 26,000 feet. The flak was very heavy. There weren't any too close until we dropped the bombs. The target was hit good. An oil smoke was coming out after I looked back after the rally point. It was a 9 hour mission. But about three and a half hours on oxygen only.
Went on a mission to the Brest Peninsula, France to bomb flak guns at 20,000 feet with thirty-eight 100 pound bombs. We went right over the target but the clouds were too thick so couldn't drop the bombs. No flak for the first time we went across the channel.
Got a pass so went to see some of the boys in 385th Bomb Group near Stowmarket.
Got back from pass so cleaned up and went to write a few letters.
Bombed Brest Peninsula [Crozon], France with ten 500 pound bombs. Went over the target at about 11,000 feet then made another run at 8,000 feet. It should be 20,000 German troops there. Take off was before 6 o'clock. It was raining when we got up and is again raining in the evening. It has been quite a deal of bad weather lately.
Bombed Stuttgart, Germany with five 1,000 pound bombs, a truck factory, at 23,400 feet. The flak was pretty accurate but didn't lose any ships. We had five holes in the ship. The mission was 10 hours and five minutes long. 
Went on a mission to bomb Dusseldorf, Germany with ten 500 pound bombs but something happened to the lead ship as we started from the IP to the target. Before we started on the bomb run we were hit by flak. The flak was pretty heavy and besides we never got to the target. The target was to have 130 guns. We brought the bombs back. Got one hole in the ship. They call the Ruhr Valley Happy Valley but it's full of flak.
We came back from a seven day furlough instead of flak leave from the 11th to the 17th. I first went to see some of the boys in another outfit then spent the rest of the time in London. Yesterday we had a practice mission but I didn't have to fly. Most of the other boys went to Russia on a shuttle mission. They dropped supplies in Warsaw on their way over. 
Bombed a tank assembly plant at Bremen with six 1,000 pound bombs at 27,000 feet. The bombing was visual and there was quite a good deal of flak. We were flying high squadron lead in high group. Landed at about seven o'clock. Had to leave the plane on the end of the runway as our hydraulic system was out and didn't have any brakes so couldn't taxi.
Got up before two o'clock this morning. Take off was little after six. Bombed Mainz, Germany with twelve 500 pound bombs at 25,000 thousand feet. We bombed PFF through very thick clouds. It was a railroad yard. There was a good deal of flak but not very accurate. We were flying lead in high squadron, low group. We ran into some flak at the rally point so had to use evasive action.
Today Lt. Col. Jeffrey, CO of the field was decorated with a Polish medal presented by a Polish general for dropping supplies to the Polish troops in Warsaw.
Today this field has a big celebration on occasion of the Century Bombers completing 200 missions.
Today we bombed locomotive repair shops and railroad yards in the center of Kassel, Germany with ten 500 pound bombs. The flak was heavy on the target but after we got off the target was heaviest. We got several holes in the plane but no serious damage. The bombing was PFF as there were pretty heavy clouds over the target. We led high squadron in low group.
Bombed Nurnberg [aka Nuremberg], Germany with ten 500 pound bombs at 26,500 feet. PFF bombing as the undercast was pretty [heavy]. It was a tank factory and rail yards in the center of the city. There was heavy flak on the target but we ran into flak before we hit the IP and several times again. We got two small flak holes.
Bombed an oil plant at Brux [Bohlen], Germany with ten 500 pound bombs. We bombed PFF as there was about four tenths cloud coverage. We were in the first wing to go into the target. The flak at the target was pretty bad but as we got to the rally point we were within range of Merseberg and Liepzig and got pretty rough flak. We got too many holes to count in the plane. The stabilizer was shot up pretty bad and one of the Tokyo tanks was shot through.
Bombed a railroad yard at Munster, Germany with fourteen 250 pound bombs and four 500 pound incendiary bombs at 25,000 feet. We lead the low group so the copilot was in the tail and I was in back in the waist. I threw out almost all the chaff. There wasn't much flak. It was a solid overcast so bombed PFF.
We started on a mission to bomb an airfield just beyond the lines but turned back in 'cause of bad weather just six minutes from the IP. We were called out for two missions in the last few days but didn't take off either time because both were scrubbed.
Were wakened at four this morning and briefed for a mission to Merseberg. The bomb load was twelve 500 pound bombs. But the weather got too bad and we turned back and bombed Osnabruck, Germany at 26,000 feet for the low group which we were leading. The flak was about medium. Didn't get any flak holes on the bomb run but got two right as we got over the coast. PFF bombing.
Bombed Merseberg, Germany synthetic oil plant with twenty 250 pound bombs. Bombed PFF but the flak was very heavy tracking us so we had to use evasive action. We got out with several holes but it was a miracle with all the awful flak. We again lead the low group.
Bombed Friedburg, Germany, a rail yard with twelve 500 pound bombs at 26,000 feet. There was some flak on the first bomb run on which we didn't drop our bombs. On the one we dropped there was no flak. The target is northeast of Frankfurt. We flew low squadron lead, a PFF ship.
Today was a holiday so I was to the 11 o'clock mass this morning. Otherwise I haven't been doing too much of anything.
Yesterday we started out on a mission to bomb Osnabruck but while we were still circling the buncher it was recalled. We and another crew were to start out on course twenty minutes ahead and go to six degrees, check the winds and turn back. We didn't carry any bombs. We were recalled and the weather closed in so bad that it was not possible to land. Had to go 225 miles west to land on a British base where some Wellingtons were stationed for sub patrol. Most of the boys were taken to an American hospital for the night but I was left to guard the plane. It was pretty cold but the radio man relieved me in the morning so I could go and get something to eat. We started back and got back to the base at about four o'clock. The country was kind of hilly, the first hills I saw in England.
Today we and two other PFF ships from other groups flew out between Nancy and Metz and 20 miles into enemy territory to check two beacons on the radar that is supposed to be set up in France. We didn't get credit for either yesterday or today. Had four P-51 escorts.
Bombed an airfield at Biblis, Germany with 38 one hundred pound bombs. There was no flak at the target except for a few bursts but when we were crossing the lines the flak was pretty bad.
Bombed a rail yard at Fulda, Germany with ten 500 pound bombs. We didn't run into any flak except in a good ways off. It was a good deal of ice on the wings so we really sweated out the take off. This was out last mission and am I glad like everyone else.
I could not believe that I was through flying for awhile at least. Today we got a pass so we went to London with Murray's crew. We had dinner at the Red Star Cafe. It was a real good meal and we celebrated quite a bit.
Today Kip, Dell and Red left for Chorley through London where they spend several days. I stayed behind as I asked to stay as a gunnery instructor. It was pretty bad to see the boys leaving after being together almost a year on the same crew. Winters left a few days ago.
Well today I reported to the Station Gunnery to do some work after almost four weeks of just taking life easy, eating and sleeping.
I get passes every two weeks or two a month which is not bad. I get up little after 7 o'clock every morning. It sure is plenty cold and was all winter.
It's snowing like the diggones. Some of the trees are getting pretty green but there is not much planted in the fields yet as there is only barley or sort of stuff planted now. My orders came through two days ago but have to stick around and get paid before I leave the base. I got two letters of commendation, one from the colonel of the base and one from Lt. Allen, Gunnery Officer.
Well I finally did leave the 100th Bomb Group base on the 1:20 train. Me and another guy they call Casey were the only two from the squadron.
I met three of the boys from Murray's crew today and we had a pretty good time. We went to a dance at the Hammersmith.
Well we got to Chorley at about 5:30 or 6:00 but had a while before they took us to the post by the name of Washington Hall.
Well today I have KP. They sure take care that we will not get lazy.MAY 8Today Winston Churchill announced VE day at 3 o'clock but some way the guys did not make much noise as all of them were in combat and did not care for it. In the evening they built a good sized bonfire and also held the execution of Hitler. A good many of the boys were plenty drunk as there was plenty of beer free - more than enough.
MAY 12
We left Chorley on a train at about 11 o'clock.
MAY 13
We got to Glasgow, Scotland at about 9 o'clock in the morning. In about an hour and a half we got on the ship Ile de France. It was anchored a good ways out so we had to take a ferry. It was under the British flag. There were not many Americans, mostly Canadians. The meals were pretty good even if it was only two a day.
MAY 14
At midnight we started out to sea. It wasn't very rough except for one night.
MAY 22
Docked at New York today but it was afternoon before we got off. We had cold milk and doughnuts as soon as we got off.
MAY 23
Today we started on a troop train for Fort Sam Houston from Camp Kilmer.
MAY 26
Pulled into San Antonio about three this morning but we did not get off until in the morning. Old Fort Sam is just like it used to be.
MAY 27
Well at last I got my furlough papers at almost 7 o'clock. I spent the evening with Edmund and then left for home the next morning. I got a 30 day furlough and have to report to Santa Ana, California for reassignment.

RICKER, JOSEPH P. 2ND LT       O-817750
TONG, ALBERT J. 2ND LT         O-708122
PETERS, JOHN R. 2ND LT         O-713220
KIPILA, JOHN R. SGT             36593707
WINTERS, CHARLES E. SGT      18124781
DELL, ROBERT A. SGT            13175515
CROZIER, WILLIAM SGT          38532242
MAINKA, RAYMOND J. SGT        38461208
STAHL, ROBERT M. SGT          35559415

LATER:KREPISMANN, JULIUS 2ND LT(replacement for J. Peters)

(1)Jul 18 Kiel, Germany
(2)Jul 19 Schweinfurt, Germany 
(3)Jul 24 Normandy
(4)Jul 28 Merseberg, Germany
(5)Aug 2 La Fere, France
(6)Aug 3 Troyes, France
(7)Aug 4 Hamburg, Germany
(8)Aug 5 Magdeburg, Germany
(9)Aug 6 Berlin, Germany
(10)Aug 8 Front Ger. lines in France
(11)Aug 14 Ludwigshafen, Germany
(12)Aug 15 Venlo, Holland
(13)Aug 24 Roulan, Germany
(14)Aug 25 Stittin (Politz), Germany
(15)Aug 26 Brest Peninsula, France
(16)Sep 3 Brest, France
(17)Sep 5 Stuttgart, Germany
(18)Sep 9 Dusseldorf, Germany
(19)Sep 26 Bremen, Germany
(20)Sep 27 Mainz, Germany
(21)Oct 2 Kassel, Germany
(22)Oct 3 Nurnberg, Germany
(23)Oct 7 Bohlen, Germany
(24)Oct 22 Munster, Germany
(25)Nov 21 Osnabruck, Germany
(26)Nov 30 Merseberg, Germany
(27)Dec 4 Friedburg, Germany
(28)Dec 24 Biblis, Germany
(29)Dec 27 Fulda, Germany
[And the one Monk missed:Jul 25 Saint Lo, France]

That's it! I'm hoping for clearance soon from Red for his version.Tuss

Subj: Re: Red's Diary 
Date: 8/13/02 2:04:54 PM Mountain Daylight Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 

August 13, 2002

Greetings Loved Ones,   

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want that  wartime
poorly written literary musings of a 19 year old homesick boy, but after
much cogitation and after I once again read my copy on my computer, I
can't think of any reason for you to withhold it if Mike et al are
seriously asking for it.

Blessings on you and June.  Wish you could make a trip to W. Tex before
you get snowed in up there.


Diary of Sgt. William Crozier

From June 27, 1944 to December 28, 1944.  Flew 28 Missions as B-17 Flying Fortress ball-turret gunner over Germany, Holland, and France with the 349th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Force, England.


July 16, 1944...  We arrived in England June 27 and debarked Liverpool, England, June 29.  From there we went to Nelson hall, 8th A.F.R.D..  We left Nelson Hall by train and arrived at Diss, England, July 3.  By army truck we went to Thorpe Abbotts where 100th Bomb Group is located and were assigned to 349th Squadron.  We enlisted men were assigned to Quonset Hut #11.  Someone had painted a sign on the door "HERO'S HAVEN".  Somehow I do not feel like a potential hero.  July 14 we flew practice mission formation flying, had a close call on landing.  As wheels were about to touch down prop wash hit us and left wing dropped almost to the runway.  Rick finally pulled out level and we went around again and made another landing.  Besides scaring the wits out of me everything ended OK.  Today we went on two practice missions.  Somebody had lost their "eats" in the ball-turret oxygen hose, so I did not fly in the ball on that second practice mission.  We got word that tomorrow is a real one.  This is it!!!!  They are loading up two 2000 pounders for us in "Flak Foot Floogie" in which we fly in the morning.  Hope she is a good ship.  This may be the first and last writing in this diary.  With God granting, I'll finish writing with the answer tomorrow.........

July 18, Tuesday...  Today is the real day that old crew #11, (that's us) made its debut in the war.  We started out yesterday in Flak Foot Floogie but half way over the channel #3 engine cylinder head pressure went down so we had to abort.  The group hit a bridge in Auxerre, France, near Troyes.  Today, the 18th, we went on ours to Kiel, Germany.  The target was a canal and docks, but overcast prevented us from observing our hits.  We could not even see the ground.  Flak was heavy but not too accurate, but it was too close for comfort.  I did not see any ships go down, but I saw two with feathered props, one in the element behind us.  At one point I thought I had been hit in the face when my oxygen regulator froze up and cold oxygen blasted me in the face.  I determined my mask was OK so the trouble had to be the regulator.  I could barely reach the regulator down by my feet with my hand so I tapped on it and it shut off the open flow of oxygen.  After dropping our bombs on Krauts we took off, but the bomb bay doors would not close and was holding us back from the rest of the formation.  Kip cranked the doors up by hand and we left Kiel and all of its black puffs of smoke.  The mission was 27,000 feet and I am glad it was high because most of the barrage flak was on our course but low.  We flew in "Sparky", an old ship, and the ball was the old style small size, and I had to lie in an uncomfortable position to see out.  We encountered no fighters but one guy said he saw two FW 190's directly below us with four P-47's on their tails.  I saw the P-47's but not the FW 190's, but a FW 190 resembles a P-47 a good bit in the distance.  So that was our first mission.  I don't know if we have a mission tomorrow.  There is no flag up.

July 25... On July 19, we went on a mission to Schweinfurt, Germany.  Target was supposed to be ball bearing factory.  Flak was so heavy that our group turned off the target run before we got to the target.  Sidney Braud's element went through and the ship was hit all over.  His waist gunner was hit in the legs.  One piece of flak hit our right wing.  Our secondary target was marshaling yards at Frankfurt (?), but Tong was watching the lead ship to drop our bombs with his.  The lead ship dropped his early and so did we only they all dropped on an unidentified target, believed to be a civil housing district.  What had happened was the lead ship was hit by flak, the bombardier salvoed the bombs in order to stay up with the formation.  We had no attack by fighters.  July 20, we went on our first pass to London and dodged buzz bombs.  Later that night Chuck and I were in our Regent Palace Hotel room on the top floor and the air raid siren sounded.  It scared us so bad Chuck grabbed my blouse and I grabbed his, we put them on and ran down the stairs to the air raid shelter in the basement.  Chuck's blouse was so tight on me I could barely button it but I could barely button it but I did not notice it until we were in the shelter.  All the bombs were way in the distance so after 30 minutes we went back to our room.  In a few minutes another buzz bomb hit very close, close enough we felt it and saw flash around the edges of our black-out curtains.  So down the stairs we went again only this time we spent the whole night in not so comfortable lounge chairs in the basement.  Chuck wanted us to come home the next day, but since we has paid for two nights at the hotel, and the maid kidded Chuck about being scared he agreed to stay.  After going at a fast pace sight seeing all the next day we went to our hotel room that night and really passed out we were so tired.  Actually, according to the same maid the next morning, there had been a terrible pounding near the hotel and around Piccadilly, much worse than the night before and we slept through it all.  We had seen some buzz bombs when we were out sight seeing and each one made a terrible noise.  It was so noisy you could feel a vibration in the ground.  It sounded like a large group of bombers coming over very low with a deafening roar.  When the engine cut off, the whole thing fell to the ground like a rock and the explosion-blast was like an earthquake.  We saw all the regular visitor sights including St. Paul's Cathedral.  Bombs had hit it times but was not damaged very much.  It seemed like for miles around St. Paul's the German blitz had leveled everything and left St. Paul's still all standing by itself.  Yesterday, July 24, we went on another mission over the front lines to bomb the German infantry.  Clouds kept us from seeing the target area, and we were afraid we would hit our own lines so we came back with our bombs.  I saw an airplane about 2000 yards off get a hit with flak.  It burst into a huge sheet of fire, dropped below its formation and exploded again into small burning pieces.  I saw no parachutes.  The flak was thin but very accurate.  After the mission, I came back to the squadron area, got my mail, only to bad news.  Very bad news.  A letter from my sister told me that our mother had passed on.  Heart attack.  It hit me pretty hard.  She had not even been sick, but I guess she had worried too much about me and my three brothers in the army.  It is hard for me to realize she is gone.  It doesn't seem right somehow.  Our whole family depended on her for so much - - - - - - - - - - - - -Rick told me I would not have to go on the missions for a couple of days.  Maybe I can pull myself together.  I received a good letter from Mildred today, and it helped a lot.  Today the guys went on a mission over the front lines with a substitute ball gunner.  When they got back they loaded up again to go back on another mission to the front lines.  They have not come back yet from the second mission.  I hate it because I am not with them.

July 28...  The guys' second mission on July 25 was recalled.  The missions for July 26 and 27 were scrubbed.  One of them was Berlin.  Today we were supposed to go to Merseburg, but before briefing we were in line to get breakfast when the noise in the mess hall seemed so loud I could not stand it.  I guess I turned pretty white and I suddenly felt weak and I sat down on a bench.  When Dell looked at me he said you are not going on any mission today, and he took off in a run to operations to get a replacement for me.  In a few minutes Dell came back and said the operations officer said I should not have tried to go on the mission.  Dell told me to go back to our hut so I did.  I feel terrible.  I feel worse about their going on a mission without me than I do from my nerves tearing me up.  It is about time for the guys to return so I am going out on the line to meet them.  The mission is a very rough one to the oil refinery at Merseburg.  They have to come back.  If there is a mission tomorrow I am going!!!!!

July 29...  Stand down.  Yesterday I went out on the line to see the planes come back from the mission to Merseburg to meet the guys coming in.  It was a real bad mission.   I was so nervous I was about to die until I finally saw our airplane coming in for a landing.  

August 1...  Changes in the crew; number of gunners cut to five.  Monk moved from waist to tail gunner and Stahl is off crew.  We went on two practice missions today.  Was air sick on the first one.

August 2...  Went to La Fere, France & bombed a railroad and highway bridge.  Irritated me that I felt so nervous and shaky but I made it.  It was not a rough mission.  No flak.  No fighters.

August 3...  We hit rail yards at Troyes, France.  After circling oil dump several times because of clouds, we reverted to secondary target.  No flak, no fighters.  Both French targets milk runs.

August 4...  We went to Hamburg, Germany, bombed oil refinery.  No fighters but very much flak.  We got several holes in wings and fuselage.  One piece of flak hit Monk's A-3 bag.  Shattered the box of hard candy Monk had in his bag.  Monk took this as a personal insult.  Long trip.  I am getting tired.  So is everybody else.

August 5... Today was a lu-lu.  The target was Kruppt armaments factory (tanks I think) at Magdeburg, Germany.  The flak was the heaviest and most accurate I have ever seen.  Three airplanes behind us in our formation blew up on the bomb run.  Flak hit us all over our ship including in #2 engine and gas tank, and we had to feather our #1 engine which went dead.  That is the most scared I have ever been.  I was doing nothing but praying the whole time and so was everybody else.  Ralph Ingles in our hut was on one of the ships that went down.  His troubles are over.  It's bad because he had a wife and child.  He was really a swell guy.  I hope they don't get any rougher than today's.  Got two letters from home; guess they all are all right.  I got a big pile of Mildred's too.  I hope they keep coming.  I think the red flag is up.  I hope we don't fly tomorrow, but we probably will.  They don't have much consideration for us.  I am so tired I am half dead.

August 6... Today is "Big B" day.  We hit Berlin today and it was really hit, too.  Could see nothing but fire and smoke coming up from the city.  We were expecting the whole German Air Force to come after us; they were there, but I did not see one E/A.  Flak, of course was very heavy, but luckily we did not even get one hit on our plane.  I don't see how we got through all that barrage, but we did.  There was more flak than Magdeburg only not as accurate, thank the Lord.  Many of our ships got hit but I did not see one in our group go down.  On our way to Berlin we passed by Hamburg but could not see much of it for fire and smoke coming from the burning oil refinery and the smoke overcast which went for 35 miles.  Some of the 8th bombers really knocked out that refinery.  Our target in Berlin was an aircraft engine factory.  Good results.  Newspapers say Russians are in E. Prussia and near Warsaw.  Americans in France advanced 80 miles yesterday to take the Brittany Peninsula.

August 7...  Finally got a little rest.  No mission but we had to go on two practice missions.  These practice missions irk me terribly.  We have too, too, toooo many.

August 8...  We caught it again today.  Our target was over Normandy to help the Limies.  They told us it would be a milk run and only a few flak guns if any.  We would not even need to wear oxygen masks because the bomb run would be at 11,000 feet.  Boy, did we catch it.  They had plenty flak guns.  The bomb run was eleven minutes long and that was the longest eleven minutes I ever spent in my life.  Just one continuous wham, wham against our ship.  I don't see how we stayed up with so many hits.  In interrogation they said it was the tanks (German) that were shooting at us.  At our altitude we were like clay pigeons.  I don't understand how, but none of us in our ship w3as hit, but Chuck got a very bad case of shock when a piece of flak came up right by his head as he bent over the chaff chute.  I though he was hit, but he had just passed out from the near miss.  It made a pretty good size hole in the catwalk by the chaff chute.  If it had been a few inches to his left, the flak would have taken his head off.  I made him lie down again and gave him oxygen after he came to.  He was pretty hysterical for awhile, crying, etc.  I put a blanket around him and he settled down some.  He had fever when we got back to the base and they put him in the hospital.  I did not fly in the ball because of a malfunction, but my ball was hit with flak.  Glad I was not in it.  We lost two ships.

August 9...  Chuck still in the hospital.  No mission today, thank the Lord, but we don't get any rest; practice mission today!!

August 10...  Did nothing but rest.  Sure does feel good.  I was about to believe my body was going to go on strike.  Glad to see Chuck out of hospital.  He says Mack the Quack got our crew a three day pass because of Chuck's shock.  Said Chuck had what in World War I was called shell shock.  He said for Chuck to go somewhere and rest his nerves or he would ground Chuck permanently.  Chuck begged him not to ground him.

August 14...  Target today was Ludwigshafen, Germany, chemical plant.  Had lot of flak but not very much near us.  We got two holes in the waist.  It was deep into Germany; we were on oxygen for at least six hours, maybe more.  Our crew went on pass August 10 afternoon.  Chuck, Kip and I went to Cambridge instead of London and dodge the buzz bombs.  Stayed at Guest House Hotel.  It was very much more peaceful for Chuck's benefit.  But I think we all needed it.  Really enjoyed Cambridge.  We rented a row-boat and floated up and down the Cam River at the university for several hours.  Lots of boaters on the river.  Chuck and Kip flirted with the girls in other row-boats.  I think we are about to begin feeling human again.

August 15...  Today we bombed an airfield at Venlo, Holland.  All the 8th Air Force and a sky full of RAF heavies were all over Holland.  The RAF, not flying in any kind of formation, was at all altitudes everywhere.  They look like a swarm of mosquitoes coming out of a swamp.  I saw a number of German airfield completely destroyed.  No flak over target, a little going in and coming out, but no fighters.

August 16...  Stand down.  Had practice mission.

August 17...  Stand down.  Another practice mission this morning; started on another this afternoon, but was called off for some reason, thank goodness.  These practice missions are really boring.  I asked Rick yesterday to get me a pass so I could go see Jack Mercer, but he did not say anything about it today.  Next stand down I'll go to operations myself to get one.

August 18...  Stand down.  Practice mission as usual.

August 19...  Went to see Jack Mercer today at another bomber base.  He was out on a mission so I did not get to see him.  I had promised in a letter to his mother I would go see him.

August 20...  Stand down.

August 21...  Stand down.  We were awarded Air Medals today from Colonel Jeffrey.

August 22 and 23...  Stand down.

August 24...  Went deep into Germany to synthetic oil plant at Ruhland, Germany, near Liepzig.  Must have hit the target because it was really burning.  I rode in the waist because ball-turret malfunction.  Heavy flak.  Our fighter escort kept the Luftwaffe off of us.

August 25...  Another long mission to synthetic oil plant today at Politz, near Stettin.  Good results.  Lots of fire and smoke.  Much flak, but we were lucky.  I saw two ships blow up.

August 26...  Tactical mission to Brest, France.  Target covered by clouds.  We like these kinds of  missions.  No flak, no fighters.  We were expecting flak from over one hundred guns.  Don't know why they did not shoot at us.  Because of the clouds I guess they were saving their ammo.

August 27 to September 1...  Our crew stood down.  Our crew's time for a pass so Chuck and I are going to Cambridge again.

September 2...  Stand down.  Practice mission.

September 3...  Went back to Brest, France today.  We led the low squadron.  Went in at 11,000 feet, but clouds over target, so next run was at 8,000 feet.  Germans at Brest cut way off from rest of army but they refused to surrender.  On last pass over target I strafed the ground with my guns, but we were too high to see what I was shooting at.  Pete is no longer on our crew.  We have a new navigator by name of Klinikowski.  We are now officially a lead crew.  Reports say we have to fly only 30 missions instead of 35 like the rest.

September 4...  Stand down.

September 5...  I put in #16 today.  The rest of the crew have 18.  The target was a truck factory at Stuttgart, Germany.  Flak was fairly heavy and very accurate.  We got several holes in wings and fuselage but nobody was hurt.  Long mission, must have been over 10 hours.  Very tiring.  I rode in the waist about one half the time.  Turret malfunction. , I received only one letter in last 8 days from Mildred, and it was a V-mail thing!!!

September 9...  We were scheduled to go on one week flak leave this morning so we didn't go to bed until about 1:30 AM.  At 2:00 AM, Miner came in and told us we were flying, briefing in one hour.  Therefore we had no sleep.  The target today was in Happy Valley (Ruhr Valley), center of the city of Dusseldorf, Germany.  We started on bomb run and a hail of flak hit our formation.  We turned off the run when the PFF Radar equipment failed to work.  We brought our bombs back home.  City was reported to have 130 AA guns.  Other ships in our formation were riddled, but we were lucky again.  Bessie and Obie in our hut finished their tour today but their waist gunner got hit bad with flak in his foot today.  He is in base hospital.  Now do we get to go flak leave tomorrow?  Right now I am very sleepy and tired.

September 19...  We are back from our seven day flak leave.  Chuck and I spent a couple of days at Letchworth and then went on to London.  I heard a few V-2 rocket bombs, but none were very near.  While we were gone the 100th lost 15 ships on one mission.  The 350th squadron was wiped out completely.  Cellighan and his crew went down.  Our 349th Sqdn. lost four.  One of the crews was almost through.  Wixom in our hut got a FW 190.  Had a practice mission today.  Most of the 100th has gone to Russia on a shuttle run.  From Russia they will fly to Italy and then back to England and drop bombs on each leg.  We missed it because we were on leave.  On the way to Russia they were going to drop guns, ammo, and supplies to some Poles in an uprising in Warsaw.  I would like to have made that mission.  The Allies' ground army is a few miles inside Germany.  Airborne troops were dropped inside Holland.  Mail from Mildred has been pretty scarce.  So is mail from anybody lately.  Maybe Mildred has jilted me.

September 26...  Dropped bombs on a tank factory in Bremen, Germany.  Results good.  We led the high squadron of the high group and were above much of the flak.  No fighters.  It was a late mission and a long one, too, so we did not get back home until after 9:00 PM.

September 27...  After finally getting to bed last night at almost midnight, they woke us up at 3:00 AM for a mission to Mainz, Germany, railway yards.  Heavy undercast and so we bombed by PFF radar.  Flak was fairly heavy but not accurate.  Saw no enemy fighters but they were all around.  We led high squadron.  That makes 19 for me and 21 for the other guys.

October 2...  Kassel aircraft engine factory.  Led high squadron.  Very much undercast made us drop by PFF radar.  Flak was heavy but German E/A never got by our escort.  The 100th had a big two-day party on the base yesterday and today celebrating the 100th's 200 missions.  About 200 dames from London.

October 3...  Nurnberg, Germany, center of city and tank factory.  First target was to have been airfield and storage depot outside of city but heavy undercast caused a switch to #2 target and bomb by PFF radar.  Heavy and accurate flak.  We also had flak at several points on the way in and out.  We were expecting many E/A but our escort was too much for the Germans.  We led high squadron.

October 7...  Bohlen near Merseburg, synthetic oil plant.  Flak over target was not as bad as Merseburg, but we got lots of flak from four flak areas before we got to the rally point.  We received many holes in the wings, fuselage, and tail.  Our ship is in repair shop now.  Our formation was not attacked by German fighters but the poor guys in the formation behind us were attacked by jet jobs.  McDonald went down somewhere in Holland.

October 22...  Our target today was Munster, Germany, railroad yards which feed the Ruhr Valley.  We bombed by PFF radar so our bombs could have landed anywhere in Germany.  The flak was very light which makes me suspect we probably missed the whole city.  We carried incendiaries and we really sweat them out.  Two of the incendiary clusters did not release from the bomb racks so we had to bring them back.  We were afraid they would drop in the bomb bay on the way home and set our airplane on fire.  I have 23 made now.

November 12...  We have sweat it out for three weeks and our number finally comes up for a mission.  But before we could take off it was scrubbed.  Target was marshaling yards somewhere.  Blue flag is up now but it could turn red by morning.  Wixom and his crew finished yesterday and are ready to go home.  They were one of the three other crews that checked into the 100th with us last July.  The other two have been shot down.  I hate to see them go, but glad they have a chance to go home.  Received no mail for an awful long time.

November 19...  Nothing much going on.  No missions, not even any practice missions.  This doing nothing is sure nice, but on the other hand we would like to get our missions over with.  Talked to a guy from Kilgore, Texas who knew Lewis Gilbert.  Said he was shot down somewhere in Germany.  Wixom and Baldy got stuck on instructor jobs for one month at blister hangar.  Rest of crew goes home any day now.

November 21...  Yesterday, November 20, we started out to bomb an airfield some where in Central Germany but were recalled before we got to target.  We first though we would get credit for a sortie because we flew over enemy territory, but we learned today we do not.  Today's mission we were briefed for the mighty Merseburg.  Because we ran into a cloud bank in Germany, we were diverted to secondary target, the marshaling yards at Osnabruck, Germany.  We received some flak hits.  They told us in briefing Merseburg was #2 priority enemy target.  The whole German Air Force was expected out today but they did not hit us.

November 30...  I finally got to go to bloody Merseburg.  I missed the previous mission to Merseburg our crew made last July.  They told us to expect 600 to 800 German fighters and at least 385 flak guns.  We had 1200 American fighter escorts.  I saw no E/A.  I think there must have been many more than 385 flak guns over the target though.  The 8th Air Force lost 56 bombers and 30 fighters.  I saw one of our squadron spinning down in flames.  For the amount of flak we got surprisingly few flak holes, but our other planes were hit hard.  It appears we did not make a good strike on the target because of an effective smoke screen.  I don't want to go to Merseburg again.  This mission was an M.E. [maximum effort] and we flew leading the low group.  Tuss says our next mission and thereafter we will fly a PFF radar ship, also called a Mickey ship for whatever reason I don't know.  A PFF ship does not have a ball turret so I will fly as a waist gunner when we fly lead and have a command pilot with us and Tuss will fly tail gunner and formation officer.  I now have 25 missions.

December 4...  We flew our first mission on a PFF ship to NW Germany.  Did not bomb primary so we bombed railroad yards at Friedburg, Germany, near Frankfurt.  Chuck also went with us because we had no command pilot.  Rick made captain.

December 10...  Wixom and Baldy went home a few days ago.  Got 4 Christmas packages today.  Red flag is up so will probably fly tomorrow.

December 16 ...  Started out on a mission on December 13 but were recalled.  We and another ship were to fly to six degrees over Germany and report the weather back to our base.  We started out twenty minutes before the rest of the formation but at the Europe continent we ran into a high cloud bank and had to turn around and come back.  Before we and the bomber formation could get back to Thorpe Abbotts the ground became 100% socked in so we all started flying west to find a place to land.  We ended up in Wales at an RAF Coastal Patrol Airfield.  Nearby was an American G.I. Infantry hospital and all of us bunked in there.  We had a good time visiting with the infantry patients exchanging war stories.  One guy who forgot where he was from told me he would not have any part of our flying job.  He said if we got shot down we sure would have a long way to fall.  I told him I did not want his job; the infantry was too rough for me.  We also had some good chow.  We flew back to Thorpe Abbotts the next day.  Yesterday our ship and two other PFF's flew over the front lines checking beacons.  Don't know what kind of beacons.  There was a complete undercast and we ran into no E/A nor any flak.  We had two or three American fighter escorts with us, but we got gypped again because we got no credit for a mission.  Something was haywire with our radio compass and dell says we were lost over the French-German border.  Rick said today I will finish with the crew even though I will have only 28 missions.  Great news I will not have to fly two more with some other crew.

December 24...  (Christmas Eve)  We bombed an enemy airfield at Biblis, Germany near Frankfurt.  On this raid the 8th put up 2000 bombers over Germany.  Our trip was not so light.  We strayed over a heavy flak area before reaching the I.P.  We got through it but others were not so fortunate as we.  Tong had very close shaves twice.  On the bomb run, a piece of flak came through the nose and knocked his flak helmet off.  The shattered plexiglass cut his nose slightly.  When he was telling us about it over the inter-com another piece came through and hit his flak jacket in his middle and knocked him over backwards.  The flak knocked the breath out off him for a few minutes but he recovered and dropped our bombs on and smeared the target.

December 27...  Today is the big day.  We finished our tour with a raid on railroad yards on Fulda, Germany.  It made 28 for me and 30 for the rest of the crew.  We lost no bombers over Germany but while taking off I saw where two B-17's had cracked up on take off because of fog and severe icing conditions.  We had a problem of gaining altitude after take off but the ship finally responded and began to climb in time.  The flak was light and we had no E/A problems and it was a good mission to finish up on.

December 28...  We heard that Pete went down over Frankfurt today.  I hope he is safe as a POW.


Mike, Peters was our original navigator who was replaced by Julius Krepismann but we flew a few missions with Walt Klinikowski as navigator in the interim.


 On the 15th of August 1945, Colonel Jack Wallace, Commanding Officer of the 100th toured the base personally announcing the 100th was scheduled to return to the U.S.A. The last six (6) aircraft to leave with passangers did so under Special Order No #1 dated 25 Sep 1945. Destination was Greinier Field at Manchester, New Hampshire.
 The lead aircraft, B-17G #44-8912 was flown by Major Johnson R. Staples. Aboard were five (5) crew members and five (5) passangers. Those aboard are listed below..

Maj Johnson R. Staples Aircraft Commander 418th Sqdn.. CO  Taps March 1988
Maj J.S. Robinson  Co-pilot  418th Sqdn.  Commander of 24 Dec 44 Bulge Relief.
Capt E.C. King  Navigator  351st Sqdn. Flew periless 24 May 1944 Berlin Mission.
T/Sgt E.W. Miller  Flight Engineer  418th Sqdn Flying at the end of hostilities.
T/Sgt F. Kocher  Radio Operator 418th Sqdn Completed Tour 05 Jan 1945 Frankfurt. 
M/Sgt J. Klingenstein  Passenger  Flight Line Chief
Maj  Horace L. Varian Passenger  Gnd Execitive Officer
Capt William A. Carleton Passenger  Group Engineering Officer
Capt A.J. Tong  Passenger  349th Sqdn.Bombardier
F/O S.E. Wood  Passenger  unk Sqdn.Co-pilot

 I think there was a DFC citation in there, but will have to check.  He also had the Air Medal with a few oak leaf clusters, and the French Croix de Guerre with silver star.  I have that original citation. I've heard the Croix de Guerre story (mission was to bomb an ammo dump in France that was next to a soccer stadium, and didn't bomb when he saw the stadium was full of civilians who would have been in the middle of the bomb pattern, and had the group divert to a secondary target, debriefed, and somehow the French found out about it and had him go to Paris after the war ended for the award) and a DFC story (Biblis, where the weather finally cleared during the Battle of the Bulge and they had an 'every plane that can fly' mission to strike the gasoline stored at the fuel distribution point that was supporting the German offensive (near the airfield). He had completed his required missions, but said they took the Group Staff (he was Group Bombidier) and formed a crew for the mission. Had the plexiglass nose of the plane shatter by flak, etc.   I'll dig through the papers and see what I can find.   Regards, Jeff Tong  

     I'll look in my boxes of stuff and find what I have of his records. What I remember is that there is a page of several award citations for many 100th personnel, including his.  I'll find it and scan it in, as the other personnel mentioned might like to see their citations as well.   The rest of the Biblis story as it was related to me over the years is: The nose of the plane was shattered by flak as they started the bomb run, and pieces hit him across the stomach on his flak vest. The metal shrapnel was so hot it melted the nylon flack vest where it hit, and the opening allowed the protective overlapping metal pieces in the flack vest fall out. Now the back of the flak vest was still intact and and so it was pulling downward from the back, causing the now lightened front to choke him. He was knocked off his seat again during the bomb run.  The 200 mph airstream is coming in through the nose while he is trying to work the bomb site on the bombing run. The Group is scattered by the heavy flak and they overfly the target without bombing, as they would have an ineffective pattern.  The pilot [Ricker] brings the plane around again as the bombardier [Tong] fires flares to tell the other planes that he has a bombsite and to close on him. They come around again and hit the target. I was told the exploding fuel on the ground put a fireball into the sky.  
   George Tussing was the co-pilot for that crew and was on that mission, and I saw on the website that he was active, putting up $1000 towards buying a painting. He might remember some of this mission.  There is also the war diary of SGT William CROZIER on the 100th BG Association site, and he was a member of the crew as well. He mentions the Biblis mission:  "December 24. . . (Christmas Eve) We bombed an enemy airfield at Biblis, Germany near Frankfurt. On this raid the 8th put up 2000 bombers over Germany. Our trip was not so light. We strayed over a heavy flak area before reaching the I. P. We got through it but others were not so fortunate as we. Tong had very close shaves twice. On the bomb run, a piece of flak came through the nose and knocked his flak helmet off. The shattered plexiglass cut his nose slightly. When he was telling us about it over the inter-com another piece came through and hit his flak jacket in his middle and knocked him over backwards. The flak knocked the breath out off him for a few minutes but he recovered and dropped our bombs on and smeared the target."  Sadly, the scrapbook contained no strike photos of the Biblis mission. If you have access to any in your capacity as historian, I'd love to see one. 
   I was able to sit down and spend some time on all this tonight, and so I numbered all of the strike photos (there are 229 of them) covering what looks to be 97 separate targets. Numbering them allows me to cross reference the physical photo with the scanned file, and I'm populating an Excel spreadsheet for this purpose.  I finished April 1944 tonight. 1200 dpi is slower, but it's for posterity and I only want to do this once, so I figured high resolution it is. It does allow a nice zoom in.

  Regards, Jeff Tong







 Partial crew of "BILLY BOY": From left; Albert J. Tong, George W. Tussing (behind other three), Joseph P. Ricker - Pilot and Julius H. Krepismann - NAV. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Newspaper clipping on Lt Ricker Crew. (Courtesy of Matt Mabe)



Crew 1

ID: 5264