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S/SGT  John P. WARGO

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG
SERIAL #: STATUS: CPT
MACR:

Comments1: 18 JUN 44 BRUNSBUTTELKOOG (CANEL LOCKS)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Arthur H.Becktoft           P  POW         8/10/43  Bremen
2nd Lt Clifford M.Spencer          CP  POW        8/10/43  Bremen
2nd Lt Wayne A. Fuess           NAV   NOC                      (original Navigator on Crew)  
2nd Lt Walter Nichols,Jr.         NAV  POW   8/10/43 (from crew of Lt John Gossage)
2nd Lt Robert L.Miller             BOM  POW   8/10/43 Bremen
 T/Sgt Elmer J.Williams            TTE  POW   8/10/43 Bremen
 T/Sgt Floyd A.Lowe               ROG  KIA    8/10/43 Bremen
 S/Sgt Charles E.Marengo        BTG  POW   8/10/43 Bremen
 S/Sgt Henry T.Popielarski         WG  POW   8/10/43  MACR#42 30154 
 S/Sgt John P. Wargo               WG   CPT        18/6/44  BRUNSBUTTELKOOG
' S/Sgt Andy P.Stanley               TG  POW    8/10/43

349th Sqdn.  A/C 42-30154 "War Eagle" XR-H Crew joined the 100th in Sept 3, 1943

This was the 6th or 7th mission for this crew except for  Sgt.Hoffman (Edward J. Hoffman, Jr.) was on his first mission, he had been a member of the quartermaster unit, but insisted on volunteering as a gunner)who was a replacement on this mission. He replaced John P. Wargo.  Plane was flying #3 in third element of the high squadron. Had released bombs on target when it was apparently attacked. Floyd Lowe hit between shoulder blades by a 20mm probably died instantly. All others bailed out and were immediately picked up by the Germans.

Letter (29/3/84) from C.E.Marengo indicates that his crew joined the 100th in Sept 1943. Sgt.  John P. Wargo was their regular WG but replaced by Hoffman on 8/10/43. Wargo CT on 18/6/44 (with Lt Allen Crew). Cliff Spencer died  1983 in CA of cancer. Lost track of other crew members. Says Nichols may have been a "new" navigator on crew.

Of the 8 OCT 43 mission Marengo has this to say: "We were hit by ME 109s out of the sun. One took part of our tail off and hit #3 engine which burned. I called the pilot and advised him of the fire, but nothing was done. When the fire burned through the wing and they saw it they dove the plane to put out the fire. Part of the tail came off and we went into a spin. the order to b ail out was given and I got out the ball and started for the door. then went back for my chest pack. Plane was nose down when I went out hooking the right chute clasp as I went. There was a waist gunner still near his gun when I left. I had never worn the harness before as I had swapped mine (which was too big) with another guy the day before, his was too small. Fate is I wore the smaller harness and am still alive. Floyd Lowe was hit  in the back with a 20mm during the attack and was gone. The co-pilot was the stick that fateful day and two 17s were knocked out ahead of us and one exploded - left nothing but dust ..."


CREW

   Lt George S.Allen               P    CPT     9/9/44    DUSSELDORF                                        sn# 0-753839
   Lt Orton H.Symer,Jr.        CP   CPT     9/9/44  DUSSELDORF                                        sn# 0-819210   
   Lt Thomas J. Tracy       NAV    KIA     24/5/44     BERLIN (with Lt Clarke T. Johnson Crew)
   Lt William A.Stewart      BOM    CPT    9/9/44  DUSSELDORF                                         sn# 0-759879
T/Sgt Robert A. Monroe    ROG   RFS     15/8/44    VENLO (after 30 missions)                        sn# 39313008          
T/SgtWiilliam M..Oberman   TTE    CPT    9/9/44  DUSSELDORF                                          sn# 36635419   
S/Sgt Richmond L.Bessey    BTG   CPT    9/9/44  DUSSELDORF                                          sn# 31200232
Sgt Stanley Gottlieb              WG     RFS     Air Sickness (flew one mission) 
Sgt David Jacques                 WG     RFS     Was left in Base Hospital in Bangor Maine
S/Sgt Ray A. Matz                 WG   RFS     Assigned to Crew upon arrival to replace Jacques          sn# 33230747
S/Sgt Lester Jackson             TG     WIA     29/7/44    Merseburg 

349th Sqdn. Assigned in April 1944.  Appears as  Crew #12 on Combat Crew Roster of 11/8/44.

Lt Eluid J.Knapp  NAV (from the James W. McGuire Crew) was one of many Navigators to fly with Lt Allen's Crew.  He  CPT his 
tour with the Allen Crew on 24/8/44-RUHLAND.   S/Sgt Wilbur F.Williams, TG  (from Lt Herres Crew) replaced Sgt Jackson after Jul 29, 1944.  He CPT his tour on 9/9/44-DUSSELDORF with Allen Crew.  After one mission, Sgt Gottlieb was removed from flying staus due to air sickness and replaced by S/Sgt John Wargo (from Lt Becktoft Crew) and completed his missions on Jun 18, 1944-BRUNSBUTTELKOOG.
Upon completion of his tour, S/Sgt Ray Matz was replaced on the crew by S/Sgt Joeseph Costanza (from Lt John Keys Crew).  His first mission with the crew was Aug 15, 1944 to Venlo and his last was Sept 9, 1944 to Dusseldorf. Joe was from NYC and he fit in with the crew well.  He almost cried when we finished our tour, as he had more missions to go and dreaded flying with a new Crew.  He did complete his tour on Oc 4, 1944-NURNBURG, Crew unknow.  We had several different Navigators (Tracy, Knapp, Holmes), we never did get to know them well.  Ray Matz was grounded around the end of July due to combat fatigue.  Bob Monroe was grounded after 30 missions for the same reason.  They both went home.  The replacements were not billeted in our hut so I didn't get to know them very well.  We only spoke to one another before we went on a mission, and then we were all busy cleaning our guns, checking ammo and such.  These chores were done in darkness… courtesy of S/Sgt William Oberman and son Mark  (mpf 2002)     

CREW  (Pick up Crew)

LT G. S. ALLEN             PILOT 
LT O. H. SYMER            CO-PILOT
LT A. I. HOLMES           NAVIGATOR         (from Lt Lawrence Townsend Crew)
LT W.A. STEWART         BOMBARDIER
T/SGT R.A. MONORE     RADIO OPERATOR
T/SGT W. M. OBERMAN   FLIGHT ENGINEER
S/SGT R. L. BESSEY       BALL TURRET GUNNER
S/SGT R. PATRICK         WAIST GUNNER  (flying spare gunner, from Lt Cowan Crew)
S/SGT J. P. WARGO       WAIST GUNNER  (Replacement for Sgt Gottlieb) 
S/SGT L. E. JACKSON     TAIL GUNNER     (original Crew member)


Missions Flown by S/Sgt William Oberman (mpf 2002)

      DATE             TARGET                  BOMB LOAD

1.    25/05/44       BRUSSELS                38-100 LBS
2.    27/05/44       STRASSBOURG         38-100 LBS
3.    28/05/44       MAGDEBURG            12-500 LBS
4.    29/05/44       LEIPZIG                   12-500 LBS
5.    31/05/44       OSNABRUCK             6-1000 LBS
6.    02/06/44       PARIS                      12-500 LBS
7.    04/06/44       BOLOUGNE               12-500 LBS
8.    05/06/44       BOLOUGNE               12-500 LBS
9.    06/06/44       D-DAY                      12-500 LBS
10.  07/06/44       NANTES                    2-2000 LBS
11.  18/06/44       BRUNSBUTTELKOOG   10-500 LBS
12.  19/06/44       CORME ECLUSE          10-500 LBS
13.  20/06/44       FALLERSLEBEN           2-2000 LBS
14.  21/06/44       RUHLAND                  10-500 LBS
15.  26/06/44       DROHOBYCZ              10-500 LBS
16.  03/07/44       ARAD                        10-500 LBS
17.  05/07/44       BEZIERS                    5-1000 LBS
18.  07/07/44       BOHLEN                    10-500 LBS
19.  18/07/44       KIEL                         10-500 LBS
20.  19/07/44       SCHWEINFURT           10-500 LBS
21.  21/07/44       LUDWIGSBURG           10-500 LBS
22.  24/07/44       ST LO                       38-100 LBS
23.  25/07/44       ST LO                       38-100 LBS
24.  28/07/44       MERSEBURG               10-500 LBS
25.  29/07/44       MERSEBURG               20-250 LBS
26.  03/08/44       TROYES                    6-1000 LBS
27.  06/08/44       BERLIN                      10-500 LBS
28.  11/08/44       VILLACOUBLAY           38-100 LBS
29.  13/08/44       NANTES                     36-100 LBS
30.  15/08/44       VENLO                       36-100 LBS
31.  24/08/44       RUHLAND                   
32.  27/08/44       BERLIN (RECALL)
33.  30/08/44       BREMEN        
34.  08/09/44       MAINZ                        
35.  09/09/44       DUSSELDORF 

"On June 7 1944 mission to Nantes, two engines and Tail Gunners oxygen were knocked out over target. We landed at a RAF glider base, about 40 miles south of London.  We threw ammo and guts of machine guns and radio receivers our as radio man did not need to contact to contact base.  This was done to maintain altitude... 

On July 29, 1944 Merseburg mission, we led the low squadron that day and had an engine knocked out on the bombing run.  The Group did not drop bombs on target area as pathfinder ship could not locate target.  Our pilot radioed planes in our squadron t catch up with the main group, since we only had 3 engines and could not keep up.  Shortly after, the planes pulled away from us, we were hit by German Jets (ME262). You will read jets did not come up until Aug 44.  The came in directly behind our tail and a little high.  Our tail gunner (Jackson)  had crawled into the waist with a walk around bottle. His oxygen was knocked our and he was wounded in the ankle...

The leader of the jets came in first and my guns would not fire as long as they were aiming at any part of our own ship  (fire cut-off cam in gun sight).  I held trigger down and as soon as the guns cleared our plane.  They began to fire, I gave him a few short bursts and he was gone.  He flew out of range to our left and a little high.  He must of radioed his buddies and told them our tail guns were not operating.  Then they came at us one at a time, directly behind the tail.  I gave each one a short burst, then I'd have to pick up the next attacker.  By the time Matz (WG) got back into the tail (filling in for injured TG), they were gone.  I always wondered why they never pressed the attack further.  Our pilot probably saved us by putting the plane in a shallow dive and using evasive maneuvers.  The Jets formed up again and attacked the five planes that were flying with us.  They knocked every one of the five planes out of the sky and left.  Because the pilot put the plane in a dive, we picked up speed and caught up with another group flying at a lower altitude…

We didn't stay with them as we could not keep up after he leveled off. Flying by ourselves was very lonely.  Pilot then asked me to fire the vari pistol for fighter protection.  I don't remember the color of the day as colors were changed every mission.  After firing a few shots at a few minute intervals, 2 P-47's (our little friends as we called them) pulled up along side and they circled around us until their gas supply ran low and they had to leave.  What a beautiful sight that was having the 47's with us…

Since no bombs were dropped on the target area our bombardier dropped his bombs on a target of opportunity on our way home.  At the time of the attack, our bombardier was in the waist giving first aid to tail gunner Jackson… " 
                                                                                                                              courtesy of S/Sgt William Oberman (mpf 2002)

MEMO 2:

Mission List for WAR EAGLE XR-H  and Lt Arthur Becktoft Crew

September 3, 1943, Becktoft Crew arrives at Thorpe Abbotts
10-14 days of Orientation Missions around England

Date & Target:                     Aircraft:                Status              Crew
6/9/1943   Stuttgart          War Eagle XR-H     REM            UNK
7/9/1943   Watton            War Eagle XR-H     P                  UNK
9/9/1943   Beauvais AF     War Eagle XR-H    P                  UNK
15/9/1943 Paris                  War Eagle XR-H    P                Lt Arthur Becktoft      
16/9/1943  La Pallice         War Eagle XR-H    P                Lt Arthur Becktoft      
23/9/1943  Vannes AF       War Eagle XR-H   REM           Lt Arthur Becktoft      
27/9/1943  Emden             War Eagle XR-H   P                Lt Arthur Becktoft      
2/10/1943  Emden             War Eagle XR-H   P                Lt Arthur Becktoft      
4/10/1943  Hanau              War Eagle XR-H   P                Lt Arthur Becktoft      
8/10/1943  Bremen           War Eagle XR-H   FTR            Lt Arthur Becktoft      

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 5394