A Memorial Tribute to
the B24 Combat Crew on which I served as the Bombardier:
During the period March thru August
1944 we were based in southern Italy on an airfield
near San Pancrazio Italy. We were assigned
to the 15th Air Force/47th Wing/376th Heavy Bombardment
Group/512th Bombardment Wing. There were
ten men on our crew.
In the back
row, left to right: Horsak, Grooms, Jolitz,
In the front row at this point I cannot identify
any of them.
I am not in the picture as I was taking the
and I cannot tell you who the tenth man is missing
from the picture.
We had gone through phase training at Clovis
AAF, Almogordo AAF and Charleston AAF. In
January 1944 we were shipped via troop train to
Mitchell Field NY, where we picked up a new B24G.
February 1944 we departed Mitchell Field and flew
the southern route via the Azores, South America,
Africa and thence to San Pancrazio, Italy .
On 15 March 1944 we flew our first combat mission
bombing Monte Cassino, Italy.
Thereafter we each successfully flew a total
of 50 or 51 missions against targets in southern
Europe and the Balkans. We generally flew
together as a crew, but for various reasons this
was not always true. All returned safely
to the United States in September 1944.
This is the crew roster:
| 2nd Lt GROOMS, Wayne
|| Pilot - Currently living
in Winchester, OH
| 2nd Lt JOLITZ, Gordon
|| Co-pilot *
| 2nd Lt HORSAK, Rudolph
|| Navigator - Currently
living in Houston, TX
| 2nd Lt LEHNHERR,
||Bombardier - Currently
living in Kent, WA
| S/Sgt MORRISON, Joseph
||AEG - Unable to locate
| S/Sgt WETZEL, William
|| ROG - Died 22 July 1989
| S/Sgt WIEWIORA, Walter
|| AAG - Unable to locate
| Sgt ANDERSON, Warren
||AEEG - Currently living
in Lindstrom, MN
| Sgt BASCOM, Albert W
|| AG - Unable to
| Sgt BOGUE, Robert L
|| AROG - Unable to locate
*Believed to be deceased, but unable to
All were brave young men who believed, and practiced
DUTY-HONOR-COUNTRY! Each of whom voluntarily put themselves
at risk in the defense of their country.
If anyone has knowledge of any of these once young "flyboys"
of World War II, I would appreciate hearing from them...all
of us are now in our mid seventies. We have not
done very well with regard to 'keeping in touch'...is
their still time? Only if we hurry!
I did visit with Jolitz several times in the late '47-'50
time period. Grooms and I have communicated by letter
and telephone. And in May 1997 while visiting
in Houston I was able to spend an afternoon with Rudy
GOD'S PEACE and BLESSING BE WITH
The old wornout ifmo
-- Bob Lehnherr