Lt. Timothy J. Crowley
February 21, 1921, Kansas City,
Wings December 1943
Primary Aircraft -- B-17
Other Aircraft -- B-24, A-26
8th AAF ETO 100th Bomber Group (Heavy) Thorpe Abbot, England. TDY Miragrad,
Russia and Foggia, Italy during tour with the "Bloody 100th".
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air
Medal 5 Clusters. 35 Combat Missions (and even a merit badge for being
a good desk jockey after combat tour!)
Quote: "How nice to see you
are serving the same ***#$&&#, food cooked in the *&*&*^^
*$&%*** stuff, you miserable Russian *#$U%)*)&". "Of
course they didn't speak English, and we smiled and grinned the whole
time we were cussin them out". "They thought we were nice
"Amerikanskis" and smiled back and nodded their heads a lot..yah
(While the 100th was TDY in Miragrad, Russia-1944)
one of me in Primary Flight in Oklahoma. The picture was taken not long
after I pancaked a PT-22 from 20 feet and broke the main spar shooting
touch and goes at an auxilliary field . This happened the day after
soloing in 6 hours. Was afraid I might get washed out right then and
there. But I thought fast and told my instructor I had another plane
scheduled for an hour and made tracks for the operations shack. They
must have thought I was gung-ho enough to give me another chance.
Well that was the beginning....I
will leave the middle for later. I remember the last mission pretty
well. We were supposed to be done after 32 missions, but the brass
changed the rules while we were in Russia, and upped the ante to 35
missions to complete a full tour. It was a Mission
to Munich. I was flying lead plane in the low squadron. Believe
it or not, we had a 12 minute leg from the IP (Initial Point) to "bombs
away". Meaning straight and level, tucked in real tight
so as to effect a good bombing pattern. Naturally it gave the
concentrated flak batteries plenty of time to zero us in. Let me tell
you; 12 minutes never seemed so long! (More about that run later
by the way.
Well, sure enough we took
a hit in the nose, and the bombardier was pretty tore up. He figured
he was going to die anyway so he might as well go ahead and drop his
bombs on the target, so he crawled back up and he pickled them right
on cue. I had my hands full pulling off the target with the plane
shot up. The navigator went forward with the first aid kit and about
threw up from the horrible mess the bombardier was in. So he said he
gave the bombardier one shot of morphine and
himself two. What a way to end your last mission. As it
turned out, our boy survived and I hung around for an extra three weeks
until he got discharged from the hospital.
Here is a picture of the crew of the "Miss Chief", taken
at Thorpe-Abbot, home of the "Bloody 100th". "Miss
Chief" purposely had no nose art.
Believe it or not, our navigator, Rudy Batista, was only 18. I was
the old man having turned 23 a couple of months before. Segrist's nickname
was "Horse Fly"........"don't ask me why".
They're all dead now....
I am the only one left. It was a real shock this one time. I had been
in private practice after leaving the District Attorney's office here
in Sonoma County. It was sometime in the early 50s and I had just won
a large settlement, and went back to Pennsylvania to visit my folks.
Jim Schwank lived in Reading,
PA which is pretty close to my folks' home in Harrisburg. I decided
to call Jim, and his wife answered the phone. I told her who
I was and she just broke down crying and told me that Jim had died
just a couple of weeks before. Massive heart attack. He was playing
baseball with this team where he worked. He just keeled over and died.
At least he got to die doing something he really loved. She asked
me to stop by. I did, and she gave me many of the pictures seen on
the following pages that Jim had taken during our tour together.