Theodore Drazkowski, mission January 11, 1943

As for our 1/11/43 mission over Naples - I would like to begin with the absolute silence over the inter-com during and prior to our bomb run. Either the system was B.D. or it was shot out.

Upon seeing E.A. coming up to greet us I attempted to fire my twin 50's to warm them up. They wouldn't fire so I spent the rest of the time trying to operate them manually. They were jammed and I assumed full of sand.

I looked out of my plexi-glass window and on my left at about 5 o'clock sat this jerry ME109 just keeping pace with us. I swung my guns on him. and he must have spotted this movement because ha banked to his left and went underneath us. I had attempted to fire but to no avail. Then all hell broke loose. A 20mm hit my plexi-glass window (3 3/4" thick) dead center and it was smashed. I could not see anymore. That shell sure had my name on it.

Soon there was pounding on my turret door - I opened it and Bob Krager motioned for me to come out which I did. The plane was staggering badly by now and it was difficult to stand up or walk. Bob kept pointing to the bomb bay so I opened it up and a huge mass of flames shot out singeing Bob and I. I slammed the door shut and pointed to the rear escape hatch. I checked my chute straps - opened the door and bailed out. Bob followed. On the way down the jerry pilot flew by me and for what I could make out, saluted me. I saluted back.

On landing in a mountainous region I instantly was surrounded by soldiers, police and peasants with guns, pitch forks and clubs jabbering away in Italian which of course I couldn't understand.

I was taken to a small town and thrown into a single cell jail. That night they brought Bob Krager in and we slept the night on a concrete floor full of human feces and urine - god we stunk!

The next morning they brought in a body for us to see and verify - it was Lt. Angel. The back of his head was all bashed in, from what, I can't say.

We were then transported to another town and boarded a train to a monastery near Rome. (This monastery was nothing but an interrogation center). After a couple of days we were moved to prison camp #59 Provincia Di Ancona near Servigliano where we spent 10 months.

376 ARCHIVES

At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.

Click here to go to their main website.

Also, the board approved a $5,000 donation to add to Ed Clendenin's $20,000 donation in the memory of his father. Together, these funds begin an endowment for the preservation of the 376 archives.

2018 REUNION

DATES :  TBD

CITY : Dayton, Ohio

HOTEL: TBD

2018 reunion details


previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid


The Liberandos


Three Crawford Brothers


Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior


376th Bomb Group Mission History


The Last Liberator


Full Circle


Shadows of Wings


Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War


I Survived Ploesti


A Measure of Life


Shot Down In Yugoslavia


Stories of My Life


Attack


Born in Battle