Clifford C. Faith, Mission December 25, 1944

It was Christmas Day, 1944 and this is the story as best I can recall: There were thirty-three crews of us taking our overseas training at the Charleston Air Base, Charleston, S.C. and, just before shipping out, the Air Corps took every other bombardier away from their crews to send them to radar school at Boca Raton, Florida and our bombardier was one of them to go. Consequently, we joined the 376th Bomb Group without a regular bombardier, so one was assigned to our crew for each mission. Most of the times, a man named Deep (I can't recall his first name.  Editor’s note: it was Frederick) flew with us but, since this mission was for Christmas Day, 1944 he asked to be excused so that he could attend Midnight Mass in Leece. We were assigned a bombardier-name of Frank Kautzman. Our target that day was the marshalling yards at Hall outside of Innsbruck in Austria and, although the flak was reported to be light, we obviously were hit as the plane became unglued all at once. First, the pilot had difficulty feathering the number four prop due to the extremely low temperature and when we lost the supercharger on number three. We began losing altitude rapidly so he ordered us to bail out. All of us got out in time but Frank Kautzman broke both of his legs when he landed. Within a matter of hours, the Germans had rounded us up and, with the exception of Kautzman, who I believe was taken to a hospital in Munich, sent us off to various prison camps in Germany. I was at Stalag VII A in Moosburg when Patton's Third Army liberated us on April 29, 1945.