22 November 1944: The day before Thanksgiving. We started on another, mission to north Italy. Our target was a city named Ferrara.
It was one of our tough missions. When we turned on the I.P., we were at 25,000 feet. Although it seemed like several hours, the bomb run only lasted about eight minutes. As soon as we got close to Ferrara the 88 mm anti-aircraft guns really began to bounce our B-24. The flack was moderate, concentrated, very accurate and very close to us.
A B-24 in a squadron behind us exploded in a huge orange flame. I was in the upper gun turret and could see it all happen. We dropped our bombs along with the rest of our squadron and rallied off to the right, so we could begin the return leg back to the 376th Group's airfield.
As usual, Lieutenant Duncan was on our intercom and requesting damage reports from the crew. S/Sgt. Joe Gusz, our tail gunner, reported that he had been hit by flak. He said he didn’t think he was in bad shape. Well, after seeing all 10 of the crew members killed in the B-24 behind us, (no one had bailed out) and I had seen parts of it fall to the ground, I was really worried about Joe.
As soon as we got out over the Adriatic and down low enough (10,000 ft.) so that we could take off our oxygen masks, I headed back to the waist to check on Joe. Our waist gunner, S/Sgt. Albert and ball gunner, S/Sgt. Fewer had put bandages on his butt and one of his thighs. He said nothing was real deep, but he was having a little trouble sitting on his ass. He received his Purple Heart a few days later.
When we landed we counted 16 holes and dozens of dents all over the plane. This was our 12th mission and/or 9th sortie. We had been in the air six hours and 50 minutes.