William W. Roberts was the RCM radio operator on the Donald Sawyer crew.
Bill wrote about his time with the 376. Click on the dates to read about that mission.
Feb. 3, 2000
This is a transcription of my notes taken about my missions, Oct. 16, 1944 through April 15, 1945. I went on 37 sorties, but because several missions were counted as doubles, I finished my tour with 50 missions. Coincidentally, the April 15, 1945 mission was also the final mission the 376th Bomb Group flew.
The 376th was formed in 1942 and began missions in North Africa, ending at a base in Southern Italy at a small Village called San Pancrazio. My missions were all out of San Pan. as I didn't join the group until October, 1944. The group consisted of four - squadrons, the 513th, the 513th, 514th and 515th. I was assigned to the 513th. I flew a waist gun the first missions. After that I was in the upper turret, which was a whole lot more handy to my radio position behind the co-pilot.
Don Sawyer was our chief pilot. Jack Adams, co-pilot; Jack Eldridge, navigator; Robert Johnson, bombardier; John Sparks, engineer; A. J. Norris, tail gunner, Ernie Waataja, belly gunner; Willard Manz, nose gunner; Enyart (forgot last named) upper turret was waist gunner for five missions, but had to be grounded by the doctors because he was a nervous wreck.
(We didn't fly as a crew the whole time. Sometimes I had to fly a plane that had a special radar device and my crew would not be assigned to that plane. Norris was a father of a baby he had never seen, so he flew with anybody to he could ring up his 50 missions as fast as possible so he could go home. Sparks left the crew in February when he was picked as engineer of a plane taking a general back home. He never came back. Adams was made a chief pilot about halfway through, so we had various guys as co-pilot, engineer, waist gunners and tail gunners starting in February.)
As of this writing, Sparks, Eldridge and myself try to make every reunion. Adams, and Enyart are two we cannot locate; Johnson was reported as dead in 1985. Those who have died we are sure of are Manz, Norris and Waataja. Sawyer lives in Kerrville, Texas, and has made only one reunion--1993 here in Nashville. ( He and his wife wanted to see the Grand Ole Opry. They saw it and departed.)
Now to my missions:
March 8, 1945--(Mary Anne was 20 years old that day, but, of
course, this was about a year before I met her--the love of my life.)