Lester L. Rowekamp, mission June 16, 1944

June 16, 1944             We went on mission to Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (Yakia-Apollo Oil Refinery). Bratislava is on the Danube River, app. 33 miles from Vienna. We were tail end Charlie in our group. We were hit by about 40-50 enemy fighters (Me 110's, Me-210's, Me-l09's and FW-190's) at beginning of bomb run. 8 Me-210's came at us from 6 o'clock high. I got one when it reached 8 o'clock high but it was unconfirmed because it blew up and no one saw it go down. One of my guns jammed. 6 came in from 12 o'clock. Knocked plane # 89 down. Slug hit top turret dome above right ear and put hole in plexiglas. Intercom was not working too well. Seconds later a second slug hit dome above left ear. Saw two enemy fighters go down besides the one that blew up. Tail gunner claimed another. Altogether 12 enemy fighters and 3 B- 24's went down. Our squadron lost plane #26, Lt. Drake's crew. Attack lasted about 10 minutes and we had no fighter escort. Bombing was almost perfect. Huge storage tanks, sheds, office buildings, cracking plants RR yards left in flames. Trip back was drafty and very cold. Group received Presidential Citation for raid. App 8 hrs


The website 376bg.org is NOT our site nor is it our endowment fund.

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.

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.

Donate directly to the 376 Endowment

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My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


NOTE change in month !!!

DATES: Oct 12-15, 2023

CITY:Fairfax Co, VA

HOTEL: Westin Dulles hotel

2520 Wasser Terrace, Herndon, VA 20171


Click here to read about the reunion details.

previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid

The Broken Wings of Zlatibor

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


Born in Battle

Bombardier's Diary

Lost Airmen

Langdon Liberando