Robert J. Weichhand was the radio operator on the Merle Fromson crew.
Robert kept a diary entitle "Radio Operator B-24." We were provided a copy via Merle Fromson's son in law. Click on the various dates to read about a specific mission.
October 19, 1944
Boarded the liberty boat, "Issac Coles" bound for somewhere overseas.
November 9, 1944
The "Issac Coles" docked at Oran, North Africa today. We spent one day in an old prison camp that is now a replacement center. That was my most hectic night in twenty-one days.
November 10, 1944
We boarded the French ship "Champlain" heading northeast. We have a pretty good idea of where we are going.
November 14, 1944
We landed at Naples, Italy today, After a whole day of lying around in the harbor. Naples is a bomb-torn town, and poverty is the most evident thing. We went by truck from Naples to Caserta - (about 5 miles) a staging area and replacement depot for the 15th Airforce.
November 18, 1944
We left Caserta and boarded a freight car for Bari, Italy. We road the box cars all night and we arrived in Bari tired and cold _ all the guys built a fire on the floor of the boxcars. That was a ride that 1111 never forget because of the incidents involved and the train itself. It was a regular "toonerville trolley."
November 19, 1944
Today we arrived in Goia - right by Bari. We received our first mail call in a month. I got 10 letters from JoAnn and 1 from my brother. It was also one month from the departure date from the states.
November 20, 1944
We left Goia today for our permanent outfits. We took a truck with one crew to a truck. Eight crews left with us. It was a three hour ride - we passed many towns, but Toronto was by far the largest and the best. At least they had a street car there. We were assigned to the 376th Bomb Group (in the 47th wing) and to the 515th Bomb Squadron. The only one of the four squads in the group with a shower.
November- 23, 1944
Our pilot, Lt. M.L. Fromson was sent to the hospital in Manduria with hepititis, (a liver ailment) we all expect to go to the hospital for pneumonia - out tent leaks so bad. We take oars to bed with us, just in case the bed floats away during the night, but we still have hopes, because Jearls and Olneill are going home sometime soon, as they have finished their missions.
November 29, 1944
We went to see our pilot at the hospital, he is going to the 26th general hospital at Bari tomorrow or the next day. This was also our first day in town. We visited Manduria and San Pan. (San Pangrazio) We didn’t think much of either of them.
December 14, 1944
We flew our first time today - with Lt. Koch as our pilot. It was just a practice flight. Flying time was 2:50 hrs. We heard our pilot was coming back from the hospital but still I was surprised when I walked into the officers room at 10:30 tonight and found him back. We were relieved! ! !
December 15, 1944
We flew this morning for the first time with our pilot since overseas! Flying time 1:50 hours and also flew this afternoon. flying time 2:30hrs. Bringing my flying time to 7:10 hrs. Just five hours to go and I’ll draw 3 months flying pay in a lump sum. (We also got our beer rations again - now I have 8 bottles saved up towards a New Years Celebration. The gala event besides flying with Fromson was that we also moved into a new tent (one with a wooden floor.) Today was our lucky day.
December 16, 1944
Today I spent almost all morning building a stove. What a job. We are burning gasoline and it is a little tricky. We are not sure how far we can trust it, although it is working well right now. We all nearly froze to death last night. I hope I never have another night like that. I didn’t get any sleep at all. We also went to the pistol range today for practice. I shot 110 out of a possible 150 for high score. We are to represent the 515th in a pistol tournament. Maybe!
December 17, 1944
Our ass was almost MUD today. Steffy, the co-pilot was landing the ship. He came in too far on the right side of the runway, hit right brake and let the ship get away from him, it veered off to the right, leaving the runway at 90 mph. for open field. The ities working on the runway took off on the run as the 8-24 came in at them. Luckily the pilot took over control and managed to bring the ship back to the runway before anything serious happened. Flying time with "Skeleton" crew and Tailgunner was 2:10 hrs.
December 19 1944 (18?)
Dicembre Diciotta, 1944
The crew flew again today - all except Shewey, Streid, Shute and myself. I have a terrible cold - but never the less, worked all day building a footlocker and shelfs. Getting fixed up now.
Dicembre 19, 1944
Today we completed against the 513th in shooting the 45 cal. pistol. Shewey, Graham, Skinner and I shot the competition. Shewey shot 109 out of a possible 150, Graham shot 99 (lower than usual), Skinner shot 106 and I shot 121. We were sweating it out, but we won the competition.
Dicembre 20, 1944
Acc. Streid and I went to Leece today. About 30 miles. It was quite an experience.
Dicembre 21, 1944
We made our ratings today. Graham and I made T/Sgt. and all the other boys made S/Sgt. Not bad!! The dough should start rolling now,
December 22, 1944
We were driven from our nice warm sacks out into the cold driving rain at 4:30 a.m. this morning. We were scheduled to make a bombing mission to Germany to bomb the Marshalling Yards at Linz, but due to the weather the mission was cancelled. That would have been our first mission and Linz has 736 Ack-Acks.
December 23, 1944
Today we were again driven from our beds to go out into the cold, only this time at 6:00 a.m., to make a mission to Graz, Austria. This too was cancelled. After sweating them out, I wish we would make one, though I don’t care about it when the cloud cover is 18,000 ft. overcast as it is today. We’ll probably make our first mission on Christmas Day! Next time it will probably be Vienna, Austria and Vienna is the second Ploesti.
The night before last the pilot asked if I’d like to relieve him and the co-pilot on flying during long formation flights? Would I?
December 24, 1944
We were scheduled to fly a combat mission again today. The third time straight. We were to hit the M. Yards at Linz, but due to weather the flight didn’t get off. We flew a gunnery mission instead, but developed a gas leak and only flew 1:30 hrs. - Worst Luck!!
We are scheduled again tomorrow. Christmas Day! What a way to spend it. Ace and I were going to go to Lecce for midnight mass - and all of us were going to get soused at the N.C.O.
December 25, 1944. CHRISTMAS 1944
December 29, 1944 to January 3, 1945.
January 15, 1945 - This was not one of my missions - but since the navigator
and bombardier were scheduled for a week of missions that were cancelled
because of bad weather and then scratched – I’ll put it in.
February 7, 1945
Test Flight #92 Flying time 1:35 hrs.
February 14, 1945 (Valentines Day)
March 6-13, 1945
We spent a week on the “Isle of Capri.” Had ourselves a good time - but spent plenty of money. Also spent a day in Naples. Arrived back at San Pan on the night of March 14th at 10:00 p.m.
April 8, 1945
Today Graham is flying the one he missed. This will bring him up even with us.
April 10, 1945
Dry Run! and today’s mission would have put us over the “hump.” We were to hit the German troops in N. Italy with “Frags.” But worst luck - our #4 engine caught fire on the bomb run - got it out and feathered then #2 propeller ran away. So we dumped our bombs in the ocean and came back alone. Only 10 minutes from target time.
No Credit --- # i ~ t .
April 12, 1945
Rumors! They are a dime a dozen, that we are moving to the Pacific - States - N. Italy and so on. One thing is certain - something is up! The combat missions are cancelled.
April 13, 1945
What a blow! This morning I heard that Roosevelt died last night. I still doubt it or hope against it - but its come from too many sources to be false. A fine time to leave. He was a damned good president.
April 23, 1945
We carried ten or rather nine 500# bombs to the target, (one fell out of the bomb bay and narrowly missed the co-pilots foot as it hit) The target was a railroad bridge in North Italy at Padora. The alt. was 25,400. Take off was )8:15 - Target 12:20 landing 14:25. Time 6:10 hrs. Results of our box - poor! But some one else hit it. Flak was scant only 18 guns reported at the primary. Good mission - we flew position #6 in ship #92, its 92nd mission in the “cotton tail” group.
April 24, 1945
April 25, 1945
This group flew its last combat sortie today. The target was Linz and damages while not light were not heavy either.
May 8, 1945
“VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY”
This winds up my combat tour as far as Europe is concerned - with 20 missions and well over 100 hrs. of combat flying time. I can feel the So. Pacific calling me already - but not, I hope, without a furlough.
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
To read about other endowment donation options, click here.
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.
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376th Bomb Group Mission History
Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War