Carl B. Yerian was a pilot. He and his crew were with the 514 squadron.
He submitted his diary of his time with the 376:
By the end of March we were settled into Our new quarters at San Pancrazio. We were learning to cope with a pretty rugged environment. Officers were assigned four to a tent and we made ourselves reasonably comfortable. It rained almost every day and was cold. We used lumber from packing crates to build a floor in the tent and fashioned a heating stove by allowing aviation gas to drip into a container of sand and burn. This was very tricky and many mornings while going to early breakfast you would see a glow from a burning tent.
The 376th Bomb Group had been organized as a provisional group designed to bomb Tokyo and were on the way to Asia, but while in Palestine they were diverted to Cairo Egypt to assist with the war in North Africa. They moved across the desert bombing targets in Libya, Sicily, Italy, and led the first low level raid on the oil fields at Ploesti Rumania before finally moving to San Pan.
The ground crews had been working on B-24s for a long time and did an excellent job of keeping everything in working order. When flight crews were not on a mission they would fly locally and it was not unusual to be walking down a street on the base and face four propellers coming at you at eye level.
We finally had two days off. We usually flew locally with the ground crew chief while he checked that everything was operating properly. During these flights we made ourselves popular with the local population by buzzing the area. We flew between the rows of olive trees and watched people jump out of the trees. We flew over flocks of sheep or goats and watched them scatter and jump the stone fences while the shepherds took cover. We flew low over sail boats and pulled up so the prop wash hit the sails and tipped the boats over. We always flew just above the tents at our camp. If we didn't fly we took our 45 caliber handguns and shot lizards in the fields surrounding the base.
We were not scheduled to fly on the following day when Ploesti was the target. The group lost one aircraft to antiaircraft fire and one crash landed. Six planes were damaged by flak and 10 crew members were missing.
My crew was not scheduled for missions on May 7th and May 10th when Bucharest Rumania and Weiner Neustadt, Austria were the targets.
We were not scheduled for a mission to Ploesti on May 18th.
Special orders dated May 20 ordered our crew to Naples on May 22nd to report to rest camp for seven days of R&R.
We spent a week on the Isle of Capri with nothing to do but relax and enjoy. We visited the Blue Grotto and played tourist. It was a pleasant change from the hectic pace we had been enduring. While we were enjoying a break, the remaining crews were continuing to fly missions on almost a daily basis.
I was not scheduled for missions on June 5th and June 6th. The June 6th mission was to Ploesti where the formation was attacked by 17 ME109 enemy fighters. Nine of the fighters were destroyed but 1 B~24 was lost and another received major damage. 1 crewman was killed, 10 missing and 2 wounded.
We were not scheduled for the mission on June 12th to bomb a BMW plant near Munich, Germany.
New crews were arriving and experienced crew members were assigned to fly with them on their first missions. John Shepard was flying with new crews and Walter Henderson was also assigned to fly as engineer with newly arrived crews. He had missed some missions while he was in the hospital. This left me to enjoy some time off between June 22 and June 30th. On June 24 Walt Henderson was shot down while flying with a new crew on a mission to Ploesti. On June 29th I was promoted from 2nd Lt to 1st Lt.
I was not scheduled to fly on July 7th or 8th. On July 8th John Shepard was flying with a new crew and was killed in a mid air collision. He and I had worked as a team all through our training and through combat missions until June 22nd when he was assigned to fly with new crews. We had roomed together and always took turns flying in the left seat on alternate flights. His loss was as great as losing a family' member. John Macgregor who was the tail gunner on the newly arrived crew that was killed with Shepard flew his first mission with me to Toulon France on July 5th and was not on the crew when the collision occurred. He now lives in California and attends the Group reunions where we have become good friends.
This completed my required number of missions. I had planned to volunteer to fly another tour in P-38s at this time. I had taken a friend of mine to join the P-38 Group when he finished his tour and he had already been killed. Based on this and the fact that my last several missions had been pretty severe, I decided that I would go home whenever they were ready to send me.
On August 5th I received order to report to Naples for trans shipment to the US. I was loaded on to a troop ship and set sail for home. Many of the Tuskegee Airmen who had flown fighter escort for me were on the ship coming home with me. When we were approaching the US we encountered a hurricane that had hit New Jersey and was still powerful at sea. It was quite an experience, but we finally made it and reported to Camp Kilmer N.J.
From Camp Kilmer I was assigned to report to the Cadillac Hotel in Miami Beach for rest and rehabilitation, but was allowed a 22 day delay enroute so that I could get home. This was my first time to see my first born son since the day after he was born. I was to report to Miami Beach by 31 September 1944.
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.
Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior
376th Bomb Group Mission History
Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War