COMMENTS & NOTES
LT ROBERT "ROSIE" ROSENTHAL P LEGENDARY 100TH AIRMAN WHO FLEW 52 MISSIONS (SEE NOTES BELOW)
LT WINIFRED T. "PAPPY" LEWIS CP CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN DFC w/OLC
LT RONALD C. BAILEY NAV CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN DFC w/OLC
LT CLIFFORD MILBURN BOM CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN DFC w/OLC
T/SGT MICHAEL BOCCUZZI ROG CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN DFC w/OLC
T/SGT CLARENCE C. HALL TTE CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN DFC w/OLC
S/SGT RAY H. ROBINSON BTG CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN DFC w/OLC
S/SGT LOREN DARLING WG SWA 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER Awarded Silver Star & Purple Heart
S/SGT JOHN H. SHAFFER WG SWA 10 0CT 43 MUNSTER (RETURNED TO STATES) Awarded Silver Star & Purple Heart
S/SGT WILLIAM DeBLASIO TG CPT MARCH 8, 1944 BERLIN * DFC w/OLC ( SEE NOTE ABOUT MUNSTER MISSION)
Crew arrived 100th Bomb Group September 1943.
SGT'S JAMES F. MACK AND M.J. SHELDON REPLACED DARLING AND SCHAFFER.
OCTOBER 8, 1943 BREMEN
OCTOBER 9, 1943 MARIENBURG
OCTOBER10, 1943 MUNSTER
Letter sent to Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal on March 17, 2001 by Bill DeBlasio, tail gunner on Rosie’s Crew with his recollections of the MUNSTER mission October 10, 1943.
I did the best I could considering this fading memory of mine. Some parts of this mission stand out very clear to me, others such as where we were in the formation draw a blank. I haven’t had a “flash back” for about 7 years now, maybe they are behind me. I certainly hope so. They are a truly miserable 24 hours. I’ll close for now; I hope this is what you want. My Family has been trying for years to get me to write about this. I simply didn’t feel I could do it.
We arrived in England in September 1943 and were soon sent to the 100th Bomb Group, which was located near a small town named “Diss”. We flew our 1st mission to Bremen, our second to Marienburg, our third to Munster on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of October 1943. The 100th Bomb GP launched 13 aircraft this day and I do not recall what position in the group formation we were assigned. As yet, we were not assigned our own aircraft. Therefore we flew the one assigned to us; Royal Flush. If my memory serves me correctly, the briefing officer stated we were to bomb as much of the center of the city as possible. The theory behind this was; if the civilians were killed who would man the equipment to help fight the war. Seemed sound at the time.
The Group as a whole ran into considerable flak but the fighters were much more of a threat by far then the flak. It has been said in numerous books that the Munster Mission was one of the hardest fought battles for both sides of the entire war and I for one am inclined to agree! Twelve of the Groups aircraft were shot down either before bombs away or shortly thereafter, leaving the Royal Flush all by herself. I believe at one time we tried to attach our selves to the 95th Bomb GP for protection, however this did not last for long. Flak had knocked out one of the left engines as well as one on the right wing making it impossible to keep up with any formation.
Once we were completely alone the fighters really started their attacks. I think at this time I should say what follows are through the tail gunners eyes as I was far to busy to look around. The fighters were very well coordinated and were coming in waves of four abreast. There were not firing until approximately 800 yards and neither was I. I lined up on the number two man form my left and fired three short bursts. His left wing flew off over his plane and crashed into the plane to the outside. Both went down on fire. I then switched to their inside plane on the right and fired at him. Smoke started coming from the plane and the canopy came off, the plane rolled over ejecting the pilot. I couldn’t follow his plight as I had one more plane to deal with. Just as I brought my sights to bear on him, he peeled off to his left (my right).
There was a period of about 4 or 5 minutes respite then they started again. I believe we may have been about 15 thousand feet as two Ju-88’s joined the fray, with two engines out there was no way we could maintain high altitude. Again there were 4 FW 190’s, only this time they were staggered more or less one behind the other, not in a straight line as were the first bunch. This time however the two Ju-88’s were on each end of the4 fighters making six aircraft lined up on us. For some unknown reason, I decided to try for the bigger aircraft first. I thought I noticed something hanging from the bottom of their aircraft. About that time, here come the rockets. A total of 8 rockets come at us in about 1 minute of time, all missed. It dawned on me that what I saw beneath the aircraft were their flaps. They needed to lower their flaps to give them a more stable platform for their rockets.
I started firing at the Ju-88 on the left and soon he was on fire and sliding off on his right wing. The other aircraft had closed too within 600 yds and I just started raking my fire from left to right and back again. During this exchange two of the FW-190’s in the center crashed into each other, as I believe I hit them both at the same time. So we have a total of six planes shot down and we don’t know how many, if any, were damaged. About this time I believe you ordered me to fire off my remaining ammo and come out of the tail position. At this time we were below 10,000 ft and did not know if we were going to ditch or not. We began throwing anything that wasn’t nailed down out to lighten the aircraft. We were successful and didn’t ditch.
After searching in bad weather conditions for our field, we finally found it and landed safely. I remember sitting on the grass and vomiting for what seemed like an eternity. I was asked to secure my guns, which I did. I do not recall whether any of us put in claims for downed aircraft, as this was superficial compared to losing the entire Group except on plane. Besides, it wouldn’t have done any good as we all knew any aircraft shot down had to be verified by at least one or two aircraft other than your own. I remember your going in the ambulance with John Shaffer (waist gunner). A few days later we were sent to the flak house for R&R. What an absolutely lovely house and grounds and the locals could not have done more to make our stay more pleasant
(Bill DeBlasio gave me a copy of this letter to Rosie and asked me that his account of the Munster mission not be posted while he was still with us. Bill left us 8/12/2001, not long after sharing these memories. He was a humble man, not searching for medals or recognition but wanted his Family to know what hell he had seen from his tail gun position. He was simply doing his job that day protecting his fellow crewmembers and aircraft from the onslaught of German fighters. He did that job above and beyond the call of duty. I thought it only appropriate that 60 years after that mission, his story be told. The nightmares are now over for Bill, and we wish him eternal rest and our sincere gratitude….Michael Faley-100th Bomb Group Photo Archives and Historian)
Loren F. Darling,89
Born 2 Nov,1921 in Newell,Iowa
Died 11 Jan,2011 in Waterloo,Iowa of heart failure.
Loren was born on November 2, 1921 in Newell, Iowa, son of Charles and Elsie Darling. He joined a large family including his twin brother, Max, two older brothers, Kirby and Merlyn, and a sister, Evelyn.
The Depression, which caused Loren's dad to seek employment out of state, plus the earlier death of his mother when Loren was 9 years old, broke the family apart. Loren stopped school at the 10th grade and worked as a hired hand on a neighboring farm with his only entertainment being a radio at night. Saturday nights he and Max drove the model-T to town to whoop it up.
On July 6, 1942, Loren joined the Army Air Corps. After training he became a waist gunner on B-17s, flying with the 418th Squadron of the 100th Bomb Group out of Thorpe Abbotts, England. Loren's second mission came on October 10, 1943, over Munster, Germany. Of the 13 bombers in his squadron, only his B-17, Rosie's Riveters, returned, flying on only two engines. The successful return was due to his pilot and close friend, Robert Rosenthal, and the other men that flew with him. Loren was injured on two of the three missions he flew, attaining 2 Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. After recovering from his injuries, he was transferred to Dyersburg, Tennessee, as a trainer and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.
He met the love of his life, Alice Vincent, at the USO club. They married on November 26, 1944, and traveled to Waterloo, Iowa, to obtain employment at John Deere Tractor Works. Due to his war injuries, Loren, was unable to continue his employment, so he worked at Goodyear Tire and then as a dock foreman for a motor freight company. Alice worked as a bookkeeper. Two daughters, Jenny Lorraine and Lindsay Lee, were born in 1948 and 1949, respectively. The Darling family began on Ann Street in Maywood, and then moved to their residence at 1424 Glenny Avenue.
In 1951 Loren purchased a freight line, Northeast Motor Express, which he and Alice, as bookkeeper and freight coordinator, ran for 28 years. Deregulation of the freight industry forced his retirement from Northeast Motor Express, but Loren went on to sell two-wheel carts for heavy freight and casters for office chairs. Many came to rely on Loren's expertise and fine service throughout his working career.
Loren's favorite pastimes included bowling in league, kayaking on the rivers and lakes around Waterloo, fishing, working with his model trains in his basement workshop, and taking long walks, saluting each American flag along the way.
On August 13, 1998, Loren lost Alice to cancer. He lived successfully on his own until late in 2008 when he moved to Lakeview Lodge, 312 Southbrooke Drive, Waterloo, Iowa. Loren enjoyed his home there, played piano with a flair, teased the Resident Assistants with his "I love you"s, and enjoyed the good food and companionship.
Loren died of heart failure on January 11, 2011, and will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife, Alice, in Memorial Park Cemetery. He was a good man and will be missed.
Survived by: his daughters, Jenny Garvin (husband, Wayne) of Manchester, Iowa, and Lindsay Darling of Waterloo, Iowa; his sister, Evelyn Henrich of Newell, Iowa; his sister-in-law, Edna Darling, of Winterset, Iowa; two grandchildren, Matthew Garvin (wife, Marcia) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Sarah Lankford (husband, Greg) of Conway, South Carolina; three great-grandchildren, Dean Garvin, Megan Lankford, and Matthew Lankford; and many nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death: his wife, Alice, parents, and brothers, Max, Merlyn, and Kirby.