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SGT  Joseph C. KRUSIENSKI

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BTG
SERIAL #: 33423262 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 03034 CR: 03034

Comments1: 6 MAR 44 BERLIN (EAC - 20MM )/WITH RADTKE CREW)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW


2nd Lt Herbert A.Alf                  P   POW          28/4/44 SOTTEVAST          (With Crew ofW.G.Lakin) see Lakin Crew below
1st Lt Kenneth L.Rasmussen     CP   RFS            Medical Reasons (see gordon letter below)
2nd Lt Raymond B.Phaneuf    NAV   NOC
2nd Lt Albert A.Marchiondo     BOM    INTERNEE   20/2/44 POSEN & SETTIN    (With crew of A.J.Harrls)
   Sgt Jimison T.Pyles           TTE   NOC
   Sgt Carmine V.Roberto      ROG    KIA            29/7/44 MERSEBURG            (With crew of W.T.Fitzroy)
   Sgt Francis J.Flemm, Jr       BTG   NOC
   Sgt Jerome H.Gordon       WG   RFS            Medical reasons 
   Sgt Herschel P.Lowe        WG  CPT             17/7/44 AUXERRE & MONTGOURNOY (With crew of D.C.Rice)
   Sgt Joseph C.Krusienskl        TG  KIA             6/3/44    BERLIN (With crew of D.Radtke, See Below)

418th Sqdn. Crew,as above, joined the 100th Group on 1/12/43

It would appear that this crew was "broken up" soon after it came to the 
100th.

Letter from Gordon 26/1/91 says Rasmussen .RFS soon after arrival in Eng. 
Because of ulcers & returned to ZI. Crew then broken up and members flew 
as replacements with other crews. Gordon flew 5 missions in three months 
then was grounded because of (anoxia?) despite his official protest.

Subj: 100thBG Question Submission 
Date: 10/1/2001 8:42:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: wgordon949@msn.com (William Gordon)
To: mpfaley@aol.comCC: janr@cei.net
comments = 
My dad (Jerome Gordon)was in the 100th. He originally was in a crew headed by Herbert Alf but soon after his arrival was transferred to a crew headed by Lt. Dean Radtke. The co-pilot, Robert Digby, was killed in a mission over Ludwigshafen and Radtke was wouned but got the plane back home.I am trying to find any documentation on this crew, the aircraft and mission.There is a small paragraph in the book Century Bombers about the mission and crew but not much info.Any ideas where I might inquire?Thanks.
**************************************************************************************************************

CREW

PILOT:    LT  DEAN  M. RADTKE             POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
CO-PILOT: LT  ROBERT J. DIGBY              KIA,   30 DEC 43 LUDWIGSHAVEN
NAV:    LT  ROBERT M. REILLY             POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
BOM:    LT  WILLIAM B. AGNETTI         POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
ROG:    T/SGT  ROBERT  RAY               POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
TTE:    T/SGT  VAN  D. PINNER            POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
BTG:       SGT  CASMER  E. SZYMANSKI   NOC
WG:    S/SGT  RICHARD  L. KERWIN        POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
WG:    S/SGT  CHARLES  F. ALLEN        POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
TG:     S/SGT  THEODORE E. MANGUM    POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN

CREW AS ABOVE JOINED THE 418TH SQDN,  100TH BOMB GROUP ON 28 NOV 43

MISSIONS OF LT DEAN RADTKE CREW FROM S/SGT CHARLES ALLEN FORM 5's

#          DATE              MISSION                                      HOURS                   NOTES

          1/12/43        PRACTICE MISISON                            2:00HRS
          4/12/43        PRACTICE MISSION                            2:20HRS
          6/12/43        PRACTICE MISSION                            3:05HRS 
        10/12/43        PRACTICE MISSION                            3:30HRS 
1.     16/12/43        BREMEN                                            6:30HRS
2.     20/12/43        BREMEN                                            5:00HRS
3      22/12/43        MUNSTER                                          4:15HRS
4.     24/12/43        ST.JOSEPH au BOIS (NOBALL)              4:25HRS 
5.     30/12/43        LUDWIGSHAVEN                                 8:00HRS         

"ON DECEMBER 30, 1943 ON A MISSION TO LUDWIGSHAVEN, DEAN RADTKE'S AIRCRAFT SUSTAINED SEVERE FLAK DAMAGE IN THE TARGET AREA.  IT WAS THEN ATTACKED BY A PAIR OR FW190'S SOUTHWEST OF ABBYVILLE WHERE A NUMBER OF 20MM SHELLS RIDDLED THE LEFT WING AND NOSE.  ONE SHELL SOCKED THROUGH THE NAVIGATORS COMPARTMENT AND STRUCK THE COPILOT, LT ROBERT DIGBY IN THE HEAD AND HE WAS DECAPITATED.  SHELL FRAGMENTS STRUCK LT. RADTKE, WOUNDING HIM IN THE FACE, HEAD, AND IN THE NECK NEXT TO HIS JUGULAR VEIN. ONE FRAGMENT COMPLETELY CLOSED HIS RIGHT EYE AND SPLINTERS FROM THE INSTRUMENT PANEL WERE DRIVEN INTO THE MUSCLES OF HIS RIGHT LEG, RENDERING IT USELESS. THE EXPLOSION ALSO RIPPED THE OXYGEN MASK FROM HIS FACE AND STUNNED THE ENGINEER RUSSELL PINNER.  UPON REGAINING HIS SENSES, PINNER COULD SEE THE PILOT AND COPILOT SLUMPED OVER THE CONTROLS.  BLOOD WAS SPLATTERED OVER THE SHELL-PITTED COCKPIT.  THE WINDOWS WERE SHATTERED AND BROKEN.  AT THIS TIME RADTKE REGAINED CONSCIOUSNESS AND CALLED THE REST OF THE CREW AND REASSURED THEM EVERYTHING WAS OK.  MOST OF THE  CREW WERE UNAWARE OF THE DAMAGE IN THE COCKPIT AND THE LOSS OF THE COPILOT OR THE INJURIES LT. RADTKE HAD SUSTAINED.

BOMBARDIER LT AGNETTI WAS CALLED UP AND MOVED THE COPILOTS BODY TO THE NAVIGATORS COMPARTMENT, THEN RETURNED TO ASSIST LT RADTKE.  DUE TO THE LOSS OF ONE ENGINE AND SEVERED CONTROL CABLES, THE PLANE LAGGED BEHIND THE FORMATION.  LT RADTKE MADE THE DECISION (DESPITE THE UNCERTAINTY OF HIS ABILITY TO STAY CONSCIOUSE) TO ATTEMPT TO REGAIN POSTION IN THE FORMATION. FAILURE TO DO SO WOULD RESULT IN THE DAMAGED AIRCRAFT TRYING TO MAKE IT BACK ALONE OVER ENEMY TERRITORY WITH GERMAN FIGHTERS LOOKING FOR "STRAGGLERS" TO PICK OFF.      WITH FINGERS USELESS BECAUSE OF SEVERE CUTS, HE USED THE BUTTS OF HIS HANDS TO MANIPULATE THE CONTROLS AND FOUGHT HIS WAY BACK INTO POSITION.  UPON REACHING THORPE ABBOTTS, LT RADTKE BROUGHT HIS SHIP (AND THE REMAINDER OF THE CREW)  IN FOR A PREFECT LANDING.  FOR HIS ACTION THAT DAY, LT DEAN RADTKE RECEIVED THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS, THE NATIONS SECOND HIGHEST AWARD FOR VALOR AND BRAVERY."

ON 30 DEC 43 (LUDWIGSHAVEN, CHEMICALS) BOB DIGBY WAS DECAPITATED BY A 20MM SHELL AND IS BURIED AT CAMBRIDGE.  HE WAS REPLACED AS CP BY LT GORDON E. DEVAULT  WHO BECAME A POW ON 06 MAR 44 (BERLIN); SGT J.G. KRUSIENSKI WAS FLYING IN THE BALL TURRET IN PLACE OF CASMER SZYMANSKI AND WAS KIA BY A 20MM WHICH SO BADLY DAMAGED THE BALL TURRET THAT KRUNSIENSKI COULD NOT BE GOTTEN UP INTO THE SHIP. KRUSIENSKI WAS THE REGULAR TG ON THE HERB .A. ALF CREW WHEN HE JOINED THE 100TH.

CREW GOES ON FLAK LEAVE WHILE LT RADTKE RECOVERS FROM WOUNDS AND LT GORDON DEVAULT TAKES OVER AS COPILOT
       
       25/01/44        PRACTICE MISSION                             2:35HRS
       26/01/44        PRACTICE MISISON                             1:30HRS
       27/01/44        PRACTICE MISSION                             1:00HRS
6.    03/02/44        WILHELMSHAVEN                                5:30HRS
7.    04/02/44        FRANKFURT                                        8:00HRS
8.    05/02/44        ROMILLY sur SEINE & VILLACOUBLAY     7:00HRS
9.    06/02/44        ROMILLY sur SEINE, CONCHES,EVREUX   2:00HRS   (BELIEVE THIS TO BE AN ABORT)
       09/02/44        HALBERSTADT                                    3:30HRS   (RECALL)
       11/02/44        PRACTICE MISSION/TRAINING               2:00HRS
10.  13/02/44        LIVOSSART & BOIS REMPRE (NOBALL)    3:10HRS 
11.  22/02/44        SCHWEINFURT                                     4:15HRS   (RECALL DUE TO BAD WEATHER)
12.  24/02/44        POSEN                                              11:00HRS   (BIG WEEK)
13.  25/02/44        REGENSBURG                                       9:40HRS   (BIG WEEK) 
14.  04/03/44        BERLIN                                              11.35HRS
15   06/03/44        BERLIN                                                              (SHOT DOWN)        

CREW ON 6 MAR 1944  BERLIN

                       CREW OF 42-97491 ON 6 MAR 1944  "RONNIE R"

PILOT:        LT  DEAN M. RADTKE            POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
CO-PILOT:   LT  GORDON  E. DEVAULT       POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
NAV:        LT  ROBERT M. REILLY           POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
BOM:        LT  WILLIAM B. AGNETTI       POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
ROG:    T/SGT  ROBERT  RAY                 POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
TTE:    T/SGT  VAN D. PINNER               POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
BTG:    S/SGT  JOSEPH C. KRUSIENSKI       KIA    6 MAR 44 BERLIN
WG:    S/SGT  RICHARD L. KERWIN          POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
WG:    S/SGT  CHARLES F. ALLEN            POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN
TG:     S/SGT  THEODORE E. MANGUM    POW  6 MAR 44 BERLIN

SHOT DOWN DURING FIGHTER ATTACK NEAR HASELUNNE AT APPROXIMATELY 1200 HOURS. AIRCRAFT (42-97491) CRASHED NEAR TWISTRIGEN. ONE KIA, REMAINING SUCCESSFULLY BAILED OUT AND WERE TAKEN PRISONER.  AIRCRAFT IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BY Ofw REINTHALER OF FIGHTER GESCHWADER II.

Email = wgordon949@msn.comuname = William Gordon
comments = My dad (Jerome Gordon WG)was in the 100th. He originally was in a crew headed by Herbert Alf but soon after his arrival was transferred to a crew headed by Dean Radtke. The co-pilot, Robert Digby, was killed in a mission over Ludwigshafen and Radtke was wounded but got the plane back home.I am trying to find any documentation on this crew, the aircraft and mission.There is a small paragraph in the book Century Bombers about the mission and crew but not much info.Any ideas where I might inquire?Thanks.
***************************************************************************************************************

ON MAY 27, 2007, CHARLES ALLEN GAVE US THE FOLLOWING INFO ON THE DEC 30, 1943 AND MARCH 6, 1944 MISSIONS:

DEC 30, 1943:  We had no idea of the damage done in the cockpit until we landed.  I remember seeing oil pouring from one of our engines which was windmilling all the way back to Thorpe Abbotts.  Had we run out of oil on that engine, it would have siezed up and possibly torn the wing right off.  When we landed we had just pulled off the end of the runway onto the perimiter track and the engines died. Our fuel tanks were bone dry!  I also remember a P-38 staying with us as we made our way across France.  This kept German fighers at bay from making an attack on our crippled plane.  (P-38 was either from the 20th FG or 55th FG). The thing I remember the most was that they had to pry Lt Radtke's hands off the Wheel, they were frozen on them!

March 6, 1944:  When we hit briefing that day, we thought we were going to Bremen or a No-Ball since we had been to Berlin on March 4th.  Instead the curtain is pulled back and there it is, "Big B", Berlin again!  Well I just got a terrible feeling in my stomach and the responses in the room reflected that.  That room got pretty quiet really quick.  We listened really intently as if our lives depended on it, and it did!  Our position in formation, good, no "tail end charlie" for us, damn worst position to fly and we had seen our share of it!  Enemy fighter, flak batteries, fighter rendezvous were all laid our for us.  As we headed for the plane, I assisted the Bombardier with pulling the pins out of the bombs while Kerwin got both waist guns out of the engineering shack near their hardstand and installed them in the waist.  Even though I knew Kerwin did a good job installing them, I reinstalled my gun each time just to make sure.  You see, if that gun failed me, it was my life. The moment we stepped into that plane and shut the door, it was all business.  No fooling around or let up.  As a waist gunner, we were standing from the time we took off until we landed. Always on guard for enemy fighters or possible collisions during forming up.     

Start engines and the ROG, BTG, both WG’s and TG were in the Radio compartment sitting against the bulkhead waiting for take off. This allowed the pilot a balanced aircraft at takeoff.  Lt Radtke, our pilot, was respected by every man on the Crew. During training in Rapid City, South Dakota, Lt Radtke made sure every man on the crew had at least 30 minutes at the controls of a B-17.  This allowed him to inspect every station in the air and to see what is was like from our perspective and we could get some flying time in case of emergency. Pretty smart man.

On March 6, 1944 we were flying "Ronnie R" which was named after his newly born son Ronald R. Radtke.  Take-off and assembly went off On March 6, 1944 we were flying "Ronnie R" which was named after his newly born son Ronald R. Radtke.  Take-off and assembly went off without a hitch.  We were on our way to Berlin!  It was a beautiful day and I kept scouring the skies for our little friends and enemy fighters.  It had seemed like a long time since I had last seen our fighter protection.  Radtke always kept me informed of the outside temperature, just as he said, it was 60 degrees below zero outside, the first wave of fighters came barreling in head on.  We never knew what hit us in the back of the plane; 20mm shells were exploding everywhere! As one of the FW 190's went by I could see the pilots face, now that’s too close.   There was fire and smoke, communications were shot out, Oxygen was out, One 20mm exploded on top of the ball turret and his position went silent. We could not get to S/Sgt Krusienski , I believe he was KIA instantly.  During the attack I had been hit by shrapnel on the right side of my face and eye, the plane was on fire, control cables shot out, we'd had it!   It was "every man for himself".  T/Sgt Ray, our radio operator went out the bomb bay, along with bomb load which just happened to be jettisoned at the same time.  He told me later, "As I was falling I was shouting for the bombs to "get away from me"!  I could not see the Tail gunner but found our later he made it out but had lost a big toe from enemy fire.  It was time to go, I pulled the release on my flak vest, clipped on my parachute, Sgt Kerwin kicked out the escape hatch and I followed him out. When I landed that I was captured by the German Army.  I was thankful because there had been reports of American fliers being captured by civilians and being lynched or pitch forked to death.  I had my G.I. issued 45 cal. revolver on me just in case. We had been taught to shoot first, killed or be killed. I didn’t plan on surviving a bail out only to end up on the end of a pitch fork!  Instead, I was a guest of the Germans in Stalag Luft IV and Stalag Luft VI.”

I originally trained in B-25's getting them prepared for combat over in the Pacific before being transferred to B-17's.  Something interesting, I was trained in Judo in the Air Corps, one of the last classes to have this as part of training.  With my training in B-25's I could have easily ended up on the Doolittle Raid, but thank God that never happened, those guys had it rough.  I never took a drink while I was overseas, even after those rough missions.  I believe I knocked down at least one fighter but never got credit for it."

*****************************************************************************************************************

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-03-06  
AIRCRAFT: "Ronnie R" (42-97491) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: B ROW: 20  
GRAVE: 5 CEMETERY: Ardennes, Neuville-en-Cond, Belgium  

PHOTOS:

Joseph C. Krusienski   418th   TG   Pennsylvania   KIA   6 Mar 44   Berlin   Herbert A. Alf Crew   (100th Photo Archives)

Newspaper article about S/Sgt Krusienski MIA over Berlin March 6, 1944

(Back Row) 2ND LT HERBERT A. ALF,  1ST LT KENNETH L. RASMUSSEN,  2ND LT ALBERT A. MARCHIONDO,  2ND LT RAYMOND B. PHANEUF
(Front Row) SGT JOSEPH C. KRUSIENSKI,  SGT JIMISON T. PYLES, SGT JEROME H. GORDON, SGT CARMINE V. ROBERTO, SGT FRANCIS J. FLEMM, JR, SGT HERSCHEL P. LOWE

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2936