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T/SGT  Carmine V. ROBERTO

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: ROG

T/Sgt Carmine Roberto and S/Sgt Ira Arnold.  Roberto replaced Ed Walker after he was KIA on March 19, 1944.    Photo Courtesy of Bud Buschmeier by way of Matt Mabe.

SERIAL #: 15322527 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 07809 CR: 07809

Comments1: 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (WITH FITZROY CREW/FLAK)

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)

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.  Lt Alf became the CP on Capt David Miner Crew. 
S/SGT CARMINE ROBERTO REPLACED ED WALKER ON LT JOHN GIBBONS CREW AND WAS KIA WITH THE W.T. FITZROY CREW 
ON 29 JUL 44. 

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 Q1
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.

It would appear that this crew was "broken up" soon after it came to the 100th. Sgt Carmine Roberto went to the crew of Lt John Gibbons


CREW

2ND LT JOHN P. '49 MISSIONS" GIBBONS P CPT    14 APR 45 ROYAN   (FLEW TWO TOURS - CPT SECOND TOUR 14 APR 1945 ROYAN)
2ND LT ROBERT DYKEMAN                   CP KIA     29 JUL 44  MERSEBURG  (with Lt Fitzroy Crew, Hanged by Civilians)
2ND LT EVERETT M. "E-Max" JOHNSON NAV CPT    21 JUL 44  REGENSBURG
2ND LT STERLING B. "RED" BLAKEMAN BOM CPT   25 JUL 44  ST LO
T/SGT EDWARD F. WALKER, JR           ROG KIA    19 MAR 44 MARQUIS/ MIMOYEQUES (NO BALL)
S/SGT IRA L. ARNOLD                         TTE KIA    29 JUL 44  MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew, Hanged by Civilians)
SGT BERNARD L. "BERNIE" SPRAGG      BTG POW  29 JUL 44  MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew)
SGT MYRON J. "TY" ETTUS                RWG CPT   19 JUL 44  SCHWEINFURT/DUREN
S/SGT FRANK W. "BUD" BUSCHMEIER   LWG POW  29 JUL 44  MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew)
SGT ARCHIE W. "BUGS"  BUNTING         TG RFS    REMOVED FROM FLYING STATUS AFTER FLYING 12 MISSIONS (nicknamed Bugs Bunny)

350TH SQDN… CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 24 FEB 1944.
CAPT JOHN P. GIBBONS WENT ON TO BE 350TH OPERATIONS OFFICER IN MID DECEMBER 1944. AFTER HOSTILITIES, HE WAS MADE 
418TH BS C.O.
CPL WALTER WAGGONER WAS THE ORIGINAL ROG ON THE CREW STATESIDE BUT CAUGHT VD FROM HIS WIFE AND DID NOT GO OVERSEAS WITH THE CREW. HE WAS REPLACED BY ED WALKER WHO WAS KIA ON MARCH 19, 1944. . 
S/SGT CARMINE ROBERTO REPLACED ED WALKER ON LT JOHN GIBBONS CREW AND WAS KIA WITH THE W.T. FITZROY CREW 
ON 29 JUL 44.  DYKEMAN, ARNOLD, BUSCHMEIRER, AND SPRAGG WERE ALSO WITH THE CREW OF W.T. FITZROY ON 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG MISSION.  
2ND LT MAURICE H. CAIN BOM flew March 8, 1944 Berlin mission with this Crew.   
THE ENLISTED MEN WERE BUNKED WITH THE LAKIN CREW.  

ON MARCH 19, 1944 DURING A NOBALL MISSION, AN 88MM MADE A DIRECT HIT AND TORE THE ENTIRE FLOOR AND RIGHT SIDE OF THE RADIO  ROOM AWAY. ED WALKER WAS BLOWN OUT BY THE EXPLOSION.  S/SGT CARMINE ROBERTO REPLACED ED WALKER ON THIS CREW AND WAS KIA WITH THE W.T. FITZROY CREW ON 29 JUL 44.   W.T. FITZROY STATED HE SAW 12 AMERICANS HANGED AND SHOT BY THE GERMANS ON 29 JUL 44; AMONG THEM WERE DYKEMAN, ARNOLD, AND  FLOYD DOUGLAS.

Stories related by Lt John P. Gibbons to mpf (2002)

"While in the States on the way to his next phase of flight training , John Gibbons was reading Lt Col Lay's article "I Saw Regensburg Destroyed" (about the 100th BG and Maj. Gale Cleven's ordeal on August 17, 1943). His recollections  were " I am not this type of guy".  Three months later, he was assigned to the 100thBG, 350th BS (Clevens old Bomb Squadron) and his first mission was too REGENSBURG on 
25 Feb 44"!

"We flew the first three missions to BERLIN.  On the first,  March 4, 1944, we flew as a composite with the 95th BG.  We received the recall but the Group leader in the 95th heard it differently. Being a young Second Lt, I was not going to break radio silence to tell him differently.  We also flew the March 6th and March 8th missions to Berlin.  I think I ended up going to Berlin a total of 7 times."  Once while returning from BERLIN on the deck (with my windshield was shot out), we were escorted by a P-51 named "OLD CROW" (flown  by Maj Bud Anderson of 357th Fighter Group).  We would meet again on a train while I was on leave in the States in between my first and second tour.     

"The aircraft we flew on my 5th mission was MISS IRISH, named by our Crew Chief Chandler.  The date was March 19, 1944, and we were to hit a NO BALL in France.  My plane was hit  by an  88mm shell, blowing a huge hole in the radio compartment and killing my ROG, Sgt Walker.  So much for Milk Runs!"  MISS IRISH was salvaged.  I flew MISS IRISH II, once again named by Chandler. on my 6th mission then requested that I would like to name my next aircraft which I did.  It was called "LITTLE MIKE".  

"We flew our first 5 missions as "Tail End Charlie" as was the custom for all new crews.  Once on a practice mission, I was flying so close to my squadron CO, he accused me of trying to kill him!  

"I completed my first tour, then went stateside for 30 days.  Why would someone sign up for another tour, guess I felt we had a job to complete. When I returned to the Group (along with Chadwick and Glen Rake who had also signed up for another tour of duty), I was not assigned a permenant crew nor did I have a specific job but was flying missions as a deputy leader with the 350th BS. During this time I flew my 36th mission, flying deputy lead on a mission over the Ruhr (Happy Valley as it was nick named) and we had gone over the target twice and still had not dropped our bombs. I asked my bombardier if he saw the target and upon getting the affirmative decided to break radio silence. As a green second Lt, I did not speak up on the Berlin mission, but with 35 missions under my belt, I told the other crews to form up on me and we hit the target"   
          
"I was appointed 350th BS Operations officer by Maj Rosenthal and  I would fly my remaining 14 missions as a Command Pilot.  My final mission was April 7, 1945 to Buchen. After hostilities ceased, I was made CO of the 418th BS."     

7 Apr 1945: Maj. John P. Gibbons, Command pilot, and Capt David Hutchinson with the following crew were leading the formation on the raid to Buchen: 

    Gibbons, J.P.       Command pilot
    Hutchinson, D.E.  Pilot
    Patterson, P.B.    Co-Pilot (Flying the TG positon as Formation Officer wth the Command Pilot aboard in the right seat)
    Graham, N.S.       Navigator
    Zemski, A.R.        Bombardier
    Sapper, A.C.        TTE
    Fagan, T.H.         ROG
    Mast, G.D.           BTG
    Kamper, J.W.       RWG

They were involved in the fracas that .the 100th lost Calder ( LT. ARTHUR R. CALDER) and Howard's (LT WILLIAM E. HOWARD) aircraft. It was also the mission in which two 100th B-17s lost half of their stablizers and still came home to Thorpe Abbotts. One of the A/C was "GOLD BRICK." that collided with debris. Other was 43-38514 that was a victim of a collision with a downed ME 109. There is some question as to "GOLD BRICK." This ship was reported to have it's stablizer knocked off by the severed wing of the ME 109 that crashed into 43-38514 - and was flown by Lt Joe King. Both pilots were awarded DFC's for their fete of bringing both ships home. Griswold (Lt Griswold Smith) reports that the ME 109 that crashed into Calder's aircraft was diverted by intense fire from the formation's gunners.

The crew of J.C. Martin's (Lt Joe Carl Martin) aircraft confirmed that Joe King's aircraft was hit and damaged by the severed wing of the ME 109.

"Miss Irish" and the "MILK RUN REVISITED" March 19, 1944 (No Ball target in France)
 Miss Irish" 42-31968-This mission was supposed to be a "Milk Run"

Do you remember a contest about fifteen years ago to see which safely-landed plane had the most damage? So far, "Miss Irish" has remained unrivaled in this category. With information from the Maxwell Air Force Research Agency, which many of you are now discovering, and after numerous phone calls and recollection sessions in Little Rock, the "Miss Irish" crew has finally reached a consensus and produced a "more comprehensive and factual picture" of what happened to their plane. Having spent their first four missions on daylight bombing strikes over Berlin, the crew hoped their fifth would be a milk run. Flying Tailend Charlie in the high squadron (350th) of the 100th, heading for Dungeness, the crew went through the usual routine: test-fire guns, arm bombs, open bomb-bay doors, prepare to drop. Little black puufs of smoke over the coast of France looked "kind of like the 4th of July." As STERLING BLAKEMAN recalls, "there was a dramatic change in flak . . . All at once we found ourselves surrounded by big black oily smudges with angry red cores, all zeroed in on our plane. The big hit, when it came, created a new directional force on the plane, lifting it straight upward." Sterling hurried to the cockpit where pilot JOHN GIBBONS asked for damage assessment. Sterling and flight engineer IRA ARNOLD discovered that "a direct 88mm hit had torn out the whole floor and right side of the radio room, killing radio operator ED WALKER. Six of our twelve 500-lb. G. P. bombs were hung up in their twisted racks."

FRANK BUSCHMEIER remembers sitting in the back half of the plane "by my waist gun when I heard a burst of flak in front 
of the nose, then another one under the tail. There was a terrific explosion in the radio room, blowing the rear door out and 
sending it to where it ended up between my legs." Ed had "already fallen through the gaping hole that had been the floor." In 
the cockpit, John took the news "with amazing calm for a pilot who was now flying an aircraft divided at its middle almost in 
half." According to Sterling, "aware that the oxygen system had been knocked out, [John] was already nursing the plane down 
from our 21,000-ft. bomb run altitude. He and co-pilot BOB DYKEMAN were having trouble with the controls to the shredded 
right elevator and the rudder." Fortunately, all four engines were operational.

In the ball turret, the side windows were smashed and the front window gone, but the crew got BERNIE SPRAGG safely 
out. Busch spliced the cables of the elevator and rudder controls and then assisted waist gunner TY ETTUS in holding Bernie's 
legs while he leaned out over the hole in the radio room to pull back the shroud lines of Ed Walker's "flak-ridden and billowing 
chute." The trailing lines had snagged a walk-around oxygen bottle and were creating an extra drag factor. In between repairs, 
the "Back Half Crew," joined by tail gunner"BUGS" BUNTING, began lightening the load by throwing out as much as possible. 
Having fallen away from the formation and flying without any P-47 escorts, navigator MAX JOHNSON "set the shortest 
course to England." But over the Channel, only three bombs dropped with the conventional release mechanism. Arnold and 
Sterling stood on the bomb bay catwalk and worked with pliers and screwdrivers,  against time and a heavy draft, to work the 
other three bombs loose. "Thanks mainly to Arnold's talent for solving mechanical problems not covered in service manuals, all 
 three were finally jettisoned, the last one just moments before we reached the English Coast," recalls Sterling.

 In addition to the mid-section slice, "Miss Irish" sustained over 400 flak holes. Her brakes were out, and the crew had no radio 
communication. Over England, no one opted to jump. Flak had rendered several chutes useless, and most of the crew 
remembered when John had landed them safely at Moses Lake, Washington, with collapsed right landing gear. They approached 
a P-47 base at Raydon, near Ipswich, firing red flares. Sterling notes that "since anything but the smoothest of touchdowns 
would break the plane in half, it had to be a perfect landing. It was." The Raydon personnel could not believe their eyes. Their flight surgeon showed up with bottles of Scotch and gin which were "put to good use in bringing sleep to nine weary but emotionally keyed up survivors." Someone commented, "If this is what milk runs are like, I'd rather go back to Big B. again." 

But, as Rosie says, "If you came back, it was a milk run."

Note:  This is Lt William Fitzroy's original crew, which was shot down at Merseburg 29 Jul 44.

Lt. William T. "Buzz" Fitzroy           P   POW was on 35th mission
Lt. Robert Dykeman                   CP   KIA    Killed by German civilians, hanged
Lt. Floyd  F. Hartman               NAV   POW
 T/Sgt Floyd O. Douglas         TOGG   KIA    Killed by German civilians, hanged  
 T/Sgt Carmine V. Roberto       ROG   KIA    Killed by 20mm shell
 T/Sgt Ira L. Arnold                 TTE   KIA    Killed by German civilians, hanged
 S/Sgt Bernard L. Spragg          BTG   POW
   Sgt Frank  W. Buschmeier      WG   POW
   Sgt Joseph P. O' Donnell        TG    POW

This appears to have been a "Pick - Up" crew.  A/C 42-31537 LN-S "Randie Lou"  Plane was named by Lt Randell Chadwick after his Daughter (she was named after Randell and his Wife Louise "Randie Lou")

W.T. FITZROY STATED HE SAW 12 AMERICANS HANGED AND SHOT BY THE GERMANS ON 29 JUL 44; AMONG THEM WERE DYKEMAN, ARNOLD, AND  FLOYD DOUGLAS.
 
Lt Dykeman, T/Sgt Arnold, Buschmeier and Spragg were from Lt John P.Gibbons crew. O'Donnell from Lt J.M.Shelly crew and of course Fitzroy was the original co-pilot of the Randel T. Chadwick crew when it joined the 100th on 24 Feb 1944.  

On July 29, 1944, for the second day in a row, B-17's set out for the oil plant at Merseburg.  The formation was led by 1st Lt Herbert Howard and Austin Dunlap on a faulty course which went over Leipzig.  The 100th "A" Group followed the 390th BG.  The formation flew on a southernly course towards Merseburg and was hit in a barrage of extremely heavy flak.  In the next few minutes, the low squadron of the 100th Lead was hard hit, losing 5 of 6 B-17's. Crew members believe FW 190's and ME 109's wee radioing the formations altitude while flying in their own flak.  The "A" Group dropped wide, "B" Group hit the target.  The entire low squadron of the 100th "A" Group failed to return.  There was a 6 8/10th's cloud cover at the target.  The lead A/C was hit by flak before the target causing a formation breakup and many stragglers.  All were presumable lost to enemy fighters after passing over targets of opportunity. Witnesses: Lt Kasselbaum and Lt George Allen reported Lt Fitzroy's A/C blowing up after being hit.  German records indicate that 5 bodies were recovered.

EYEWITNESS:  "No specific information concerning the loss of this A/C is available. The formation leader for this squadron suffered flak damage prior to the target and was forced to jettison his bombs. This may have led to the beaking up of the formation for all became more of less stragglers. All were lost, presumaby to E/A after passing over the target of opportunity."
    Floyd F. Hartman

Hartman's statement  also indicates S/Sgt Carmine V. Roberto was killed before the crew bailed out over Leipzig at approx. 1045 hours.  Lt Fitzroy stated that he had seen 12 Americans Hanged and shot by Germans on the 29th of July, 1944.  Lt Dykeman, T/Sgt Douglas and T/Sgt Ira Arnold  were among them

MEMO 2:

POW/KIA notes: Hung by Civilians.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Merseburg DATE: 1944-07-29  
AIRCRAFT: "Buffalo Gal" aka "Randie Lou" CAUSE: EAC & FLAK  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 John P. Gibbons crew: Standing, L-R: Sterling B. Blakeman, John P. Gibbons, E. Max Johnson, Robert Dykeman;
Kneeling: Ira L. Arnold, Carmine V. Roberto, Myron J. Ettus, Bernard L. Spragg, Archie W. Bunting, and Frank W. Buschmeier Detailed Information 

(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

John P. Gibbons crew: Standing, L-R: Sterling B. Blakeman, John P. Gibbons, E. Max Johnson, Robert Dykeman;
Kneeling: Ira L. Arnold, Frank W. Buschmeier, Carmine V. Roberto, Myron J. Ettus, Bernard L. Spragg, Archie W. Bunting, (courtesy of Bud Buschmeier)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

Crew 3

ID: 4400