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S/SGT  Bruce E. ALSHOUSE

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG

 Bruce E. Alshouse, TG, John G. Gossage Crew Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

SERIAL #: 17051757 STATUS: CPT
MACR: 00778 CR: 00778

Comments1: 24 SEP 43 PRACTISE MISSION (BRUCE)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

DATE: 24 Sept.1943    349th Sqdn.       A/C #42-30259 Damifino II

TARGET: Practice Mission              MACR #778 (Micro-fiche #257)

2nd Lt John G.Gossage         P     Rescued & later a POW (3/3/44) Berlin
2nd Lt William S. Grier          CP    KIA
2nd Lt Walter Nichols Jr      NAV   POW  8/10/43 Bremen (with Lt Becktoft Crew)
2nd Lt Theodore J.Don      BOM   Rescued & CPT   sn# 0-676883
T/Sgt William S.Humphrey   TTE   Rescued & later a POW (3/3/44)
S/Sgt Ralph Schulte         RWG     KIA
T/Sgt Michael W.Gillen       ROG    Rescued & CPT
S/Sgt Francis J.DeCooman  BTG    KIA
S/Sgt Bruce E.Alshouse       TG    Rescued & CPT    (1994 President of the 100th BG Association)
 S/Sgt Clyde O.Lovell         LWG   KIA

This crew joined the 100th Group in August 1943 a few days after the Regensburg raid of 17/8/43.(17 Aug 43). Flying with the Crew on the Sept 24, 1943 mission was 2nd Lt J.Ward Dalton(Nav) in place of Lt Nichols and was KIA. 

On 24/9/43 a rather sudden practice mission was scheduled and it was dis-covered that this crew's regularly assigned A/C was still loaded with bombs from a mission scrubbed earlier that day. Another A/C was assigned the crew and in the rush to take off at the proper time, it was not immediately discovered that the ten machine guns were stored in the nose compartment.

While over the North sea on the practice mission, about 10/15 enemy fighters jumped the formation and left Gossage's ship badly shot up and #3 engine and part of the right wing burning fiercely. Gossage ordered the crew to bail out but he rode the ship to a crash landing in the sea. After about an hour in the water, Gossage, Don, Humphrey, Gillen and Alshouse were picked up by Air-Sea Rescue. Bodies of Schulte & DeCooman were never recovered and their names are inscribed on the Wall Of The Missing at Cambridge, Eng. Bill Grier is buried in the Cambridge Cemetary.

On 3/3/44, Gossage flying with a new crew was shot down on a mission to Berlin and became a POW. Sgt.Humphrey, with the crew of R.D.Vollmer, went down on that same mission and became a POW. 

See Bruce Alshouse record for a description of the rescue, it was not Air Sea Rescue, rather a Royal Navy combat flottila.

CREW

Capt Donald H.Moede  Pilot   CT 349th Sqdn. Page 213 of S.O.C. lists a 
Donald H.Moede,Pilot of 1401 G St.,Llncoln,Neb., as completing his tour of 
operatlons. Page 179 of "Contrails" has a picture (349th Sqdn.) of a Capt. 
D. Moedo.

Bruce E.Alshouse of the J.G.Gossage crew writes (1986) that after the 
Gossage crew loss  on 24/9/43,He,Theodore Don,and Mike Gillen( B & R ) were 
assigned to the crew Of Capt.Donald H.Moede. Also on tho Moede crew:

Capt. Donald H. Moede P
2nd Lt Theodore Don  B       (originally with the JG Gossage Crew)
M/Sgt. Art Gibbons     N
T/Sgt. Mike Gillen      ROG     (originally with the JG Gossage Crew)
Sgt  Joe Raff            WG
Sgt  Don Sackrider    WG      (he was wlth J.G.Gossage on 3/3/44 and became a POW)
 Sgt Richard Pearson   BT
Sgt Bruce E. Alshouse TG     (originally with the JG Gossage Crew)

The CP was usually a replacement; Moede flew "The Laden Maiden"  for 11 missions after Owen 
"Cowboy" Roane had flow her for 13 missions..jb

                        MISSION LOG OF BRUCE E.ALSHOUSE (17051757)
                        SIGNED BY SUMMER H. REEDER 
 
09/24/43 VANNES                   (SHOT DOWN AND RESCUSED ON A PRACTICE MISSION
10/20/43 DUREN                     24 SEP 44) SEE END OF MISSION LOG FOR ADDITIONAL
11/03/43 WILHEMSHAVEN          INFORMATION)
11/05/43 GILSENKIRCHEN   
11/07/43 DUREN                
11/13/43 BREMEN
11/16/43 RJUKEN
11/26/43 BREMEN
11/29/43 BREMEN
11/30/43 SOLINGEN
12/05/43 BORDEAUX
12/11/43 EMDEN
12/13/43 KEIL
12/30/43 LUDSWIGSHAFEN
01/21/44 NOBALL #21
01/29/44 FRANKFURT
01/30/44 BRUNSWICK
02/03/44 WILHELMSAVEN
02/04/44 FRANKFURT
02/06/44 ROMILLY
02/13/44 NOBALL #22
02/21/44 BRUNSWICK
03/02/44 CHARTES
03/04/44 BERLIN  (WAS ON LT HARRISON CREW)
03/06/44 BERLIN  (WAS ON LT HARRISON CREW)

Date Crew Nbr Mission Nbr Last Name Initial Rank Position Aircraft Nbr Target
3/4/1944 3 123 BEECHEY A E T/SGT TTE 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 ROBBINS L A S/SGT RWG 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 NALL G S/SGT LWG 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 NACHATILO L E S/SGT BTG 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 HARRISON J A LT P 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 COYLE N J T/SGT ROG 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 BUSALACCHI A J LT NAV 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 STAPLETON C S LT CP 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 ALSHOUSE B E S/SGT TG 152 BERLIN
3/4/1944 3 123 MORGAN G R LT BOM 152 BERLIN

3/6/1944 3 124 ROBBINS L.A. SGT WG 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 HARRISON J.A. LT P 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 ALSHOUSE B.E. S/SGT TG 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 NACHATILO L.E. SGT BTG 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 NALL G. SGT WG 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 COYLE N.J. T/SGT ROG 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 BEECHEY A.J. T/SGT TTE 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 KREZO A. LT BOM 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 BUSALACCHI A.J. LT NAV 31710 BERLIN
3/6/1944 3 124 STAPLETON C.S. LT CP 31710 BERLIN
**************************************************************************************************************

        ON 24 SEP 43 SHIP 42-30259 DEPARTED STATION 139 ON A PRACTICE MISSION. THE AIRCRAFT WAS ATTACKED BY GERMAN FIGHTERS AT APP 1630 HRS, DESTROYING THE AIRCRAFT. ALL CREWMEN BAILED OUT, TWO CHUTES FAILED TO OPEN AND THERE ADDITONAL CREW MEMBERS COULD NOT BE SAVED. THE RESCUE WAS EFFECTED BY A M.T.B (MOTOR TORPEDO BOAT) FLOTTILA (SIX (6) VESSELS) OF THE ROYAL NAVY, LCD BRADFORD COMMANDING. MR ALSHOUSE WAS AMOUNG THE SURVIVIORS AND COMPLETED THE TOUR LISTED ABOVE. HE NOW (1992) MAKES HIS HOME IN THE  KANSAS CITY, MO AREA.  FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SEE MACR #778.


View from the tail
by Bruce E. Alshouse


 After the 24 September 1943 combat mission was canceled, we were told we were going on an afternoon practice mission to drop practice bombs over the North Sea. We did not even have guns to put in our ships. We took off thinking we were going for a nice joy ride. We were flying in a formation with about eighty other fortresses.
 Most of us were in the radio room relaxing when two enemy fighters jumped us. There we were over the North Sea with no guns. Their first pass at us put two cannon shells in one of our engines and it flamed up. We were afraid the gasoline was going to blow up.
 The bombardier, Ted Don, opened the bomb door and the pilot, John Gossage, told us to bail out. We were in dive at 250 mph when we started jumping. I was the last one to jump and was about 1,000 feet above the water when I went out. Just as soon as I pulled the rip cord and my chute opened, I hit the water. I inflated my life preserver but it didn't work. The waves were about fifteen feet high and my chute was dragging me across the sea. I had a hard time getting our of my harness, but finally got out. I had to struggle to keep afloat, I went under several times.
 Then  I saw two small boats go by me in the direction of the way the plane had been going. I gave up all hope of being saved. Then I saw another boat in the distance, coming in my direction. It stopped so I didn't think they has seen me. After a while it came on and picked me up.
 I was pulled on board and then I passed out. The next thing I knew I was having my feet rubbed vigorously by two English seaman, but I couldn't feel my toes. After and hour of rubbing, my feet came to life again. Then they gave me some brandy to warm me up. It just went down and came right up again with all the salt water I had swallowed. I asked how many of our crew were found and they told me they picked up five of us alive,  two dead and that they couldn't find the other three.
 After the torpedo boat completed its night mission, looking for trouble along the Dutch coast (as if we hadn't seen enough already), we put into port around noon on Saturday, 25 September 1943.
 The five of us, who are still alive, feel pretty good but we are being sent to a rest home for abut ten days. We leave tomorrow. Our own navigator didn't come with us because he was sick. The substitute navigator, J. Ward Dalton, was killed. We are all going to fly again if we stay together, otherwise we don't want to fly.
 Don't ever razz me about my big mouth because that is what saved me. The British crew couldn't see me, but one just happened to hear me shout. The English sailors are swell people. Don't ever let anyone tell you different, I owe my life to them.
 I now have two raids to my credit. I am kind of anxious to get a crack at some of the Jerries for killing four of my best buddies. I am going to try and get a Jerry for each one of them.
 This is no military secret so you might let some of the people back home know that this is no basketball game over here. Don't forget to say a prayer for the British sailors, I do it every night.
  (Written to a friend a few days after the incident)

Attacked over the North Sea
by Theodore J. Don - 100thBG

 On the morning of 24 September 1943 we were alerted for a trip to Stuttgart. Adverse weather canceled the mission and we all retired to our sacks. It was almost noon when we were recalled and quickly briefed for a hurried practice mission in the area of the Wash. I later found out the entire Third Division had been called out for this effort to experiment with Pathfinder bombing.
 Out crew, under pilot John Gossage, having racked up our first mission the day before, headed for our ship, "Laden Maiden," we found it still loaded with 500-pound bombs. No time to unload the bombs so we were assigned to another ship. "Damdifino II." 
 There was no time to check things except the important items. Ten machine guns lay in the nose compartment. A few ships had skeleton crews, but we had a complete crew. Major Flesher and Capt. Barr led the high squadron. We flew the #2 position. Assembly was routine.
 Before too much time had elapsed our navigator, J. Ward Dalton, Jr., told me we were nearing our target area, so I prepared for bombing. The clouds were 10/10 beneath us. I waited for ages but received no signal for "prepare to bomb" and began to wonder how much further we had to go. We were supposed to rendezvous with our friendly escort, P-47's, near Wash. When we spotted a bout ten to fifteen dots headed toward us from one o'clock we naturally thought they were our fighters.
 We were rudely disappointed. The top turret of Barr's ship began to sputter and we were alerted. They circled and came on us from the right. I unlimbered my nose gun. The attack was fast and invisible. They came out of the sun at one o' clock. Our fuselage, from the bomb bay back, was ripped with machine gun fire. Then a 20mm landed directly behind Number Three engine. The oil tank was hit and flared up furiously. We were flying tight to Barr who kept waving us away. We stuck to him like a leech as we thought he wanted us closer.
 Then we discovered the fire and banked away and lost altitude. Gossage intended to ditch but the wing was burning so badly he thought the gas tanks would go. He then gave the order to bail out. I opened the bomb bay doors and we commenced to hit the silk. We must have been no higher than 1,000 feet when I went out, as I hit the water right after I yanked my rip cord.
 I was in the North Sea about 45 minutes when I saw the boats. I marveled at the fast action of Air-Sea Rescue. Two boats passed on either side of me while I was hollering my head off. They didn't hear me and I thought I was lost.
 Then a boat came down the middle and picked me up. My only thoughts were that God must have directed them. Bruce E. Alshouse, tail gunner, Mike Gillen, radio operator, and I were picked up by the same boat. The other boats picked up John Gossage and William Humphrey, engineer/ top turret gunner. The Co-Pilot, William Grier and the Navigator, J. Ward Dalton, were dead when they were picked up. We stayed in the area for a long time, but the boats could find no trace of the two waist gunners, Clyde O. Lovell and Ralph Schulte, or the ball turret gunner, Francis J. Cooman.
 How ironic! The air-sea rescue turned out to be British motor-torpedo boats, five English-manned and one Polish-manned out on a sortie to the Dutch coast. That night we played tag with German shipping and German "E" boats all near the Dutch coast. We were picked up by Commander Donald Bradford, who was leading the flotilla. He will long be remembered in my thoughts.
 I learned later that our pilot, John Gossage, stayed with the plane. He wanted to skim the water and make a splash which might put the fire out. It didn't work. He hit the water nose down. Somehow, while the nose was under water, he crawled through the side window. He had to leave a shoe behind a rudder pedal. The ship floated for five minutes and then dived for the last time. 
 By the way we never received credit for that combat mission.

 


North Sea Catch
by Donald Bradford

 I was leading a unit of six boats across the North Sea, bound for the coastline of Holland. We were expecting to meet a large Southbound enemy convoy in which was a big supply ship that had been fitted out for the blockade running to Japan. Our orders were to sweep the convoy route until we found it, or dawn broke. If it was sighted we were to sink it al costs.
 As always when an important sortie had to be laid on the weather was unpromising. The wind was blowing hard and the sea had a nasty chop to it that foretold of a wickedly uncomfortable night. Still, there was no rain which was a blessing and although the clouds were low they were white and feathery, scurrying hurriedly toward the East and showing intermittent patches of blue sky.
 With the sea dead astern, we were charging along at about 20 knots, in "line ahead," with an occasional boat "taking charge" as a comber lifted under it's stern and shot it ahead as it rode the crest of the wave, temporarily out of control. Consternation and panic was caused on the bridge at the seemingly inevitable collision with the ship ahead, until just in time the wave shot by and repeated the trick on each boat in succession up the line. We had just approached Brown Ridge, our half way point across the North Sea, when I heard the faint noise of airplane engines and hurriedly signaled for all boats to reduce speed to six knots so that the line of our creamy high speed wakes on the water would not attract the attention of a possible German spotting plane.
 As the noise became louder and louder, I could hear an uneven beat and sputtering as if the engines were unhappy and liable to break down at any moment.
 All eyes were aloft, trying to spot the aircraft. From the sound, it appeared to be circling above the cloud layer right over our heads. Then we saw it -- nosing down toward the sea about half a mile away to starboard with fire licking one wing. It was a Flying Fortress. The pilot was obviously going to make a crash landing in the sea. As we watched spellbound, I saw the first of the dark specks plummet from the fuselage as the crew commenced to bail out.
 The sight of the floating parachutes broke the spell that was holding me as I followed the plane along it's graceful  glide to destruction. Grabbing the R/T microphone, I broke my rule, "no transmissions except in sight of the enemy," as I passed out the order for the boats to scatter and rescue.
 I charged my boat towards a cluster of three parachutes which were rapidly drifting away to the Eastward. As we gathered speed, I saw them drop into the water, one after the other. Through my glasses, I could see that two were in serious difficulties and unable to cast off their parachutes. The wind was blowing them across the water like a couple of ten meter class yachts with spinnakers set.
 
 There was only one way to get them -- drive eastward at top speed and having passed them, to lie "beam on" in their path and let the wind blow them against our hull. This we did and soon a couple of very waterlogged airmen were gasping and retching on out deck. Now to find the third in the bunch. Without the white of his parachute to guide us and in the fading light, it was a hard and urgent task. The tumbling sea did not promise long life for the best of swimmers -- even with a "May West" around his body.
 As we quartered around, reports  of success or failure began to come in from my other boats. Quickly totting up the score, I realized that this missing man was the only man  (out of eight chutes we saw) not accounted for.
 After a quarter hour of fruitless searching, I was becoming desperate. Time was short  and out operational orders were concise and clear -- we had to be in a certain spot by a definite time -- come what may.
 It looked as if the unfortunate Yank -- if still alive would have to be abandoned. As a last measure, I moved about half a mile to the east and fired a red Very light into the air. It worked. Faint on the wind we heard a shout and knew that he was somewhere upwind of us. Steaming slowly into the west, we fired a succession of "lights" and guided by his shouts, we soon picked out a dark head occasionally showing in the water.
 A couple of my ratings, Emerson, the ginger-headed pom-pom gunner of Grosverner House, and Wilson, a radar operator and machine gunner, were over the side in a jiffy and between them, with the aid of a length of rope, enabled us to haul the three parts drowned and completely exhausted man on board.
 I reformed my unit and, going up to full speed to make up for the lost time, set a course for the starting position for our sweep along the Dutch coastline.
 After my Coxswain and Bill, the First Lieutenant, had worked on the three survivors for awhile, getting the salt water out their congested lungs and finishing up with roll of blankets and the traditional Naval medicine -- a tot of rum -- they were fairly comfortable. Not all the boats could report such happy results. Three of the other five died, two from injuries and one after artificial respiration had been tried for nearly three hours.
 I questioned one officer named Don, who had been the bombardier, and discovered that their plane had been on an excretes flight over the North Sea and had been jumped by a couple of German fighters. The crew were all new and fresh from the States and it had been their first taste of sharp and sudden death. I was very astonished to discover that none of them had seen the boats until we actually maneuvered alongside to pick them up. I had somewhat naturally assumed the Captain of the aircraft had seen us as he came out of the clouds and decided to bail out there and then -- rather than struggle nearer to the English coast. 
 The remainder of the trip was uneventful. The weather lived up to our expectations and the fury of the wind and sea as they clawed and pounded us on the homeward crawl the following morning is something that lives in my memory yet. 
 We berthed at Yarmouth in the early hours of the afternoon, wet, cold, sodden and dispirited -- a glum crowd. As I had sent a signal to Base during our plod home, reporting the American survivors on board, there were a couple of small ambulances and a staff car waiting to pick them up and whisk them off to their airfield somewhere in Norfolk.
 They were a tough and friendly bunch and had practically recovered from their enforced bath by the time we berthed. As we all had a drink in my small, wet cabin before the left, one of them turned to me and said, "Say Captain, I guess you fellows need that rum that they hand out in the Navy of yours to keep you from longing for that comfortable spacious bench in the park to sleep on."
 It was an apt, concise summing up of the crowed uncomfortable conditions under which we lived.

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

Interview with Bruce E. Alshouse [11/21/2003]

Gary Swanson:
This is Gary Swanson with Americans Remembered interviewing Bruce E. Alshouse at his home in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 21, 2003. Mr. Alshouse served in the Army Air Corps; his final rank was tech sergeant. He served from May 14, 1942, to October 13, 1945. His job during -- principal job -- during the war in Europe was as a tail gunner on a B-17, flying 25 missions. He was born on December 8, 1923. He's a holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the American Theater, the European Theater, the Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and other theater medals and ribbons. Bruce, where did you grew up as a kid?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I grew up in Minnesota, a little town north of St. Paul-Minneapolis. My fondest memories are from the age of 6 to 12 when we lived on a -- during the Depression -- on a 10-acre farm. And I do remember this very closely and, and I enjoy, I enjoy thinking about it even nowadays.

Gary Swanson:
Was your daddy was a farmer then?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No. Frankly, quite frankly, my dad worked for the railroad, and he used to take the train back and forth to work in St. Paul. But -- and there was three brothers. And two of the brothers and I were still around when I was young, and we did the work on a 10-acre farm. That wasn't too much to do on 10-acres. But then in 1936 we moved into St. Paul and became a city boy then. And went to school in St. Paul. Graduated from high school in St. Paul, from Johnson High School. And shortly after that, I went to work for First National Bank in St. Paul. They had their own print shop; and I had taken printing in high school, because I enjoyed it, and I worked for the, in the print shop.

Gary Swanson:
Well, let's go back for just a minute to your family. When you moved back to, and you became a city boy in St. Paul --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Uh-huh.

Gary Swanson:
-- your daddy probably still worked for the railroad?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Correct.

Gary Swanson:
Was your mother a stay-at-home mom?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
My mother was stay-at-home mom. And then during the World War II she volunteered and was a practical nurse in a hospital in St. Paul.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. So you got -- how many brothers and sisters you have?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I have three brothers, all older than I. And one of them left home, left to join the Navy about 1920 -- about 1928, so I never did see much of him. He didn't come back to Minnesota very often. And the other two brothers, we grew up right there on the farm and in St. Paul.

Gary Swanson:
So there were four of you; four boys?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
There were four boys.

Gary Swanson:
Did -- your older brother went to the Navy?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
Did -- how about your two other brothers, did they serve during World War II?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
During World War II they all served. We all served in a different branch. My, my, the brother -- the one next to me, the little older than I am -- he, he was in the Coast Guard and --

Gary Swanson:
What was his name?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
His name was Allen.

Gary Swanson:
Okay.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
He's still, he's still living in St. Paul.

Gary Swanson:
Coast Guard. And your other brother?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
My other brother joined the Army, or he was drafted into the Army, and he was only in about six months when he was discharged for physical reasons.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm. So all your mother's and father's only children all went away to war, or all were gone?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
Were you, were you the last one to go?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No, actually, I was -- other than the one that joined the Navy -- I was the first one to go. Actually, the one that joined the Navy was not in the Navy when the war started.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
He was in the Border Patrol out in California.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm. Okay, so you went to high school in St. Paul?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
And what year did you graduate, Bruce?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
1941.

Gary Swanson:
Graduated in 19 --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
July of '40 -- or June of '41.

Gary Swanson:
And then, so then you went to work for the bank --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- as you mentioned --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- in the, in the print shop.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
In the print shop.

Gary Swanson:
And World -- Pearl Harbor happened at the tail end of that year, in December.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
Just as you turned 18.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I turned 18.

Gary Swanson:
The day after Pearl Harbor.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
Did you have thoughts at that time that, oh maybe I'm going to have to go to war?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I wanted to go right away.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
As a matter of fact in January my mother, Allen, and I went over to Minneapolis to enlist in the Coast -- in the Navy. No, excuse me, it was the Coast Guard. But at the time they said they didn't need anybody. Go home and we'll give you a call you when we need you. Well, I went home and went back to work in the print shop and I didn't get a call and didn't get a call and I was getting antsy. And so there was a guy down working in the print shop that was home on leave from the Air Corps, and he talked me to joining the Air Corps. So I went and joined the Air Corps. And two weeks later they called my brother Allen and said, "We're ready for you and your brother. Come on over here and sign up." And so my brother Allen told them the story about how I joined the Air Corps and the guy said, "Jeez, I wish I would have known he wanted to go that bad, I would have let him in right away quick." But anyhow. That's how I go into the Air Corps.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Because of this gentleman that worked down there was --

Gary Swanson:
Do you remember the day you left home? That you told mom and dad good-bye?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No, I really don't remember that, that deal because Fort Snelling was right there in St. Paul, and I kept going back and forth for a couple days.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Until they shipped down to Jefferson Barracks.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. So you were sworn in at Fort Snelling.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
Which is right around St. Paul.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
And then they sent you to St. Louis for --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Jefferson Barracks.

Gary Swanson:
-- Basic Training.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
At Jefferson Barracks.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
How did Basic Training go for you?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, like I said, it didn't go bad at all. I was kind of anxious. I was, I was very naive. I was thrown into a tent with four other guys that were all married, and they used to sit around talking about married life and all that. And I sat there with my eyes wide open and my ears were wide open and I was hearing things I never heard before. And we slept in tents down there in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and after about four days of Basic Training I noticed a notice on the bulletin board for volunteers needed for gunnery school. And I, I really still didn't know what a gunner did. I didn't have any idea what kind of airplanes -- what an airplane was about because I'd never been in one. And, but I joined. I had the feeling that why shouldn't I go? I'm only 18, I got nobody else besides my family. I don't have a wife, I don't have children, and so I went. And I, I, I guess I was over-patriotic. But I got that from my mother. My mother was tremendously patriotic woman. But then I went on out to Las Vegas and went to gunnery school out there. From there I went to Buckley Field, Colorado, in Denver, Colorado. Went to armament school there. From there, down to Pyote, Texas, to form a crew, a B-17 crew.

Gary Swanson:
So how long from the time you got in, in May 14 of '42, until you went to form a crew? How -- what was that lapsed period of time?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Let's see, that should have been about May to March. May to March is about 7, let's see, about 10 months.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. So after about 10 months they were ready to ship you to --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
-- to the battlefield?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
So you formed a crew and --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We trained. Trained in Texas as crew members, and we did everything they wanted us to do. Night flying, dropping practice bombs, shooting at tow targets with our .50 caliber machine guns. And we finished our crew training. We were ready to go to --

Gary Swanson:
Do you have a pretty tight crew? I mean there were nine other guys besides yourself in the crew.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
And you never met any of them until you went to Pyote, Texas, to form a crew.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, we -- I never realized, of course when you're a young kid like I was, and inexperienced, I thought my pilot was the greatest pilot in the world. Well, I never found out until later on he wasn't the greatest pilot. The co-pilot was a better pilot than the pilot was, but that's neither here nor there. But we had a pretty close bunch of guys. Well, I didn't get to know the first crew that I -- like I said before -- I, I trained, I started to train with one crew in Pyote, Texas. And after about two, three weeks of training, I was pulled off of that crew and sent up to Dalhart, Texas, where another bunch were, were training -- B-17 bunch. And I was made a tail gunner on another crew up there, and that crew became real close. We became very close. The bombardier was of Chinese descent. He was one of the greatest guys in the world. He's the only one still living in the original crew. He lives in Boston area. But other than that, we had a co-pilot, was Jack Armstrong the All-American boy. Real handsome, young, good looking guy. And we had -- like I said, our pilot was, he was extremely nervous. He used to shake a lot -- I, I, I, I couldn't get over that. But especially when we flew tight formation, he let the co-pilot fly. Because the co-pilot would stick the wing right into the other guy's wing flying off to our left or right. But, and the pilot used to get scared stiff. He'd say, "Pull away, pull away, pull away." But we, we did become quite close. We didn't last too long overseas as a crew because we got shot up pretty bad, but --

Gary Swanson:
Okay. When you left Dalhart, then, did you ship out to Europe?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. We went from Dalhart to Belleville, Illinois, Scott Field, and picked up a brand new airplane. About two or three days we were on our way over the Northern Route, what they used to call the Northern Route. We went up to Labrador, and then to Greenland, then to Iceland, and then into Scotland where they took the plane away from us to get, get it ready for combat. And it was assigned, of course, to some other -- whatever group needed it. Not necessarily -- it was not our plane to begin with.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We called it our plane, but it was -- you may be flying that plane one day and another one the next day.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm. So how long were you in, in England before you flew your first mission?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We were, let's see, we got to England in July, and I don't remember the dates, July. And we flew our first mission in September of '43. Yeah, that was to Vannes, France, V-A-N-N-E-S, was the first mission.

Gary Swanson:
Was your first mission a milk run?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yes. It was fairly easy. No fighters, we didn't see any fighters at all.

Gary Swanson:
They gave you an easy one to break in.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, maybe. I didn't, I didn't see it that way because there weren't too many crews over there then, and you didn't get many days off. If the weather was right, you were flying; period. And you were on a mission.

Gary Swanson:
So your first mission was to Vannes, France.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
Not, nothing too exciting --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No.

Gary Swanson:
-- in the sense that no fighter planes appeared.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We saw flak.

Gary Swanson:
Flak was light, probably.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, flak wasn't heavy at all; and I thought it was pretty easy.

Gary Swanson:
Do you remember the night before you flew your first mission and when they told you; tomorrow morning is your first mission, and you're not going to know until you get briefed where you're going to go.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No, I don't remember that.

Gary Swanson:
Did you sleep very well? Were you nervous?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, I used to wake up real easy anytime there was a mission, I remember that. I could hear, the see, the Charge of Quarter's feet coming through the door when he'd wake us up to go on a mission.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
But we had a sad experience two days later after our first mission. We got, we were ready to go on a mission on the 24th of September. And the -- before we could take off the, they got information that the target was overcast; and they scrubbed the mission. So we were released from out on the flight line. We went back to the barracks to get a little extra sleep, and then they woke us up and said we're going on a practice mission out over in North Sea. We're going to practice, that time they called it "radar flights," where you could see through the clouds; and that was something new for us. We didn't have any idea of what that was. But, anyhow. They hustle us out to the flight line, and our plane, the one we were assigned to was still sitting there with the bombs in the bomb bay, and they didn't want us to fly with those on a practice mission. So they, there was another plane across the, the revetment out there; and they said you go ahead and fly in that one. And we got in it, rushed into it, the whole crew did, and we got ready to take off. We found out we didn't have any guns on the, in the plane. So we took -- we were flying around over England and there was about 120 planes up that day in formation and we were doing this practice radar missions. And because we didn't have any guns the pilot said, "If you guys want to, you can sit up in the radio room, because it's warmer up there; and you won't get so cold." And we were sitting there trying to stay warm and talking to each other, of course. And all of a sudden we found out, or we heard over the intercom from our bombardier and pilot that we were being attacked by Me-109 fighters. And we, we couldn't do anything. We didn't have any guns or anything. So this, this one plane that attacked us hit the No. 3 engine, which is the inboard on the right side facing forward. And set it on fire. And then he raked the fuselage right above our heads, right where we were sitting it was all ripped apart. It ripped all the way. So the, the wing was on fire and the engine was on fire and the pilot said, "You better get out." So he, he ordered us to bail out. So nine of us bailed out. And he, he thought he could maybe take a chance. He, he was going down; but he thought he could skip it, skip on the water, and water would throw the fire out, he could fly the airplane back home. Well, he tried it and it didn't work, so he took it on in. And he got out of the airplane through the window on the left side, the pilot side, and got up and he saved his life by grabbing a couple of big oxygen bottles and hanging onto them. But, anyhow. The rest of us were all over the ocean out there in North Sea. And just happened there was a, a convoy, or not a convoy, but a squadron of British Motor Torpedo Boats going on their way to raid German shipping that night. There were six of them, and they saw what happened to us, to get hit, and they saw the parachutes come out. So this commander, Lieutenant Commander Bradford from the British Navy, he spread them out and then they start running down to pick up what they could. But to make a long story short, they picked up five of us alive. And they picked up one, one who had drowned. And one who had hit his head on the bomb bay doors on the way out and was almost decapitated. And then three of them they never found. So we had five out of ten of us were still living. And I was the last one to get picked up, and they almost left without me. I never found that out until just few years ago when this British commander we got he, he sent us -- or he gave to us when he were over to England on a visitation -- he gave us his report to the Admiralty of what had happened that day. And, and in it he said there was still one unaccounted for; that was me. And he was about to leave because he had to, he had to meet another group of British warships. He had only about 15 minutes to go, and he said he thought he wasn't going to be able to hang around and pick me up. But then he heard me hollering and so, like I said, it's good to have a big mouth once in a while. But he did find me over there and they threw a rope ladder down and two of his crewmen came down, one on each side of me, and tried to pick me up and bring me in, or help me in. And then that's the last I remember until I woke up down in the motor room; the engine room. And I was freezing. I had about eight or ten blankets over me, and they were rubbing my feet. So we, we went ahead with them to raid German shipping that night. So that was my experience in the British Navy. But about 4:00 a.m. they figured they couldn't launch a torpedo if they wanted to because the weather was so bad and the water was so rough, so they turned around and went back. We went back to Yarmouth, England, was where we landed at. And we briefly had a physical there. Then our squadron commander flew a B-17 over and picked us up and brought us back over to our base.

Gary Swanson:
So you lost, what, three or four members of your crew there?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Five.

Gary Swanson:
Five.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. One, one they, they picked up the body and he was drowning and they couldn't revive him. That was the navigator. And then the co-pilot, he bailed out of the nose hatch and the bomb bay doors were open and they felt that he'd hit his head on the bomb bay door. And they, but they did pick up his body. I don't know how they did that, but they found his body and picked it up; the motor torpedo boats did. And then the three that they never found, there was some stories about that. This, this Commander Bradford wrote up there that he saw he three bodies -- or they, his crewmen, saw three, three bodies come out that didn't open their chute. Now, that's debatable. Now, we don't know if they did or they didn't. Didn't make any difference because they, they were all gone.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
So --

Gary Swanson:
How high were you when you bailed out; do you remember?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Gee, I don't, I don't know. I thought I was around a thousand feet because --

Gary Swanson:
Okay, pretty low.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- I was the last one out. And I remember when I felt it tug and my chute opening up, my feet hit the water about the same time and I went down. Way down, down, down, down, and fought my way back up again. And I'm not a swimmer. And to this day, I don't like swimming. But I dog paddle pretty well, I guess, so that's the only way I kept alive. I, I went under a few times thinking this is it, there's nobody around me. I didn't see these boats down there. I didn't know they were around at all. And, but I'd go under and I'd come fighting back up again. But that was a terrible experience. But we lost some good men there. That's what I always thought if I ever wrote a book, the title would be "Why Me?" Why am I still here, and they're not here?

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. So that was after your first mission, even before your second mission?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. We didn't credit for this mission.

Gary Swanson:
Sure. Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Because it was a practice flight.

Gary Swanson:
How soon after that did they, did you get back in the plane?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We didn't fly until October. It was about, I'd say, about three weeks before.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And the pilot that they picked up, he was a nervous wreck then. And they didn't fly him for quite a while, and then he flew as a co-pilot with another crew later on.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Our engineer, our flight engineer, he couldn't -- he was the oldest of the crew, which means something about age, I guess. When you're young, you don't know any better so you don't get all shook up; but he, he was so nervous after that that he, he'd go out by the flight line and start throwing up because his stomach couldn't take it. But they worked with him for about three, four weeks and got him back on flight status. And then he ended up Prisoner of War because he was with another crew that went down. So then they made up another crew. They made up with some additional bodies for our crew, and we start flying as a crew again.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. Do you remember that second mission? I mean --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No.

Gary Swanson:
-- which -- were you really nervous and apprehensive after the --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I can't say that.

Gary Swanson:
-- bad experience?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I can't say I remember anything about it at all. Any different than anything else.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. So were there any other particularly eventful missions for you? You, you, you got your 25 in.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
And you came back home, and I think you mentioned earlier that the typical crew only lasted 15 missions.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right. Well, well, there was a couple of times -- one time on my 23rd mission, we couldn't get to a gear-down. And we couldn't crank it down. We couldn't -- there was a piece of flak up in the warm gear that had blown up in there. So we came in on our belly, and that was kind of exciting. But I thought the pilot did a good job. He landed it pretty well. And my final mission was probably the roughest of all. That was a March 6th, first big Berlin raid.

Gary Swanson:
March 6, '44.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right. And we sent up about 800 airplanes that day. Well, our group sent up 31, the 100th Bomb Group; and of the 31, 16 made it back. Fifteen went down and a lot of them were Prisoners of War. A lot of them were killed. But, that was my last mission. And I don't know if, I don't know if the crew would have flown with me any more because I was a nervous wreck, being the last mission. And I was not with my original crew then anyhow, I was a make-up because I had went in the hospital with pneumonia for -- and I missed three missions. And I had to make it up with another crew. And this crew, this was not their last mission; but it was mine. And I kept calling the engineer, flight engineer, after, after every, after pass -- after he passed by, by these fighter, German fighter planes -- and I'd call him up and I'd say, "Are the engines still running? What's going on up there? Is everything all right?" And they kept telling me, "Yes, yes. Forget about it." But I kept calling them anyhow. I don't know if they would have let me fly with them again.

Gary Swanson:
Well, it's understandable. That was your -- you knew that if you made it back safely from the 25th mission that that represented a Tour of Duty and you could go home.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's correct, yeah.

Gary Swanson:
And change jobs, but --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
So you must, you probably were a nervous wreck the night before and all during the time; weren't you?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well --

Gary Swanson:
Until you got back.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- not too bad. I wasn't too bad, I didn't think. Speaking of that, our, our, our replacement ball turret gunner was from Minneapolis; and he was the hardest guy to wake up to go on a mission. He slept as sound as could be, and we used to have a terrible time getting him awake. But he, he finished his missions and he sent back to the States. And when he was taking his physical, he had a mental breakdown. He went all to pieces and they discharged him because of that. But he must have been holding it all in all the time. But, but he was a cool dude while he was on flying status.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. I imagine once you got in that plane that you pretty much focused on what you had to do and --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
-- and didn't, didn't think about being scared even though you were.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No, that's right. Well I -- my stomach used to, acid used to act up every quite often when we'd first take off. Once, once we left England and hit European Theater, I mean Germany or France or whatever, you seem to settle down then and you started thinking about what, what you had to do. You just do it. I don't know if people are aware of it, but when we took off we had to get into formation before we could leave England. And it used to take two and three hours of circling around, way up, gaining altitude and getting into position so that we could, when we left the, when we left England we were at the altitude we wanted to bomb at. That we were in the correct positions. We used to use -- lose -- a lot of planes, several planes I should say, because it'd be foggy, clouds, they run into each other. It wasn't the Germans that knocked us down, then, it was the weather.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. But I can imagine if you put up 800 planes over Germany and they came from a number of different bases --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- and yet they had to get in --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
-- formation --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
-- it was a real task.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah and you had to make sure the fighters were there; fighter planes help.

Gary Swanson:
Did you have fighter plane escorts all during the 25 missions that you flew?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No. We did to a point. The Spitfires helped us when we first got there, but they couldn't go very far. They had very short range. They flew in about 35, 50 miles with us. And then they have to turn around and go home. And then we were on our own. And the 47s came along and they went a little further with us. And then the 51s came along with the drop tanks, and they, they could take us -- they run to our target and back again, but they run in relays. One might go halfway with you and then turn around, go back to gas up. And another group came in and took over for them; another fighter group.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
But they -- 51s really turned the war around for us.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. Because then you start having escorts and --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- and then they, I believe, they overwhelm the German Air Force with the P-51s; didn't they?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. Then about the time I finished up, too, they raised the missions to 30 before you could be relieved of Duty to go back to the States.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Then before -- and after that, just before the war ended over there, it was up to 35. As things got a little easier, that's the way they did it.

Gary Swanson:
As a, as a tail gunner did you have any, did your ship have any recorded kills?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, yeah.

Gary Swanson:
Of German fighter planes?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. I didn't personally. I put in for one one time and they found out there was another guy that was shooting at it at the same time from another plane and he was closer. They go by who was the closest one. Which is all right with me. I don't care. I don't care.

Gary Swanson:
Sure.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Just so we get back alive.

Gary Swanson:
Sure, exactly. You slung a lot of lead, though.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, yeah.

Gary Swanson:
I expect.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, we shot up a lot.

Gary Swanson:
Did you take flak on about every mission?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yep. Not too often that we came back without a couple holes of flak in it, at least.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm. Did you have to do any crash landings coming back any time?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No --

Gary Swanson:
Or, you lost engines__.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, there was a time that we, that we couldn't get the gear down. We came in on the belly.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. What did you do that -- because you were one of the early, early guys over there flying, you probably you flew often -- but when you weren't flying, what did you do? If you didn't have a mission tomorrow, what would you do today?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, I probably go over to the bowling alley or I go to the gym, work out a little bit with a basketball. Unfortunately when I was a kid I went to high school, I thought that was all there was in life was playing ball.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
But, I'd do that. Probably go up to Encino Club at night and have a beer. Have a hamburger and beer or something like that.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
But other than that, there wasn't too much to do down there in Pyote. The town of Pyote, I don't know, you've probably never been there; but it's, there was probably a hundred people in the town. And the airbase, which had a minimum of probably 3,000 people on it all the time. Because they, they trained a lot of crews down there. They would -- when I came back we were down and, and was assigned to Pyote as a gunnery instructor, aerial gunnery instructor. They had B-17s, of course, but then after about a month or two they took the 17s out and brought in B-29s and they brought in a portable school for us to go to. And we went to school there and then we started training B-29 crews and I did that all the way up until the end of the war.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. So once you got your 25 missions in, which was pretty quickly, really, in terms of time.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Mm-hmm.

Gary Swanson:
You came back and, and were a, a gunnery instructor there --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- back where you'd been with your crew at Pyote.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, that was the crew.

Gary Swanson:
How long did you do that?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, I did that from about June of '44 until the war was over in '45.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Until they sent me up to Camp McCoy to be discharged up in Wisconsin. I think I was up there in September of '44 -- or '45.

Gary Swanson:
'45.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
The war being over about May.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. Then you had to have, they discharged you according to how many points you had. You get so many points for medals, so many points for a year of service, and all that. Well, they sent, they told me to go up to McCoy to get discharged. And went up there and I was going through the whole discharge deal and I was, I was about one, one or two hours from being discharged and the guy was working my records and he says, "You haven't got enough points to be discharged right now," he said, "I don't know what to do with you. And I said, "Well, is there anybody I can talk to?" And he said, "Yeah, we got an Air Force Liaison man here, a major." So we went over to talk to this major and found out he was in 100th Bomb Group, so he was pretty nice to me. And he said to me, "Well, what do you want to do?" I said, "I want to go home." So he said, "I tell you what," he says, "I'll send you home. You're on, you're on military leave, you're not charged anything, you're on military leave. And you keep watching the paper back there in St. Paul, and when you see the points are down to where you have it" -- I don't remember how many there were -- "come on back down here and we'll discharge you." Which was exactly what I did. That was about, about 30 days. I was back on the job at the bank, so I take off for a few days to go back down to Camp McCoy to get discharged.

Gary Swanson:
When you were an instructor, first on B-17s and then B-29s.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Uh-huh.

Gary Swanson:
Did you find that your experience gave you a lot of credibility with the young guys who were coming through?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I think so. I think I did, yeah. We had, we had a lot of young kids who were real tough on the ground; but, boy, you get them up in the air and they weren't, they weren't that good.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
They were pretty smart-alecky on the ground.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
But then when they get up in the air and get them flying and you hit a few air bumps, they weren't that happy to be up there.

Gary Swanson:
Right. You knew what was going to happen, I'm sure, many times you --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, yeah.

Gary Swanson:
-- kind of said to yourself, well, let them find out the hard way.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. I always wondered if -- I did used to think about that quite a bit, flying the 29s all over the country up there. But I used to think about, will I have enough guts to bail out, again, after that first time. Fortunately I didn't have an opportunity to test it. But --

Gary Swanson:
When they -- just going back just a little ways, when you did bail out on that practice mission after your first mission, did you, you were probably so into the moment that you didn't think a lot about it? Just kind of went through the drill and did exactly what they told you to do?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Just exactly right. That's what happened. The, the training comes into your mind immediately when an emergency like that came up.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And I think it did for all of us.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. Okay, so we get you, you got discharged.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Uh-huh.

Gary Swanson:
Finally. And, boy, you'd done your time. You served 25 missions. You earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. So then what did you do? Okay, I'm now out of the Army. I'm --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I'm back at work at the bank, and I'm living the life of a --

Gary Swanson:
Yeah, 21 years old.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, yeah. Get a little wild at night once in a while. And then, and then I was down there -- whenever anybody in the bank needed any mechanical work done, they always came to the print shop and asked the guys in the print shop to do the work. And we were assembling a bunch of file cabinets and -- files for the company -- and that's where I met Shirley. I was laying on my back putting a couple bolts in on the floor, by the floor, and I saw this pair of legs go by and I thought, "Wow".

Gary Swanson:
She came over and stole your heart while you were on your back under the machine; huh?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. She worked in the, for the same company.

Gary Swanson:
In the bank.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
In St. Paul.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
She wasn't a printer, but she --

Gary Swanson:
Yes.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- she was a typist.

Gary Swanson:
Yes.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
So we met, we met there. After our first date, we never missed seeing each other. Day or night, one of the two, we got to see each other.

Gary Swanson:
So you were, and you were married about a year later; weren't you? On --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- August the --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Not too long.

Gary Swanson:
-- August the 3rd, 1946.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
'46; right.

Gary Swanson:
Fifty-seven big ones.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yep.

Gary Swanson:
Well, that's wonderful. So how long -- what have you been doing with the rest of your life since that time almost 60 years?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, trying to be a good father and a good husband. And I did, I got interested in, in -- oh, what would you call it? Doing work for people. It started out in the Jaycees. Joined the Jaycees, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, after we -- shortly after we were married. And doing community work. I enjoyed that a lot, and we did a lot of it. And, as a matter of fact, I'm still doing volunteer work. And --

Gary Swanson:
So what was your -- vocationally, as a career, what did you do?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, I stayed, I kept working as a printer there in the print shop until 1960. And a friend of mine in the Jaycees -- I thought he was a friend -- built a new, brand new roller rink in a small town that we were living in outside of St. Paul called North St. Paul. He built a brand now roller rink there, and he wanted me to be the manager. Well, I had no idea what a roller rink manager did for a living, but he talked went to work for this roller rink and it didn't work out too well. There wasn't a lot of money there. And I found out he wanted me to work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and all that. But, anyhow. I kept in touch with two or three good friends from the old bank and I was telling one of them about it one day and he says, "Well, why don't you come back to work at the bank?" And I said, "Do you think they'll take me?" And they said, "Sure." So they took me back, and I went back to work. In '63 I went back to work for the bank. And then we got into it, we were working for an affiliate of the First National Bank, we were making FHA Title I Home Improvement Loans all over the United States. And we had various branch offices all over. And I got into what they call a Collection Department up there and, which was charged with collecting the accounts. And then the branch manager in Kansas City was a good friend of mine from before World War II. We used to play ball together. And he was losing his credit manager, and so he called me and he said, "Bruce, why don't you come down here as credit manager?" And I said, "Well, I am, I'm not the guy that has the say-so; the personnel officer does." So he talked to him, and that's how I got down to Kansas City. He brought me down here. Then from there we went over three years -- or five years we were here. And then we went over to St. Louis for three years with the same job, same company. Then up to Des Moines, Iowa, where I was made a branch manager up there. And I was in Des Moines for seven years. We lived in Des Moines for seven years. And they sold the company out. And then we always liked Kansas City, Shirley and I did. And we had our oldest, which is the only boy, lived down here so we decided we wanted to go back to Kansas City. And put a feeler out and got a job down here in Kansas City, and worked at that until retired.

Gary Swanson:
So you finally retired then, when, what year?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
1987.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. 1987.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
'87; right.

Gary Swanson:
After serving your two and a half years in the Air Corps and getting out, I think you joined, you joined the Minnesota National Air Guard?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Air Guard; right.

Gary Swanson:
And you got recalled a couple times?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Got recalled in 1951 to the, for the Korean War. For 21 months we were in.

Gary Swanson:
Okay. What did you do in that job?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I was an armament man on P-51s. There was no place for a gunner on a P-51.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
So I was in the armament shop, and we spent 21 months there. We didn't get shipped any place. We stayed at home right there in the Twin Cities. Went to work every day out on the base, out at the airfield out there. And got, got out, went back to work again at the bank. And then in 1961 when I was working at the roller rink as manager there, we got a recall again to go back on active duty because the Communists had built the Berlin Wall. And all we had to fly then was C, C-5s -- C-97s, excuse me; cargo ships. The cargo ships we, all we did was fly. I say "we," not me personally; but the, the organization was flying freight all over the country, all over the world.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
After 11 months I was out of that. And during that time while I was back in, there was no place for armament man any place; because there wasn't any armament around. So I was a first sergeant; I made first sergeant out at the airbase squadron. And I ended up, that's when I retired as; first sergeant.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Senior Master Sergeant was my top rank then.

Gary Swanson:
So you spent 20 years in the military starting in World War II in the Air Corps.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
And then Korea. And then between Korea and Vietnam.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Mm-hmm.

Gary Swanson:
And that was --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
-- a great career and you spent many years working in the banking business and --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
-- in the --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
As a printer. I like, still like printing. I always did like printing. I couldn't make a fortune at it, that's for sure, but I enjoyed it.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. Well, that's good. That's certainly a distinguished military career and a, and a wonderful civilian career. How about your family? You mentioned that you and Shirley met while you had your nose under a machine, in a way of passing I guess you meant.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yep.

Gary Swanson:
And then you subsequently got married in the following year of '46. So you've been married 57 years. How about children; do you have children?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, we have six children. We have a boy, who was the first one, and then we had five girls after that. And it was, it was a lot of, a lot of things going on in our house at all the times. All the typical teenage and young children things.

Gary Swanson:
What's your boy's name and where does he live today and does he have a family?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. He, his name is Howard, he lives over here in Leawood, Kansas, and he's a CPA with Farmers; Farmers Insurance Company. And they have one boy who is 17 now; isn't he?

Shirley Alshouse:
Sam. Mm-hmm.

Gary Swanson:
And what's his name?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
His name is Sam; Samuel.

Gary Swanson:
Okay, so --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And that's the only boy we got; the only grandson we have in the area. We have two daughters in the Dallas area with children; both of them.

Gary Swanson:
And their names are and the children?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We have a daughter by the name of Patricia who's married to a fellow by the name of Jim Cross. And she has, she had two boys. And both -- one of them is works, is out of college; and another one is in college. And, let's see, the oldest one is working for -- what's the name of that__?

Shirley Alshouse:
Lockheed; Lockheed Martin.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, yeah. Lockheed Martin down in Fort Worth.

Shirley Alshouse:
What's his name?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
He's an engineer.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
A Purdue graduate in engineering. And then the next one is in school up in Washington. Up, upper Washington in Washington State.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And she, my daughter is, she's a training officer and coordinator for 911 in Denton County, Texas.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
She trains all the 911 operators and does all their PR work and things of that type.

Gary Swanson:
How about your other daughter in Dallas?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
The other daughter in Dallas is a graduate chiropractor, and she married a chiropractor that graduated with her. And they graduated from Cleveland Chiropractic College right here --

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- in Kansas City. And she's a stay-at-home mom now because they had two children. And she's a stay-at-home mom, and she'll probably go back to being a chiropractor when the kids are of age. And we have three daughters out in Dallas -- or Seattle area. There's one out there, the oldest one, out there works for a college out there. Pacific Lutheran College.

Shirley Alshouse:
University.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
University. Yeah, she's in the admissions office there. And she has two boys. One of them is going to college out there at the same school, and the other one is still in high school. Then -- that's Linda. Linda. The next one down is Cathi Ruth, she just graduated as a nurse, an RN, out in a, at a college out in Seattle. She works out there. She has one boy and a husband, of course. And then we have the youngest one who never married yet. And her name is Laurie, and she's, she's in management in a huge nursery out in Seattle.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
She's a graduate of an environmental college out there and --

Shirley Alshouse:
Evergreen.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Evergreen College; right.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
So, they all did well. We're happy we had so many, many happy, happy, happy days. Lots of great vacations together.

Gary Swanson:
Well, you had six children.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Six children.

Gary Swanson:
One in the area, your only son lives right down the street.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
And then your five daughters, two in Dallas and three in the Seattle area.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
How many grandchildren all together?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Just eight.

Gary Swanson:
Eight grandchildren. No great-grandchildren yet?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
None.

Gary Swanson:
You'll soon have a bunch of them, because those, those grandchildren are getting older.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
Well, that is a wonderful, wonderful family. Well, you had a great growing up.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, yeah.

Gary Swanson:
In a good, strong family.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yep.

Gary Swanson:
A great war experience. And that's --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I'm pretty lucky.

Gary Swanson:
You have been lucky. And a, and a wonderful career. And best of all, a tremendous family. Why don't we take a look at -- I know you got a picture of some of your memorabilia; let's take a look at it. So here's a shot of Bruce and some of his medals. The big one, of course, the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. He did 25 missions. Then a number of other medals. You certainly earned them. So here's -- is this, is this your crew?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
This is my crew, originally, my original crew that I trained in the States with and went overseas. And when we got shot down over the North Sea, five of these fellows didn't come back. And five of them did. And incidentally, the bombardier, who is right here, he is the only one that's still living; and he lives in the Boston area.

Gary Swanson:
You and the bombardier. And you're in the back?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I'm on the, on the --

Gary Swanson:
On the right; okay.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I'm on the back, right.

Gary Swanson:
As we look at it.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I can take, tell you their names if you need them. This one is Bill Humphrey, he was our flight engineer. This was Ralphe Schulte, he was our assistant flight engineer. This is Mike Gillen, who was our radio operator. And this is Francis DeCooman, who was our assistant radio operator. And this is Clyde Lovell, who was our armament man. And this is Bruce Alshouse, who is assistant armament man. This is John Gossage, our pilot. Bill Grier, our co-pilot. Don Nichols, our navigator. And T.J. Don, our bombardier.

Gary Swanson:
Your, your original ten-man crew, five of whom --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yes.

Gary Swanson:
-- perished in that training mission after your first mission. That was --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah. This, this, this fellow died, this fellow died, this one died, this one died, and our navigator died.

Gary Swanson:
Well, I know you got a good shot of your airbase out of which you flew.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Okay. You can see the, where the control tower is. And that's the control tower. Incidentally, there's a museum there. They made that in a museum now, and the control tower's been completely refinished.

Gary Swanson:
Have you been there, Bruce, since?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yes. Shirley and I went over there in 1988 and --

Shirley Alshouse:
To Thorpe Abbotts, yeah, Thorpe Abbotts.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- and in 1995.

Gary Swanson:
And that was the East Anglia area up --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yes.

Gary Swanson:
-- where we had many, many, many bases.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Oh, yeah, you couldn't hardly take off without running into some other plane.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
But --

Gary Swanson:
Thorpe Abbotts.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We have several Brits, we call them Brits, who were younger than we are. And when they, they decided they wanted to make a museum there -- and they do all the work -- they went ahead and got a lease from the government for 99 years for the, the property. And it's quite well-known now in England.

Gary Swanson:
Done by, for the 100th Bomb Group.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And we furnish the money --

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- normally, and they do the rest.

Gary Swanson:
That's wonderful.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And do all the good work. And they come -- we have a reunion every two years someplace in the United States, and they always send a contingent of Brits to come over for that too.

Shirley Alshouse:
__ this is the artist's conception of what it was during World War II.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
They give us a report on how many people going through the museum and how they're doing financially. And they're just real nice, good, good people.

Gary Swanson:
That's wonderful. Well, you got a good shot of the Bloody 100th.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Uh-huh.

Gary Swanson:
Yesterday and Today. What's this, Jim -- or Bruce? Excuse me.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
This, this is a picture given to Shirley and I by the VFW Post on a current Air Force base, which is just a few miles from where we were at called Mildenhall. And they just -- it's an artist's conception of the different planes that, that we flew.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
B-17 and the C-130 there, that's currently flying over there. And they call that the 100th also. They call it the 100th Wing, they don't call it --

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- Group. And we had a dedication. Shirley and I were over there in 1995 and they had a dedication at, at Thorpe Abbotts at our old base and we laid flowers there. And then this, this VFW Post gave me this, which is very nice I think.

Gary Swanson:
Well, the Bloody 100th - Yesterday and Today. That is very nice. So, Bruce, who are these three old guys?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, in, in 1988, summer of 1988, Shirley and I went to -- back to the old Air Force base, Thorpe Abbotts -- where I did my missions in. And we, we contact -- the Brits contacted the fellow in the middle there who was Commander Bradford. He was the commander of the six motor torpedo boats that picked us up out of the ocean. And they brought him to Thorpe Abbotts, and it was the first time we'd seen him since 1943. And the fellow on the left here, yeah, the fellow on the left is T.J. Don, which was our bombardier. And incidentally, he's the only one who is still living other than myself. And that's me on this left side, or the right side here.

Gary Swanson:
Isn't that something? The guy who picked you up out of the water after you parachuted out --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
-- 45 years sooner is, is right there with you.

Shirley Alshouse:
Not only that, they took us out on one of the boats that he commanded.

Gary Swanson:
That's wonderful.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, there's still motor torpedo boat going over there and so they brought us out and let him get up there and drive it. And then they told me, "We're going out 40 miles, Bruce, the exact spot where you were picked out of the ocean and we're going to throw you out over the water and see, and see if we can go through with this again."

Gary Swanson:
You just -- you say no, we've already practiced once. Don't do it again.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No way.

Gary Swanson:
Bruce, here's a tribute to you by the United States Army Parachute Team; the Golden Knights. What's the story on that?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
A few years ago we went to an airshow in Columbia, Missouri, where the Golden Knights were performing. And we had a big banquet one night there, and fortunately we were sitting right at the table next to all these nice, young gentleman from the Golden Knights. And we got to talking, and of course they got all interested and when I showed them my -- what really got them started was when I showed them my --

Shirley Alshouse:
Lucky --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No, not that one__. I have a, a membership in the -- oh, what is it?

Gary Swanson:
So you were sitting next to a table where the Golden Knights were.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Right.

Gary Swanson:
And you got them interested in what you had been doing.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, I told them I bailed out once and they said, "Oh, you did; did you?" And I said, "Yeah, it was from necessity. It wasn't for fun." So then I showed them my Caterpillar Club Card here, and they got crazy nuts over it. And that evening, we, we enjoyed talking to them. They were such wonderful kids. Gosh, I was really proud of the U.S. Army, I'll tell you that. And when we were leaving, this one gentleman said to me, says, "Stop over at the tent that we have out there on the flight line tomorrow when you come out to the airshow." So I said, "Sure." So we went over there, I'll be darned if they didn't bring out this beautiful plaque here, this picture of them, and present it to me. And I was really in one of the biggest excitement I had all year, that year, was getting that. Nice, nice bunch of boys.

Gary Swanson:
And they, they all signed it, "With warmest regards to Bruce Alshouse."

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
That is wonderful. Well --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, they did that.

Gary Swanson:
What -- and show me your B-17, we couldn't end this interview without a shot of the old Flying Fortress.

Shirley Alshouse:
You got it for your 75th birthday.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah.

Gary Swanson:
Yeah, let's take a look at the, the old Flying Fortress.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, I got a better one in another room.

Shirley Alshouse:
Oh, gosh.

Gary Swanson:
Well, that's all right. You've seen one, you've seen them all.

Shirley Alshouse:
Not really, that one --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
This one, this one here acts up too. Where is it?

Shirley Alshouse:
Right there.

Gary Swanson:
So we get the noise.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's actual noise.

Gary Swanson:
And so your duty station --

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Is that enough?

Gary Swanson:
That is, that's really cool. So there's Bruce from his duty station back as a tail gunner. He was making all that noise shooting those guns.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
That's right.

Gary Swanson:
What a great shot, Bruce.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, this is nice. Nice to have around.

Gary Swanson:
It's a nice memento of your service to our country so many years ago.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, the grandkids like to run it.

Gary Swanson:
Okay, Bruce, so what do we have here?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, this is a model of my original plane that we spent so much time in. We actually flew about 13 missions in this plane. It was called Laden Maiden was the name of it; L-A-D-E-N Maiden. And all the markings on it are exact same as they were on the original plane. And this was carved out of a single piece of wood and then finished off by an associate of the fellow who did the carving. And this was given to me by my children many years ago as a remembrance. And, let's see. Laden Maiden later went on was, was destroyed on December 30, 1943. And I saw it go down. We were in a different plane ahead of it. I saw it get hit, and I saw it go down. But Laden Maiden had quite a history. It had made the original Regensburg raid, where they raided German -- Regensburg -- and went down over the Alps to, to land in North Africa.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And then they loaded her up and brought her back. And at the same time they brought in Laden Maiden they brought little Mo, a little burro called Mohammed. And they fixed him up with an oxygen mask and brought him back to England. And he ran around our squadron area for several months. And then it became damp and cold in November, like it does in England all the time, and this burro couldn't take it. It died from pneumonia. So quite a story, quite a few stories written about Mohammed. For instance, the guy that was flying this plane at that time, his name was Cowboy Roane -- who was a good friend of mine and Shirley's -- and he was typical Texan. He didn't talk much, but he had that real squeaky drawl. And he, when he landed with the burro the, the tower always asked, "Do you have any wounded aboard?" So they could send down the, the ambulances and so on; the fire equipment. And Cowboy says -- drawl, with his drawl -- he says, "Yeah, I think I got a frozen ass." And by golly, they chased him all the way down the runway. That got to be quite a story in the 100th Bomb Group.

Gary Swanson:
How did the Laden Maiden get its name?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Laden Maiden got its name from the original pilot, was our squadron commander, he brought the plane over from, from the United States. And his wife was expecting a baby and so he named it Laden Maiden. And, like I say, we flew -- I mean Cowboy Roane flew it with his crew and he gave it up and we used it for another 13 missions and then on the next mission, it got destroyed. It was a good plane. That__ then they had to replace the whole wing for the next mission, which was the next day. So they worked all night to replace the wing. The plane flew perfectly, came back, holes in the wing. They had to replace the whole wing all over again.

Gary Swanson:
So here's a shot of Bruce and Shirley, married August the 3rd, 1946, on their wedding day. Where were you married, Bruce?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
We were married in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Gary Swanson:
St. Paul, Minnesota. It's been 57 years, going on 58. That's wonderful. Now how about, do you have a shot of your 50th? Okay, so here's a shot taken on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. That would have been in 1996. And let's take a look at their children.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Want their names?

Gary Swanson:
This, this picture was taken a few years ago, but it's the whole family.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
This is the family. This is my son Howard and wife Kathleen and grandson Samuel. And then this is my daughter Patricia and her husband Jim and their two boys, Grant and Nathan. And this is my daughter Linda and her husband Steve and their two boys, and there's Alexander there and Nicholas. And then the next one is our daughter Cathi and her son --

Shirley Alshouse:
Drew.

Gary Swanson:
Drew.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
-- Drew. Thank you, I need a little assistance. And our daughter Luanne and her husband Bob and her daughter Kellie and son Scott. And this is our, our little youngest, that's Laurie Jane.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm. Is that -- have there been any births since that photo was taken?

Bruce E. Alshouse:
No.

Shirley Alshouse:
Well, there was 1996 --

Gary Swanson:
That's the whole family --

Shirley Alshouse:
-- __her baby --

Gary Swanson:
-- taken seven years ago.

Shirley Alshouse:
-- Michael.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Yeah, oh, that's right.

Gary Swanson:
Well, let's get a shot of you and Shirley now and see how both of you look after 57 years.

Shirley Alshouse:
Oh, gosh.

Gary Swanson:
So here's a shot of Bruce and Shirley married 57 years on August the 3rd, working on 58th. A wonderful family of six children. You had a great military career, a great civilian career, a tremendous family. Life has been very good for Bruce.

Shirley Alshouse:
And very blessed.

Gary Swanson:
Bruce, do you have any thoughts, one last thought, on the responsibility of a young man or a woman to serve his/her country in times of need.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Well, from my own generation I think we took it for granted that we were going to go into service, because we all were very patriotic people. And there's a lot of people that enlisted, period, who never did sign up for the draft. And I think, I think we have to get back to those ways. And the fellows right now, the fellows that are over there in Iraq just, they got my backing a hundred thousand, a hundred thousand percent. And I, I just hope everything comes out right for us. But, no, I, I can't imagine a people not arising to the occasion if, if the United States was ever attacked or anything. I just can't imagine it.

Gary Swanson:
Mm-hmm.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
And I'm glad I did, I'm glad I did it. And I have no regrets whatsoever.

Gary Swanson:
Well, we're glad you did too. Bruce, I want to thank you very much for this interview, and I want to thank you for what you did for our country.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
Thank you.

Gary Swanson:
You're welcome.

Bruce E. Alshouse:
I appreciate that.

MEMO 2:

BRUCE E. ALSHOUSE
12/ 8/1923 – 9/29/2015

Bruce was born, to Ruth (Mayhall) and Frank Alshouse, the youngest of four sons. He was raised in Wyoming, MN, where, at the age of 6, he helped his family by selling eggs and produce at a road side stand. The family moved to St. Paul where Bruce attended Johnson HS, lettering in both baseball and basketball. His team won the state basketball championship his senior year when he broke the game’s tie in OT with a 3 point shot.
In 1942, at 18, Bruce enlisted in the Army Air Corp.  As part of the 8th Air Force’s Bloody 100th Bomb Group he served as a B-17 Tail Gunner and flew 25 missions. On one, memorable “practice” mission, his plane was shot down over the North Sea. He and 4 other crewmen were rescued by a British ship running recon, the rest lost at sea. He continued to serve his country after the war in the Minnesota Air National Guard.  
Home from the war, he went to work as a printer at 1st Nat’l Bank of St. Paul, where he met and soon married the love of his life, Shirley Waldron. They built their first home in North St. Paul, MN. Shirley and Bruce’s love remained true for 61 years of marriage, until she passed in 2008.  They were blessed with 6 children: Howard (Kathleen), Patty (Jim), Linda, Cathi (Tom), Luanne (Robert+) and Laurie (Lee); 10 grandchildren and 3, soon to be 4, great grandchildren. Also loved as family were Dennis Cross and Chris Lynch, and many nephew and nieces.  
Bruce’s work as a loan officer took the family to homes in Kansas City, MO, St. Peter’s, MO and Des Moines, IA - each a place to gather new, treasured friends.  Eventually, he and Shirley moved back to settle and retire in KCMO.
Civic minded and generous of heart, Bruce was a leader in many civic groups including the Jaycee's, Kiwanis and Lions. He volunteered for more than 20 years at KC’s Seton Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital.  He proudly served as President of the 100th Bomb Group and remained very active at their reunions. He and Shirley were avid Big Band and Square dancers. 
After Shirley passed away, Bruce briefly lived independently until he developed Parkinson's and moved to Washington State to reside with his daughter Cathi and her husband Tom, who was Bruce’s primary caregiver. He lived in the comfort of the country on the Olympic Peninsula, with frequent visits from his family, as well as the company of 3 dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, and goats. He taught all his children to hold the values of compassion, kindness, honesty and patriotism close to their hearts, in addition to instilling a great work ethic. We all miss him dearly, but take joy in knowing he and Shirley are together again, dancing to Glen Miller.


If desired, a contribution to 100th BG Foundation, www.100thbg.com may be made 
in Bruce’s memory.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 Bruce E. Alshouse - "Flak Leave" - Bournmouth, England 

Back of photo above with name tag, laden maiden and personal shot

Lt Don Moede Crew Photo 

Photo Id for Don Moede crew Photo 

Bruce Alshouse is top right.

DAMIFINO 230259 XR-N on Mission to Trondheim, Norway in July 1943. Lt Gossage flew 230259 on Sept 24, 1943 practice mission and was shot down.  (100th BG Archives) 

Donald H. Moede Crew; Following airmen are L-R Standing: UKN, Michael J. Gillen, William S. Humphrey, Bruce E. Alshouse,Art Gibbons, Theodore J. Don, Don H. Moede and one member kneeling identified as Earl R. Williams (far right) .   Detailed Information   (100th Photo Archives)

349th BS Lt John Gossage Crew,  Bruce Alshouse, Theodore Don,   

 Bruce E. Alshouse with part of his 349th crew Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Air Sea rescue report for Sept 24,1943. Lt Gossage Crew

Story of Gossage crew rescue by RAF Air Sea Rescue Part1

ASR story of Lt Gossage Crew. Part 2

Ais Sea Rescue story of Lt Gossage Part 3 

 T. J. Don and Bruce Alshouse - Gravesite of Wm. (Bill) Grier - Cambridge 

 Don and Alshouse with Commander Bradford, Royal Navy. The Commander rescued Alshouse and Don from the North Sea. 

 Shirley & Bruce Alshouse, Commander and Mrs Bradford, T. T. & Kay Don at Thorpe Abbotts in 1988 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

Crew 3

ID: 65