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LT  Ernest AITA

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: NAV
SERIAL #: STATUS: CPT
MACR:

Comments1: 6 JUN 44 FALAISE

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

LT EDWARD P. NOORDYK            P  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
LT JOHN R. CREIGHTON             CP  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
LT ERNEST AITA                  NAV  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
LT DAVID M. BAILEY               BOM  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
T/SGT NORMAN L. BROWN       ROG  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
T/SGT JAMES A. MEADE           TTE  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
S/SGT GILBERT L. LANGDON     BTG  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
S/SGT ROY W. BYERS             LWG  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
S/SGT JOHN F. HIMPEL            RWG  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES
S/SGT FRANCIS R. GARDNER       TG  CPT 07 JUN 44  NANTES

350TH SQDN.. CREW IS SHOWN AS CREW #17 ON THE COMBAT CREW ROSTER OF 24 MAY 1944; THE DATE THEY
JOINED THE 100TH IS UNKNOWN..  Crew joined late Feb or early March 1944 and flew "BLACK CAT 13"

S/Sgt Himpel credits his pilot for the whole crew flying 25 missions without any problems. In his words " He was strictly by the book. Everyone was supposed to do their job. No excuses. No short cuts." He told me that after 20 missions they got orders to fly a night training with a bunch
of new crews. Everyone showed up at the plane except the pilot. They eventually went back to their barracks and found out the pilot had
refused to fly. "Apparently he went to Major Kidd and told him he wasn't risking his crew with a bunch of rookies in the middle of the night."

Aircraft 42-32009 was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group, 350th Squadron (LN-X) on February 14, 1944. It was MIA over Brussels on July 28, 1944.  It was involved in a Mid Air collision with AC 42-97621   Flying 009 that day was 2nd Lt Albert Spear, the crew had only been there a few days when this mid air occurred.  Eight men were KIA with only the Waist Gunner surviving the mid air.  Wesly Stansbury was flying 42-97621.  009 was an OD & Gray B-17G model. It has been said that this plane was called Buffalo Gal, this is not correct, this aircraft was called "Black Cat 13".


Date Crew Nbr Mission Nbr Last Name Initial Rank Position Aircraft Nbr Target
3/16/1944 17 130 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" AUGSBURG
3/17/1944 17 131 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" MUNICH
3/18/1944 17 132 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" MUNICH
3/19/1944 17 133 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 701                             MARQUIS, MIMMOYEQUES
3/23/1944 17 135 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" BRUNSWICK/ WAGGUM
3/28/1944 17 138 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 97095   NO NAME         CHATEAUDUN/ EVREUX
3/31/1944 17 139 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" LUDWIGSHAFEN/RECALLED
4/1/1944 17 140 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" LUDWIGSHAFEN
4/7/1944 17 141 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" QUACKENBRUCK (SCRB)
4/8/1944 17 142 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" QUACKENBRUCK
4/9/1944 17 143 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" KRZESINKI (POSEN)
4/10/1944 17 144 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" RHEIMS/ CHAMPAGNE
4/11/1944 17 145 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" POSEN / ROSTOCK T.O.
4/12/1944 17 146 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 97621                         SCHEUDITZ (RECALL)
4/13/1944 17 147 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" AUGSBURG
5/20/1944 17 119 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009  "BLACK CAT 13" BRUSSELS
5/23/1944 17 120 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 97095   NO NAME         TROYES
5/24/1944 17 121 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 31049   SUPERSTITIOUS ALOYSIOUS  BERLIN
5/25/1944 17 122 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009   "BLACK CAT 13" BRUSSELS
5/27/1944 17 123 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 102695                         STRASBOURG
5/28/1944 17 124 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009   "BLACK CAT 13" MAGDEBURG
5/30/1944 17 126 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009   "BLACK CAT 13" TROYES
5/31/1944 17 127 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 102695   NO NAME          OSNABRUCK
6/2/1944 17 128 NOORDYK E.P. LT P   102695  NO NAME           BOULOGNE
6/4/1944 17 130 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009     "BLACK CAT 13" BOULOGNE
6/5/1944 17 131 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009     "BLACK CAT 13" BOULOGNE(CHG)
6/6/1944 17 -132 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" FALAISE
6/6/1944 17 -132 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" OUISTREHAM
6/7/1944 17 -135 NOORDYK E.P. LT P 32009    "BLACK CAT 13" NANTES (BRIDGES)


# DATE TARGET A/C #  A/C NAME
1    3/16/1944 AUGSBURG 32009 BLACK CAT 13
2    3/17/1944 MUNICH 32009 BLACK CAT 13
3    3/18/1944 MUNICH 32009 BLACK CAT 13
4    3/19/1944 MARQUIS, MIMMOYEQUES  
5.   3/23/1944 BRUNSWICK/ WAGGUM 32009 BLACK CAT 13
6.  3/28/1944 CHATEAUDUN/ EVREUX 97095 NO NAME
     3/31/1944 LUDWIGSHAFEN (RECALLED) 32009 BLACK CAT 13
7  . 4/1/1944 LUDWIGSHAFEN 32009 BLACK CAT 13
      4/7/1944 QUACKENBRUCK (SCRB) 32009 BLACK CAT 13
8.   4/8/1944 QUACKENBRUCK 32009 BLACK CAT 13
      4/9/1944 KRZESINKI (POSEN) RECALLED) 32009 BLACK CAT 13
9.   4/10/1944 RHEIMS/ CHAMPAGNE 32009 BLACK CAT 13
10. 4/11/1944 POSEN / ROSTOCK T.O. 32009 BLACK CAT 13
11. 4/12/1944 SCHEUDITZ (RECALL) 97621 
12. 4/13/1944 AUGSBURG 32009 BLACK CAT 13
13. 5/20/1944 BRUSSELS 32009 BLACK CAT 13
14. 5/23/1944 TROYES 97095 NO NAME
15. 5/24/1944 BERLIN 31049 SUPERSTITIOUS ALOYSIOUS
16. 5/25/1944 BRUSSELS 32009 BLACK CAT 13
17. 5/27/1944 STRASBOURG 102695 NO NAME
18. 5/28/1944 MAGDEBURG 32009 BLACK CAT 13
19. 5/30/1944 TROYES 32009 BLACK CAT 13
20. 5/31/1944 OSNABRUCK 102695 NO NAME
21. 6/2/1944 BOULOGNE 102695 NO NAME
22. 6/4/1944 BOULOGNE 32009 BLACK CAT 13
23. 6/5/1944 BOULOGNE 32009 BLACK CAT 13
24. 6/6/1944 OUISTREHAM 32009 BLACK CAT 13
25. 6/6/1944 FALAISE 32009 BLACK CAT 13
26. 6/7/1944 NANTES(BRIDGES) 32009 BLACK CAT 13


REPLY TO: Rinardm@bresnan.net
SUBMITTER: Mark Rinard
EMAIL: Rinardm@bresnan.net
PURPOSE: Report a change of address
INTEREST: I am the veteran's relative
  
VETERAN: Gilbert L. Langdon
DATE OF DEATH: 3/15/2004 
FAMILY CONTACT: 970-824-9394 
  
OLD ADDRESS: 
NEW ADDRESS: 
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 
  
MESSAGE: 2nd Lt. Edward P. Noordyk was my fathers poilt. You show them infront of the Mary Ann. They flew in the Black Cat 13. They flew 30 missions. I have his lucky bastards cert. 
I miss him very much.
Mark Rinard

****************************************************************************************************************
To: Col. Bill E. Thompson,     5th May 1995
 993 Blue Ridge Road, 
 Wetumpka, AL #36092-4766

RE: Your Letter of the 2nd May

My dear Colonel:

Your letter of the second and its contents was both a revelation and startling to this old man. Up 'til now, I had not seen the article ("Splasher Six") to which you referred and were kind enough to include in your epistle. First, permit me to correct several errors which appeared in the article pertaining to yours truly. From there, I shall reply as much as I can to your question. Incidently, although I am an old fogy, my memory is intact. In  my retirement I have turned to writing, novels in a sense, and have written a novel entitled "The Endangered Race" that has within its contents true incidents that happened during my tenure with the One Hundreth Heavy Bombardment Group. So far, no luck in selling any of the novels, six to date, and I remain just an old frustrated novelist.

Our crew, commanded by Lt. Noordyk, was the first crew in the iOOth that completed thirty missions intact. There is a photograph, which highlights this, and it hangs in the 100th Heavy Bombardment Group's museum. You, I'm sure, must know of the museum located adjacent to the Cleveland International Airport. One may unKderstand why the merital status is so declared upon discovering that none of us was ever wounded. A miracle indeed, when one views  the extreme damages our plane received in more than twenty of the thirty missions that were flown. The photograph with the graphics was personally presented by our former bombardier,  David Bailey, who is alive and well and living in Battle Creek, Michigan. Now to the first correction: I was the only one assigned to the "Parrot Ship". The others awaited reassignment at Thorpe Abbotts. Second correction: I didn't speak to General LeMay directly about my assignment to the "Parrot Ship". It was the Flight Surgeon who approached General LeMay. The Flight Surgeon, who had given me the usual physical exam after I had flown quite a few hours in the "Electronic Ship", questioned my new assignment. He thought that the Command had made an error in assigning me to missions over enemy territory when I had already met the Air Force requirements and limitations on overseas combat duty. I was sent back to the States, far ahead of my former crew members, and assigned as an instructor at Drew Field in Tampa, Florida.

Now for the plane with the lucky black cat straddling the number thirteen: Our crew was assigned the bomber, which already had the figure painted on it, the second day of our arrival at Thorpe Abbotts. We were not given the plane that we had flown over from the States. We had a photograph taken the same day with only eight of the crew. I don't remember where the other two were at that time. Later, we had a second, much clearer,  almost perfect photo taken with just a few crewmembers ambling about. Both photos clearly show the black cat and the yellow thirteen. Copies of both are currently in the hands of your friend, Ray Bowden, in England. He, also, has other photos of the plane showing damage. One photo, very interesting, is a copy showing where the flak had gone completely through the wing. On that mission, we had to drop to about twelve hundred feet and thought we were doomed but this changed as we saw fliers on the ground waving to us. We assumed that the Germans thought we were one of the U.S.bombers which they had captured and used frequently to infiltrate our formations and we were on the way back to a German airfield. Why, Only God knows. We had only two engines working. When we were about five miles out, the third engine quit. Rosenthal told us blankly that we were lucky bastards. Ray has a clear photo of the plane showing the severe damage. Incidently, he also has a log of all the missions our crew made. In addition, it was my practice to have David Bailey give me a pin and tag from one of the bombs he removed while arming it. I then would place the date, mission destination and what type missile we were carrying, on the tag. I still have them and Ray has photographs of the tags.

I cannot imagine why there were so many B-17s with the black cat and the yellow 13. I was shocked when I read your letter. I do not be-
lieve that the plane in the photos you provided with the article is our plane; we were still flying ours when the mission to Russia and the Ploesti oil fields came about. However, I examined closely the photos in the article you sent me. I noticed where the cat was positioned in reference to the windows and it's amazing! The cat is in the exact location where ours was. One thing though, the arch or lower curve (the cat's tummy) in my photo has a much more perfect or smoother line then that shown in the photos you provided. On theirs, it looks like the painter erred…sort of slipped on the curve.

Finally, I cannot help you in providing you the names of the crew in the ill-fated last mission of our old plane. I was not at Thorpe Abbotts when it did happen. Sorry, Colonel. Incidently, Ray has a theory on this. He tracked down losses immediately following our crew's last mission…D-Day and found a record of a plane lost which could have been our old lucky one.I have no idea how the story got to "Splasher Six" since I have had no contact with anyone associated with the publication, nor do I receive it. It is for this reason I have not responded earlier in regard to making the corrections I mentioned above. My thanks to you for bring- ing this to my attention. Good luck. If you may need me for anything wherein I may possibly contribute something of any nature, please  do not hesitate to ask.
Sincerely,
Ernest Aita
20211 Woodside Avenue,
Harper Woods,
Michigan #48225
(313) 886-5049


 Col. Bill E. Thompson,   15th September 1995
 993 Blue Ridge Road,
 Wetumpka, AL #36092-4766

Dear Bill,

Your letter of the eleventh was received with great interest. The tenacious hold you have shown in pursuing the "Black Cat and Yellow
Thirteen" project is quite admirable. In reference to the photo submitted by one "Rick Rock", I, unfortunately, have never heard of the man. However, you wrote that one Ralph Horne ditched his aircraft "13-42-97607-XR-H" into the Baltic Sea on a raid on Berlin on the 19th of May, 1944. First, it could not have been our plane since we flew it through June the Sixth, D-Day. Secondly, I kept a detailed record of all the bombing missions made by the "One- Hundreth" during my tour of duty. Incidently, I also have a pin and tag taken from one of the missiles we dropped on each mission.
The tag bears date, target, and type of missile we dropped. My log shows no mission to Berlin on that date. On May 13th we targeted the
marshalling yards in Osnabruck, Germany and carried 500 pounders. On the 14th, we were grounded, probably by bad weather. The very next
mission was to Troyes, France and we bombarded the target with one thousand pounders. I have enclosed two photos showing the aircraft we used in our tourof duty. Please return them. Included is a photo sent to me by Ray Bowden showing a B-17 with a Black Cat astance on the number 13. If you look carefully at the shape of the cat and compare it to the one on our plane, you will see there is a difference. They are not one and the same.

Regretfully, I cannot remember our plane's serial number. In fact, I never at any time considered placing it into my memory bank. Before I forget to tell you, I should mention that we acqired our plane at Thorpe Abbotts. The plane we flew across the Atlantic, a brand new one, was confiscated by the Operations Officer. We knew it would be, when we left Goose Bay, enroute to Iceland.

Sinclerly

Ernest Aita
*************************************************************************************************************

Died: Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Age: 86

Harper Woods resident Ernest Aita, 86, died Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007, at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit.

Mr. Aita was born June 21, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pa. to Joseph and Michelina Aita. 

He attended the University of Pittsburgh and was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a navigator on B-17s in the 100th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Force.
He worked at Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh where he served in the atomic power division. 
His responsibilities included serving as the purchasing manager for the U.S.S. Nautilus, the first atomic-powered submarine, and for the first nuclear power plant in the United States. Mr. Aita also was a business owner having owned Curtis Mathes Home Entertainment Center in the village shopping district in the City of Grosse Pointe. 
From 1984 to 1990, he owned Park Video in Grosse Pointe Park.
His interest was his family. He loved spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mr. Aita is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marguerite June Aita; sons Gary (Gloria), Jeffrey (Carol), and Kevin (Gilda); grandchildren Tammy Meyer, Mandy Moll, Justin Aita, John Aita, Katie Houpt, Lina Ann Aita and Alison Aita; great-grandchildren Holly, Johnny and Jimmy Meyer, Silas, Phinehas and Amos Moll, and A.J. Houpt.
He also is survived by his sister, Patrice Benjamin.
A memorial service was held Nov. 20 with interment at Glen Eden East Cemetery, Macomb Township.
Memorial contributions may be made to Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4444 Radnor, Detroit, MI, 48224.

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 30