Lt. Col. Harry F. Cruver

 

 

 

  100th Bomb Group C.O. (02 Aug 45 - Deactivation)
Previous Commander
 

Contents:
1.  Commendation     03 January 1945
2.  Honor Roll Crew List   March 1945
3.  Letter from E.C. Smith
4.  Autobiographical Data
5.  Letter from Gene Greenwood
6.  Misc

CONFIDENTIAL
HEADQUARTERS 3RD AIR DIVISION
Office of the Commanding General
APO 559

GENERAL ORDERS NO. 4 1/3/1945

COMMENDATION

The 351st Bombardment Squadron (H), is commended for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy during the period 31 July to 2 November 1944. During this period, the squadron participated in fifty-two (52) consecutive missions without the loss of a single crew or aircraft. On these missions operations, more than 400 aircraft were dispatched and only eleven (11) aircraft aborted. Eight hundred and forth three (843) tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped on enemy targets which included Venlo, Hamburg, Berlin, Ludwigshaven, Bremen, Madgeburg, Munster, Merseburg; as well as Szolnok, Hungary and the supply mission to Warsaw, Poland. Although many of the aircraft returned from these missions with extensive battle damage, highly efficient maintenance crews expeditiously repaired the crippled bombers and enabled the courageous airmen to resume operations in the shortest possible time. The skill in operational and planning and the courage displayed by the combat crews in all attacks have not only insured the high degree of efficiency necessary to establish this record, but have also resulted in a material contribution to the successful prosecution of the war against the enemy.

This splendid teamwork, courage and devotion to duty displayed by the  Officers and Men of the 351st Bombardment Squadron reflect the highest credit upon themselves and the Unites States Army Air Forces:

By command of Major General Partridge:

N.B. HAROLD
Brigadier General, U.S.A.
Chief of Staff
OFFICIAL:
(SIGNED)
F.E. FITZPATRICK
Captain, Air Corps
Acting Asst. Adjutant General


HONOR ROLL CREWS:
Mar-45
3RD AIR DIVISION
8TH AIR FORCE

Date Target Group
9-Mar FRANKFORT 95TH
12-Mar SWINEMUNDE 95TH
12-Mar SWINEMUNDE 100TH-A
14-Mar SEELZE 95TH-A
14-Mar SEELZE 100TH-C
22-Mar ALHORN 100TH-A
22-Mar ALHORN 100TH-B
22-Mar ALHORN 100TH-C
23-Mar UNNA 100TH-A
23-Mar UNNA 100TH-B
23-Mar UNNA 100TH-C
31-Mar ZEITZ 95TH-B
31-Mar ZEITZ 95TH-C

There are only two pilots appearing more than once on the March 1945 Honor Roll Crew List, Lt Col. Harry F. Cruver of the 100th and Lt Col. Cumbaa of the 95th


Letter  to Harry F. Cruver, his old Squadron Commander,  from Edgar C. Smith dated 27 Dec 1993

Dear Harry;

These are the only pictures I have of your plane, not very good, English film and developing. I have a good picture of Lt Klinikowski and his crew taken so the nose art shows. The plane is Mason & Dixon. The picture was taken when I was a member of the ground crew. Do you remember the 300th mission party? You poured a a canteen cup of beer on Dewy Christopher's (well known 100th Flight Chief...pw)  and about fifteen minutes later he walked behind you, lifted your cap and poured a cup of beer on your head. Then at midnight you came through the barracks turning over all the beds that had anyone in them, of course I was in bed and you dumped me, you sure were having a good time.  Memories..  As Ever Edgar C. Smith


HARRY F. CRUVER    Autobiographical Highlights

MILITARY ( I938 - 1966)

1.  12/31/40 Appointed flying cadet after two (2) years active duty with the Regular Army, 2nd Infantry Division as 2nd Lt Lieutenant. (General Eisenhower was then a Lt. Col.)

2.  1/21/41  First military solo, PT - 17 (Stearman) Jackson, Mississippi Airport.

3.  3/15/41  Altercation with service station attendant, Jackson. MS: Primary Commanding Officer sends letter to Basic Flight Training Commanding Officer at Gunter Field, Alabama.

4.  3/15/41 - 6/1 /44  Gunter Field room confinement and "tours" (predetermined amount of time spent walking, usually wearing a parachute for a minor infraction) galore (100 plus hours); walking marathon and room confinement related to item No #3 above. LUPER (Notorious Cadet Commandant!: "Mr. Cruver, your  commission is in jeopardy." CRUVER: "Sir, please tell where Jeopardy is and I'll take a cross-country and pick it up." Still more demerits and tours for hurling saber 25 yards while presenting arms at LUPER's Farewell Parade at Gunter Field.

5.  6/1/41 - 7/16/41  Additional tour accumulations at Maxwell Field before and after commissioning. Curfew violation and other minor incidents resulted in continuation of walking while classmates returned home to show off wings and gold bars.

6. 12/6/41 - 12/7/41  First solo cross-country as pilot to Fort Ogelthorpe, Georgia. Pearl Harbor is announced.

7. 7/7/43   Executed super "buzz job" on home town of Eagle, Wisconsin and environs.

8. 12/31/44  Flew 23 missions over Germany in B-!7's. Twelfth sortie flown just four years to the day after flying cadet appointment. (See item #I) Led the 100th Bomb Group on a major raid to Hamburg, Germany with heavy anti-aircraft and intense German fighter opposition. After "bombs away", all ammunition was expended and remaining planes were "sitting ducks" at the 90 mph ground speed (caused by extreme head wind conditions) and no friendly fighter support. Destroyed 23 of the attacking enemy aircraft but lost twelve (12) of the thirty-eight (38) B- 17's and one hundred eleven (111) airmen. Two B- 17 aircraft locked together and the pilots on one aircraft (Rojohn) maneuvered to a safe landing near the North Sea coast, piggy-back fashion. (See Glen Rojohn and William MacNab files)...pw

9. 1959 - 1966  Served for eight years at the Pentagon with the Air Staff and with the office of the Secretary of Defense.

Military Service Summary

1939 - 1940  
Active Duty, US Army (Infantry) 2nd and Ist Lt.

1940 - 1941  
Flying cadet - Pilot Training (Gross Cadet)

1941 - 1944  
Pilot Instructor, Training Supervisor -- Director of Flying

1944 - 1945  
Combat flying (B-17 Bomber); Became Squadron (351st) and Group (l00th) Commander.

1946 - 1949
Air Staff Officer - Headquarters USAF (United States Air Force) Personnel Policy Planning.

1950 - 1951
Student - Harvard Graduate School of Business

1951 - 1954
Director of Budget-United States Air Forces, Europe.

1955 - 1957
Comptroller, Western Air Defense Force.

1958
Student - Air War College.

1959 - 1961
Air Staff Officer - Headquarters USAF Personnel Programming.

1962
Department of Defense Military Compensation Study.

1963 - 1966
Office of the Secretary of Defense - Manpower/ Personnel Staff Planning.

1966
Retired: Twenty-eight (28) years of service, Fifteen (15) years in grade of Colonel.

POST MILITARY (1966 - PRESENT)

10. 1966 - 1982
Employed by various "beltway bandits" consulting firms in the Washington, D.C. area.

11.   1983 - 1986  
Migrated to California for four (4) years. Organized a company with my younger son and installed fifty ($50) million dollars of electric wind turbine generators near Palm Springs, CA. (These are conspicuous from the air and are often mentioned by aircrews on the public address system in airliners...pw)

12.   1987 - 1989  
Busy with local Rotary Club, funerals and reunions. Reunions: University of Wisconsin('38); 41-F Flying School ('41); Harvard Business School ('51); Air War College ('58). Focusing on 1989 1st reunion of 41-F Class after forty-eight (48) years.

Addendum by Paul West, 100th Group Historian:

1989
Col. Cruver remains active in the 100th Bombardment Group (H) Association and is presently writing a statistical history of his old Squadron, the 351st. When you meet him it will become obvious his history will expand to at the least the entire 100th. Both commissioned and enlisted knew he would listen to their ideas, meritorious ones were instantly implemented, regardless of the rank of submitting personnel. He is said to have followed the age old axiom of good commanders, "Praise in public and Reprimand in private" without exception. Do not expect to talk one on one with him at the 100th Bomb Group reunions, he will be surrounded by his old comrades..


Letter to Harry F. Cruver dated  06 Nov 1993 from G. Gene Greewood, 351st Pilot:

Dear Harry: Excuse the word processor, but my handwriting is worse than yours.  Anyway thank you for your great letter and photo of Frances and me. Your flattering remark is noted. In that regard you might be interested in what I did post WWII. I kept track of your career, so I know what you did--also, Jeffrey and Sutterlin. I thought I wanted to be an airline pilot, so I earned the licenses, but when TWA offered me a job, I soon realized that I wanted an Air Force career.  I'm so thankful I did, for I had a beautiful and rewarding career and retired in July l975 as a Colonel. Then I spent four years as Dean of Administration and Finance for a college here in Florida; then I spent about 10 years as a real estate broker. Now, I'm fully retired and perform volunteer work for the city and county governments. In fact I just completed chairing the search committee for a new county administrator. My most rewarding volunteer job is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the local Community College. The Air Force gave me a superb education; graduate school and War College so now its pay-back time.

Now, about flying "FRANCES MARK' AND PHIL" back home. Larry Lazzari and I flew her home.  During WWII I was Larry's co-pilot.  I still have the orders where you made me a first pilot.  Bob Ellis checked me out and later I checked him out in the C-47 and UC-64. Anyway Larry and I teamed up along with Arnold Mogensen as Navigator, and T/Sgt George Holden and S/Sgt Ray Drewek. The orders which I have a copy, indicate we were crew NO. 42-97712 (I believe that this is the tail number of your plane???  I have a complete set of orders of every assignment and personnel action for my 32 plus years. Here's the itinerary of our trip home; flying times taken from my Form 5.  16 October 1945 left Thorpe Abbotts for Marseille  - 17th Left Marsille for Casablanca - 18th left Casablanca for Dakar - 19th left Dakar for Natal, Brazil - 21st left Natal for Atkinson Field,  British Guiana now Guyana - 22nd left Atkinson Field for Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico now Rame - 23 left Borinquen for Morrison Field - now Palm Beach Airport. Before we left the plane at Morrison, we drew straws to see who would keep the binoculars, sextant and tool kit. I won the binoculars, and still use them today. That is the last time that I saw "FRANCES MARK AND PHIL" for we departed I didn't know Edgar Smith, at least I don't remember him. Our crew chief-was M/Sgt Bobby Hargraves. On 23 February by train for Camp Blanding Florida the following day.

SAD NOTE; I just now received my TROA magazine, and in checking the obituaries, I see that General Fred Sutterlin died. I was in Tampa two weeks ago at attending a Community College conference and I tried to find his phone number, with no success. My Air Force Register indicates that he retired as a BG December 1967.

1945 (Marburg) we had a mid-air with Guardino; his tail bent our left wing outboard of the #1 engine.  That night Sgt Hargraves and 2 or 3 corporals installed a new wing section and we flew it on two missions the next day. I wonder if that feat could be duplicated today?  In Viet Nam I was the operations officer for the Caribou Wing at Cam Ranh Bay; I doubt that feat could be duplicated today? - doubt if we could have accomplished the same impossible feat.

I'll give your surgeon's poem to my son; having a good sense  of humor, he'll enjoy it. I left a message on your recorder, regarding a picture that I have of a B-17 at Borinquen with a 'T" on the tail. Could that be "FRANCES MARK AND PHIL' - This letter is too long. hope you re not too bored.  Gene  P.S. Enclosed is a photo of the 100th BG emblem at the 8tn AF exhibit at Duxford, Enqland Air Museum. P.S. #2  I just got a new powerful magnifying glass and the tail number on the B-17 at Borinquen is 297712; it has to be your plane..


LEAD CREW -- UNNA -- 23 MAR 1945

Command Pilot Major H. F. Cruver
Pilot Capt. C. B. Blanding
Co-Pilot Lt. I. E. Rosenbaum
Navigator Lt. D. L. Bittman
Radar Navigator Lt. J. R. Jenista
Bombardier Lt. A. H. Belimow
Radio Operator T/Sgt P. Glanz (have seen spelled Glance)
Engineer T/Sgt R. J. Whybrow
Waist Gunner S/Sgt R. D. Thomas
Waist Gunner S/Sgt I. J. Delaney

LEAD CREW -- Swinemunde -- 12 MAR 1945

Command Pilot Major H. F. Cruver
Pilot Capt J. V. DePlanque
Co-Pilot Lt D. L. McKean
Navigator Lt R. E. Kirby
Radar Navigator Lt S. C. Rhode
Bombardier Lt C. H. Svendson
Command Navigator Lt W. P. Klinikoski
Radio Operator T/Sgt R. C. Kowalski
Engineer T/Sgt J. Kosik
Waist Gunner S/Sgt Harld Smith
Waist Gunner S/Sgt K. L. Crispin

Storm Rhode joined the 100th without a crew and rapidly became a lead Navigator and finally one of the Group's best Mickey Operators. He completed a regular tour with the 04 Mar 1944 Dortmund mission ; continued to fly as a Radar Navigator with lead crews where he received several commendations.