Andrew Aitken Rooney

Civilian

Object Number - UPL 16217 - Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney was a war correspondent and journalist for the Stars and Stripes, in February 1943 he was selected as one of eight journalists to accompany the 8th Air Force flying bombing missions over Germany. After a week's extensive training, Rooney joined a bomber crew flying over Wilhelmshaven on 26 February 1943, his aircraft was hit by flak, but he believed this gave him the best story of all the journalists, he recalled the mission:

'I got in my bomber and I thought to myself, "Why am I doing this? I'm scared to death. I mean, I don't have to risk my life" — except that I felt so bad for all the men who did have to risk their lives all those times that it just seemed like it was the honest thing to do. I remember we had these heavy flak jackets. A B-17 is not like a modern airliner. Wires and everything were all over, and getting through the bomb bay to the back — which would be the cabin in a passenger plane now — was very difficult. If you had a parachute on, it was tough to get past all the wires without getting snagged on everything. So I didn't wear my flak jacket. I stood on it. I had this feeling that I didn't want to be hit from underneath, but of course what happened was the flak exploded in the air around you and didn't necessarily come from below.

If there was flak before you got to the target, the pilot could take evasive action. But once the bombsight zeroed in on the target, you couldn't take any evasive action or the bombs would not go where they were designed to go. That plane was a perfect target for the gunners from underneath, and that was the frightening part of it — you just had to sit there.

There were seven of us [reporters] who actually went, and I was the youngest, but I ended up with the best story because my bomber was hit. I was up in the nose of the plane, and a shell came in and took a small piece of the Plexiglas nose off. The bombardier, who was in front of me, panicked and tried to stuff something in the hole. At seventeen or eighteen thousand feet, that air coming in is subzero, and he took his gloves off. His hands froze and it was terrible. I looked across at the little desk that the navigator used. His oxygen tube had been pierced and he lost his oxygen, and at eighteen thousand feet he collapsed. So I got to the pilot intercom and I asked him what to do. He said, "Well, we have emergency air in oxygen bottles up behind me. Take some deep breaths and come back up behind me and get the oxygen bottle; bring it back down and hook him up to that." Well I didn't know how to do any of this and here I was, with somebody's life at stake, and I didn't know how long you lasted once you took your oxygen mask off. But I took some deep breaths, I took my oxygen mask off, and went through this alleyway up behind the pilot. There I got an oxygen bottle and hooked up the navigator, who was a much more experienced flyer than the bombardier. He regained consciousness and got the bombardier quieted down. So I had by far the best story to tell of all the correspondents who went out that day.'

Whilst Rooney's aircraft only suffered flak damage another journalist Robert Post was killed when his aircraft exploded in mid-air, it was deemed too dangerous for journalists to fly further missions with the 8th Air Force but Rooney accompanied a B-26 Marauder crew on D-Day. He was also one of the first journalists to visit concentration camps and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal for his reporting throughout the Second World War.

In 1949 Rooney joined CBS where he enjoyed a long career as a writer, radio and TV reporter on public affiars, he became known for broadcasting news specials and television essays, such as his own memoirs of the Second World War. He retired from CBS on 4 October 2011, and died a month later

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 360th Bomb Squadron The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent United Press
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent
Captain Bernard Thompson of the 387th Bomb Group and War Correspondent Gladwin Hill of the Associated Press, in the cockpit of a B-26 Marauder. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for publication 8 May 1944.' [stamp] and '319310.' [censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'AP War Correspondent Pays A Visit To A Marauder Base "Somewhere In England". Associated Press Photo Shows:- Left, Gladwyn Hill, A.P. War Correspondent sits in the cockpit of a Marauder, right pilot Capt. Bernar
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: The Writing 69th
  • Role/Job: War Correspondent

Missions

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Albany, NY, USA 1919-01-14

Died

New York, NY, USA 2011-11-04

Buried

Rensselaerville, NY, USA Rensselaerville Cemetery

Revisions

Date19 Aug 2019 17:04:53
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added connections for all 8 corresponents listed in "The Writing 69th".

Date17 Nov 2018 19:37:22
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added connection per data on "The Writing 69th".

Date17 Nov 2018 19:34:57
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added connection to Walter Cronkite per dtat on "The Writing 69th".

Date8 Jun 2018 21:44:52
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added awards data menrioned in Description. Updated burial data with data from Find-a-grave MEMORIAL ID 79888344.

Date10 Mar 2015 02:49:24
Contributorbombercommand
Sources

My War by Andy Rooney

Date4 Dec 2014 11:11:23
ContributorEmily
Sources

Page at Find a Grave

PBS Reporting on America At War- Andy Rooney

CBS Obituary

Andrew Aitken Rooney: Gallery (1 items)