Dwight Eisenhowerr and "Gene" Aenchbacher after flying to North Africa to prepare for Operation Torch
A Letter received by Gene Aenchbacher after hsi mission to fly Eisenhower and other brass to North Africa. On the Return journey the Landing in Gibraltar was a bit "Hairy"
DFC/ AM w/ 8 Oak Leaf Cluster
All of the B17’s, especially the F- models used in the early part of the Air War, had a story that was special to their young crews…. This is just one of them,about 124435, 97th/340th, piloted by a very young Lt. Gene Aenchbacher, with 9 other young fliers, that stayed together from the start, and went on to complete 50 missions, plus a few secret sorties, hauling brass, not bombs.. this crew was selected by Col. Tibbets to fly with a few other 97th ships to haul the brass to Gibraltar for secret meetings for “Torch”, the invasion of North Africa. From Gibraltar they went on to Algiers, and then back to England, via Gibraltar… these guys flew the first raids out of Biskra, and serviced their own aircraft , while waiting on the ground crews and equipment to arrive… they slept in the planes or in small tents with no amenities. A cold meal and hot coffee was about all they had to look forward to. The mission requirement being raised from 25 to 50 didn’t help the morale, but these guys did it and didn’t complain…. When my Dad and most of the original crew left North Africa to go home, in June of ‘43, this old F-model had completed 67 missions and was still going strong…. (Pictures from my Dad’s collection and the 97th book,”Venit Hora.”… copy of Ike’s letter, from Cathy Aenchbacher.)
Units served with
The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...
||2 September 1920