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William H Vinton

Military

Completed 34 missions as top turret and waist gunner from Dec. 5, 1944 to April 25, 1945 with the same crew members on the Jean Ridley crew. All returned safely to the States together at the end of European hostilities. After furlough was assigned armor gunnery training. Crews first combat mission December 5,1944 was the 445th Bomb Groups 199th combat mission flown. The last combat mission the crew flew was also the last mission the 445th Bomb Group flew on April 25, 1945, mission number 280. Dec. 5, 1944 Munster, Germany, Alt. 23,000 ft. Target: Railroad Yards, bombs away 1016, A/C dispatched 34, attacking 34, Bomb type 500 GP, results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. Over target flak was heavy and accurate. Plane hit by flak, counted sixteen holes after landing. I have a piece of flak as souvenir dug out of the bomb bay cat walk about six feet from the top gun turret that I was operating during the mission. No enemy fighters seen but reported in the area. Total flying time 5 hrs-35 min. Dec. 10, 1944 Bingen Germany, Alt. 22,000 ft. Target Railroad yards, bombs away l045, A/C dispatched 20, attacking 18, Bomb type 100 GP, results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. Flak light but accurate. Plane hit by flak on left side, enemy fighters reported in the area. Flew what was known as the Purple Heart Corner the last Plane of the last low left squadron of the Group after take off from Air Base I saw three contrails of German V-2 rockets aimed at England, they leave a red fiery trail to 30,000 ft-a white trail to about 50,000 ft, then become invisible, travel faster than sound, Total flying time 5 hrs-15 min. Dec 12, 1944 Hanau Germany, Alt. 23,000 ft. Target Railroad yards, bombs away 1204 A/C dispatched 38, attacking 33, Bomb type 100 & 500 GP, results poor. A/C lost 1. Flew B-24H model. Flak enroute to target and flak at target medium but accurate. One Plane in our Group hit by flak set on fire. Parachutes seen: three on fire, two failed to open. Horrible sight. Total flying time 6 hrs. 30min. The Battle of the Ardennes commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge began on Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan 16, 1945. Dec. 24, 1944 Christmas Eve. Supporting front line American Troops. Target Bitburg, Germany, bombs away 1012, A/C dispatched 45, attacking 18 to Bitburg, 23 to Wolsfield, Mayen and Arzfeld. Bomb type 250 & 500 GP, results excellent. A/C lost l. Flew B-24H model. The 8th Air Force ordered an all out effort. Our Group flew every Plane that could possibly fly. The plane assigned to our crew was classified as War Weary, unfit to fly, but was hurriedly put into flying service with scavenged parts for this Christmas Eve raid. Had engine trouble from the French Coast to the target Bitburg. Pilot had difficult time keeping the plane in the air. After bombs away, pilot had to make a vertical bank in order to stay in the bomber stream to avoid being attacked by enemy fighters in the area. Still had engine trouble on return to base. This Plane was sure one bucket of bolts, landed very hard due to engine trouble and being caught in the prop wash of plane ahead of us. This was the largest American Air raid on Germany of the War so far, never saw so many Planes in the air at the same time. Near target the formation split and bombed the three other cities. Had flak on way to target and return trip. Total flying time 6 hrs. 30 min. Dec. 25, 1944 Christmas Day. W. R. Vinton flew as a replacement gunner an another crew. Our crew was on stand down order on Christmas Day. Target Gerolstein, Germany. Alt. 41,000 ft. Target Railroad yards, Bombs away 1300. A/C dispatched 31. Nine Planes bombed Prum Germany. Twenty one to Gerolstein Germany. Bomb type 500 IB & 500 GP. Results excellent. A/C lost 1. Flew B-24J model. . I flew right waist gun position . This crew had no set system of operation such as pilot checking each crew position that all crew members were OK at intervals of time. Several tried to talk on the intercom at same time and ended up shouting to be heard causing confusion, etc. Intercom was snafu at times. Over target flak was so intense looked like a screen door. Bombardier calling flak as it burst in front of us in such a manner that had whole crew nervous. Engineer tried to say something. It sounded like 'GET OUT'. I got rid of my flak vest; put on my parachute; kept my ear phones on; opened the escape hatch door ready to jump when someone said everything is OK now. Enemy fighters attacked our Group and shot down one bomber, no parachutes seen. Our fighter escort fought the enemy fighters off. Our Plane hit by flak, many holes, landed very hard shaking us all up. The 'Brass' must have expected heavy casualties and battle damage because extra ambulances, crash trucks and emergency equipment were waiting our return. Christmas Dinner was over when we returned, so they had to gather turkey dinners from other airfields. We ate Christmas Dinner at 2300 Christmas Night. This made me think they didn't expect us to return from this mission. Total flying time 7 hrs 30 min . Dec. 28, 1944. Homburg, Germany. Alt . 22,500 ft. Target Railroad yards. Bombs away 1255. A/C dispatched 29, attacking 9 to Homburg, 20 to Zwiebrucken, Germany. Bomb type 250 GP & 500 IB. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. B-24H model flown. Flak over the target was heavy and accurate. Put holes in our plane. On way to target gunners test fired all guns to ensure guns were in proper working order. Something hit the plexiglass dome of my turret causing me to jump. I hit my head on a gun sight, hurting head. I became sunburned across my face between the top of my oxygen mask and the bottom of my flight helmet,from sitting in the top turret and flying above the clouds. Enemy fighters reported in the area, no attack on us. This was my sixth mission for which I received the Air Medal, Total flying time 6 hrs-05 min. Dec. 31, 1944 New Years Eve, Koblenz, Germany. 22,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards, Bombs away 1150. A/C dispatched 31,attacking 31. Bomb type 500 & 1000 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 1. Flew B-24J model. Flak over target medium but accurate. Target partly visual, saw our bombs hit lots of smoke & fire. One bomb failed to release from bomb bay and had to be released manually. Carried four 1000 pound bombs, one in each bomb bay. Before take off engineer wrote 'Happy New Year Hitler' on each bomb. Lost one plane to flak-hit on its left side. Total flying time 7 hrs. 05 min. Jan. 3, 1945 Pirmasens, Germany. Alt. 21,500 ft. Target Supply Depot. Bombs away 1230. A/C dispatched 31, attacking 27. Bomb type 500 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. Bombed supply depot of food and equipment for the German Armies at the Western Front. No flak, no enemy fighters in the area. On return to our Air Base, developed broken oil line in right inboard engine. Continued with a feathered engine and on three engines made it to our field. Total flying time 8 hrs. 10 min. Jan. 10, 1945 St. Vith, Belgium,. A/C dispatched 21, attacking 14. Bomb type 1300GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Our crew was not called for this mission but our Engineer was ordered to fly with another crew as replacement Engineer. Jan 13, 1945 Rudesheim, Germany. Alt. 22,000 ft. Target Railroad Bridge. Bombs away 1405. A/C dispatched 21, attacking 19. Bomb type 1000 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Bombed Railroad bridge spanning the Rhine River. Flak light and accurate at target. No enemy fighters. Plane had three holes from flak, developed a burned out amplidyne in top turret. Return trip had bad weather. Had to land at a B-17 Field, staying overnight. Returned to Tibenham next day. Total flying time 7hrs. 20 min. Jan 15, 1945 Reutlingen, Germany. Alt 18,000 ft. Target Airplane factory. Bombs away 1230. A/C dispatched 31, attacking 20 to Reutlingen, 1 to Mahlberg, 7 to Tubingen, Germany. Bomb type 500 Ib & 500 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Destroyed a corset factory converted into a Jet Propelled AirCraft factory 150 miles west of Munich Germany. No flak at target. Saw enemy Jet Planes, but not attacked by them. Total time flying 8hrs. 10 min. Jan 29, 1945 Hamm, Germany. Alt. 23,500 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1305. A/C dispatched 30, attacking 30. Bomb type 500 GP & 1000 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. Number 2 engine cut out on takeoff, so didn't get into air till late. Another engine developed trouble on way to target. Flak was very heavy. Looked like a black wall to our fron. Flew what was known as the American Highway to Berlin. Took us over Holland our first time. No enemy fighters reported. Total flying time 5 hrs-30 min. Jan. 31, 1945 Brunswick-Halendorf, Germany. Alt. 23,000 ft. Target Goring Steel Works. Bombs away NOT Dropped. A/C dispatched 37,attacking NONE. Bomb type 1000 GP. Results NONE. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. RECALLED when we were twenty-five minutes from the target. Took off in worst weather seen since coming to England, cold and very foggy. Had to land at a British Airfield at Carnady in Northern England. Little flak seen. No enemy fighters. Returned to our Airfield the next day. Landed at 1500. Total flying time 8 hrs 0 min. Feb. 3,1945 Magdeburg, Germany. Alt. 21,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1245. A/C dispatched 41, attacking 31 to Magdeburg, 3 to Dremerhausen Germany. Bomb type 500 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Destroyed Railroad Yard (information from G-2 report). Flew American Highway to Germany. Had heavy flak over Brunsvick and intense flak over target at Magdeburg. Many enemy fighters in the area but didn't attack our Group. Other Groups lost bombers. Total flying time 7 hrs. -30 min. Feb. 6, 1945 Magdeburg, Germany. Alt. 23,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1140. A/C dispatched 41, attacking 41. Bomb type 500 GP. Results Unob. Flew B-24J model. Bombed center of the city to destroy and disrupt communications and all forms of transportation. Another Group joined our Group. They lost 2 Planes to flak, one near Amsterdam going to the target and the other at the target. Heavy flak over Brunswick going and returning, intense flak at target, light but accruate flak at the Dutch Coast. American Highway includes Amsterdam, Brunswick, Magdeburg and Berlin. Enemy fighters all over the area. Total flying time 7 hrs. 30 min. Feb. 9, 1945 Bielefeld, Germany. Alt. 25,000 ft. Target Railroad Bridge. Bombs away 1230. AC dispatched 36, attacking 35. Bomb types 1000 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. Don't remember much about this mission. I had trouble with the turret and the two 50 cal. machine guns, while I was working to fix the guns so they would fire, the oxygen hose to my face-mask came loose and I didn't know it. I passed out due to lack of oxygen and RO Walter G. Anderson pulled my seat release, dumping me on the flight deck and reviving me with his oxygen hose. After landing at our airbase, I reported to hospital where I was given APC pills and told I would be OK. I had a bad headache for a few days. Total flying time 6 hrs. 30 min. Feb. 25, 1945 Giebelstadt, Germany. Alt. 17,000 ft. Target airfield. Bombs away 1220. A/C dispatched 31, attacking 31. Bomb type 500 IB & 250 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model, completely destroyed airfield used by German Me262 jets. Most visual day of our bombing so far and could observe the bomb hits. Flak was medium but accurate at the front lines going to target. About 8 Jets took off and our fighter escort dove down to encounter them in battle preventing the Jets from attacking us. Longest mission to date. Total flying time 9 hrs 30 min. Feb. 26, 1945 Berlin, Germany. Alt. 23,000 ft. Target Airfield, German Headquarters High Command, Railroads and Yards and the City in General. Bombs away 1248. Bomb type 500 IB and 500 GP. Results Unob. A/C dispatched 33, attacking 31. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Bombing of Berlin, Germany was done by almost the entire Eighth Air Force. Flak was intense. Most flak seen at a target so far in our missions. Many enemy fighters in the area; ME 109s, FW 190s. Also P 5ls, P-47s, B-24s, and B-17s. Some ME l09s and FW 190 made a pass at our Group, but were driven off by our fighter escort. It was a hair raising mission. I will always remember going to the City we call 'Big B' Berlin. Brunswick was called 'Little B'. Total flying time 8 hrs. 20 min. Feb. 27, 1945 Halle Gemany. Alt. 21,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1240. A/C dispatched 42, attacking 40. Bomb type 500 IB & 500 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 2. Flew B-24H model. Ten tenth clouds prevented us from observing our bomb hits and damage. Halle is located in Eastern Germany and one of the most defended areas in Germany. Flak was very heavy and intense and accurate. Our Group lost two bombers due to flak. One was a direct hit in the bomb bays. Bomber flew all apart. One man out on fire, another was hanging on to a machine gun-no parachute on him. This crew lived in our barracks. This was their sixth mission. (MB Note: Weaver & Vitkavage, MACRs 12778 & 12794 lost on that day) Our fighters and German fighters all over the sky. Total flying time 8 hrs. 40 min. Feb. 28, 1945 Arneburg Germany. Alt. 22,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1450. A/C dispatched 31, attacking 31. Bomb type 500 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. B-24H model. Clear day, could see our bombs hit target and see damage. This Railroad Yard was completely destroyed. Railroad cars and rails were twisted and thrown all over the area. Our Group was one of the first to go over the target and we could see the results of our bombs. This mission, as far as enemy action was concerned, was what we called a 'MILK RUN'- no flak, no enemy fighters. Total flying time 7hrs. 15 min. March 1, 1945 Ingolstadt Germany. Alt. 16,000 ft. Target Jet Plane factory and airfield. Bombs away 1335. A/C dispatched 30, attacking 29. Bomb type 500 IB & 500 GP. Results UNOB. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Bombed through ten tenth clouds prevented us from seeing the bomb hits and damage. At briefing we were informed target was a factory once made baby buggies now makes new Jet fighters. Long tiresome mission, had engine trouble on number 2 inboard and 4 outboard on way home. Pilot was able to nurse them along and landed OK. The White Cliffs of Dover were a welcome sight. Another 'MILK RUN' no flak, no fighters. Total flying time 9 hrs. 10 min. March 2, 1945 Magdeburg. Alt. 22,000 ft. Target oil refinery. Bombs away 1040. A/C dispatched 33, attacking 27. Bomb type 500 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. B-24J model flown. Our squadron missed the target but the squadron following hit the target and Oh Boy what a fire and black smoke that was. Could see it for a long distance on way home. Flak was as heavy as seen so far. Our plane had many holes in the fuselage, a mystery anyone wasn't hit. On way home a few stray B-17s joined our squadron for protection from enemy fighters as they were shot up badly. Ran into more flak where a B-17 was hit, exploded and burned. No chutes or men seen getting out. This was our sixth consecutive day of missions flown at one time. Total flying time 7 hrs. 20min. March 8, 1945 Siegan Germany. Alt. 22,500 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1345. A/C dispatched 31, attacking 31. Bomb type 250 GP & 500 GP, results Unob. , kIc lost 0, flow B-24 B models This was sort of a 'MILK RUN' mission very little flak no enemy fighters although reported in target area. On return trip another bomber in our squadron had two 500 lb. bombs hung up in their bomb bays and worked them loose over the English Channel where they dropped and made the biggest splash I have seen. Total time flying 6 hrs. 20 min. March 9, 1945 Munster Germany. Alt. 22,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1050 A/C dispatched 30, attacking 30. Bomb type-500 GP & 500 IB. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. Heavy clouds in area of target, no view of damage by bombs dropped. Flak was intense, heavy at target. Enemy fighters reported near target area. Really rained bombs on the target. Attacking force consisted of B-24s, B-17s, B-25s and B-26s, all US bombers. On way, near the French Coast, I saw one of our Group bombers had damage to vertical stabilizer from flak, but landed OK. Total flying time 6 hrs. 20 min. March 17, 1945 Munster Germany. Alt 22,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1040. A/C dispatched 3l, attacking 30. Bomb type 500 GP & 1000 GP. Results Unob. A/C Lost 1. Flew B-24J model. Flak at the target was so intense it looked like a wall of darkness in front of us. Our squadron lost one bomber. Flying next to us on our left, it was hit by flak at number 2 engine. Plane burst in flames and broke up. I saw four chutes descending in good shape. Plane on fire all the way down. The Non-coms of this crew lived in our barracks. I played poker with some of them the night before this mission. Our Group was attacked by enemy fighters. MEl09s coming from 5 o'clock low made one pass at the Group with no damage to our Plane. Some times we had to go back again to the same target the next day or two because the Germany enemy would have that Railroad Yards back in service by using many, many slave laborers and heavy machinery. Our fighter reconnaissance planes would take pictures of the bomb damage and see the reconstruction take place. This mission had me scared, . mad, prayed, cussed and glad to be alive all at the same time. Total flying time 6 hrs. 30 min. March 19, 1945 Neuberg Germany. Alt. 18,000 ft. Target Jet Airfield. Bombs away 1515. A/C dispatched 22, attacking 21. Bomb type 500 GP & 500 IB. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24H model. First time the heavy bombers formed over France for their bomber stream to target and completed a mission. A clear visible day all the way to the target and return, viewed a lot of France and southern Gernany. Most of France was bomb craters. One town was completely leveled. No flak until target. It was mild. No enemy fighters seen. On the way home I saw the towns of Bonn,Cologne, and Koblenz burning from Allied ground troops shell fire. Saw a lot of country torn up by War, including the famous Cathedral of Cologne that was damaged. Total flying time 8 hrs. 30 min. March 21, 1945 Achmer, Germany. Alt. 24,000 ft. Target Jet Airfield. Bombs away 0950. A/C dispatched 40, attacking 38. Bomb type 100 GP & 500 GP. Results excellent. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Visual target. Good weather permitted us to see bomb damage. Destroyed Airfield. Since I changed gun positions with the flight engineer, Stewart T. Ross, I now fly the right waistgun position with the permission of the pilot. With the top turret and the engineer's duties being on the flight deck all the time, I won't have to go through the bomb bays to man a waist gun during air combat. We carried a manually operated Air Force Camera and I took over twenty pictures of the target area hits thru the escape hatch in the waist of the plane. Enemy fighters seen in the area followed us on return trip. Our P51s fought them off. Total flying time 6 hrs. 10 min. March 30, l945 Wilhelmshaven Germany. Alt. 20,000 ft. Target U Boat Base. Bombs away 1337. A/C dispatched 33, attacking 33. Bomb type 500 GP & 250 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Most of mission was flown over water, the North Sea. Bombed U Boat Base & supply depot for Submarines. Target was visual, but couldn't see bomb damage due to smoke from bomb hits of lead bombers. G-2's report showed bombing was good. I saw Island of Heligoland that threw up a lot of flak at us coming and going. Flak at target intense, fairly accurate. Total flying time 6 hrs. 10 min. March 31, 1945 Brunswick, Germany, 'Little B'. Alt. l8,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 0930. A/C dispatched 32, attacking 30. Bomb type 500 GP. Results Unob. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Cloud cover over target, couldn't see damage. G-2 report read bombing good. Excitement on this mission, at Dutch Coast a B-17 bomber's #one engine caught fire. Crew bailed out, some landed in English Channel, others on Dutch Coast. Bomber flew into ground ande exploded. On way to target another bomber feathered its #2 engine and bombed target that. We were one of crews that dropped back to protect crippled bomber. Formation was attacked by enemy jets. Our P51s dropped their extra gas-tanks and took after the jets. We had engine trouble leaving target but it cleared up. Total flying time 6 hrs. 50 min. April 1, 1945 Perlberg, Germany. Alt. 21,000 ft. Target Airfield. Bombs away 1310. A/C dispatched 44, attacking 41. Bomb type 500 GP & 500 IB. Results fair. A/C lost 2. Flew B-24J model. Target visible. Saw bomb damage. Airfield torn up, buildings on fire, jet planes on ground burning. Group attack by ME262 fighters that shot down two of our bombers. Our P51s dove in, engaged the Jets in what turned out to be a real dogfight. Attack seemed like hours. I thought we 'HAD IT' but still alive and able for another mission. Total flying time 8 hrs, 10 min. April 14, 1945 Royan France. Alt 15,000 ft. Target Enemy Coastal Gun Emplacement. Bombs away 1019. A/C dispatched 33, attacking33. Bomb type 1000 GO & 2000 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24M model, a new model B-24. Bombed the shore gun emplacements the enemy had along the River Gironde at Bordeaux and Royan France area in southern France. We carried four 1000 lb bombs; one each to our four bonb bays. Flak was mild at target, no enemy fighters. Total flying time 7 hrs. 40 min. April 15, 1945 Royan, France. Target Gun Emplacement. Alt. 15,000 ft. Bombs away 1145. A/C dispatched 34, attacking 33. Bomb type 500 IB Napalm. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24M model again. Today dropped a new type of bomb, NAPALM , which carries a fluid that sucks oxygen from the air and causes fires that can't be extinguished until it burns itself out. Visual weather all the way. We could see Paris, Reims, Orleans, Cherbourg, St. Lo and the Normandy Beach. Going and coming from target, no flak, no enemy fighters, 'MILK RUN' mission. Total flying time 7 hrs. 50 min. April 16, 1945. Rosenheim Germany Alt. 18,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1540. A/C dispatched 33, attacking 31. Bomb type 500 GP. Results fair. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. Three cities bombed on this mission, the other two were Lanshut and Regensburg, all located about twenty and forty miles North and West of Munich, Germany. We missed the target but the following Group hit it and G-2 report shows fair. Flak nil at target but had heavy flak over Augsburg, Germany on the way home. One bomber was hit and went down in flames. Enemy fighters reported in the area didn't attack us. Total flying time 8 hrs. 55 min. April 20, 1945 Klatovy, Czechoslovakia. Alt. 19,000 ft. Target Railroad Junction. Bombs away 1140. A/C dispatched 28, attacking 28. Bomb type 500 IB & 250 GP. Results good. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. First and only mission into Czechoslovakia. Weather was clear and sunny to target and . On way to target, I saw a large formation of U. S. B-26 twin-engine bombers at a lower altitude bomb their target and level a town on the Danube River. The incendiary bombs they used exploded like electric light bulbs turning on and off. We had a defect in our bomb bays causing late bomb drop hitting a field. No flak,enemy fighters reported in area , Total flying time 9 hrs. 05 min. April 25, 1945 Salzburg Alt. 21,000 ft. Target Railroad Yards. Bombs away 1100. A/C dispatched 19, attacking 19. Bomb type 500 IB & 250 GP. Results fair. A/C lost 0. Flew B-24J model. First and only mission to Austria and again weather was clear and sunny. It was a long and tiring mission. We flew far enough South to view the Swiss Alps. This area reminded me of the mountains in Colorado where we trained prior to going over seas to England. We carried a Camera man and observer on this mission making eleven men on board. Flak was medium. One burst shook the Plane and got a comment from the camera man. He should have been on some of the other missioms if he thought this was rough. Enemy fighters reported in the area did not attack us. Total flying time 9 hrs. 30 min. This mission was the second mission that took 9 hrs. and 30 min. The longest missions flown. Note To 15th Combat Mission February 9,1945In July 1991 I met, for the first time since WWII, my Pilot, Navigator, and Nose Gunner at the 44th reunion of the 2nd Air Division Association in Dearborn Michigan. While comparing memories of our war days the Pilot informed my of what took place on the flight-deck on February 9 1945, my 15th combat mission. The following is what happened. I don't remember much of this combat mission as my oxygen hose became disconnected from my face mask. I was in the top turret and had trouble with both the turret and the two fifty caliber machine guns. In the process of working to get them operational and because of the limited space in the turret and wearing winter heavy clothes, my movements caused the oxygen hose to become disconnected from my mask. Our altitude was 25,000 feet and we had to be on oxygen. On a crew check by the Pilot I failed to answer and Radio Operator, Walter Anderson, came to my aid by releasing my turret seat lock, dumping me on the flight deck and applying his oxygen hose to my mask while he used a portable walk-around oxygen bottle. He notified the Pilot by touching his leg. When the Pilot turned around to see what was happening, his oxygen hose became disconnected from his mask. He became groggy nearly passing out. The Co-Pilot seeing what happened to the Pilot, leaned over to re-connect the Pilot's hose to his mask. In doing this, the Co-Pilot's hose becamed disconnected from his mask and he also became dizzy. He was able to check his oxygen equipment and re-connect himself. Fortunately no enemy fighters attacked during the time there was no gunner in the top turret. Revived, I returned to the top turret and was able to fix the guns and turret so they were again operational. After landing at Tibenham, I reported to the Base Hospital where I was checked over and given some APC pills to take. I was told I would be OK. I had a headache for the next few days. My next missions were flown February 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, March lst and March 2nd-six consecutive days. By that time I was feeling normal again. NOTE: The number of bombers dispatched and attacking a target may differ in numbers due to trouble they had causing them to turn back not completing the mission. These are called aborts, and not a credit mission, due to not entering into enemy held areas. Weight of each bomb is measured in pounds. A/C means aircraft or bomberG-2 means-Intelligence HeadquartersBomb Type-GP means General Purpose, IB means Incendiary BombResults Unob-means Unobserved cloudy skyThis diary was recorded by William H. Vinton of his thirty four combat bombing missions with the 8th Air Force during WWII. Service Record of William H. Vinton, Staff Sergeant. August 30,1943 to September 18, 1945. Induction Chicago Illinois. Processed Camp Grant, Illinois. Basic Training Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Cadet Training Marietta College Marietta Ohio. Aerial Gunnery Training Yuma , Arizona. Flight Crew Training Pueblo, Colorado. Overseas Service Tibenham, Norfolk England. Flew Thirty-Four Combat Bombing Missions in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) US 8th Army Air Force. Discharged Santa Ana AAF Santa Ana, California. Crew Members-Pilot-Jean J. Ridley-CACo-Pilot-Jesse W. Spring-NY & FLNavigator-Paul Suttle-SCNavigator-Donald Pryor-MEFlight Engineer-Stewart J. Rose-MARadio Operator-Walter G. Anderson-NYNose Gunner-Hal A. Davis-INTop Turret Gunner-William H. Vinton- ILTail Gunner-Donald M. Matthews-TXBall Gunner-Robert C. Shriver-WV

Air Cadet Wings, Aerial Gunner Wings, ETO Medal 3 Stars. AM 5Oak Leaf Cluster, American Campaign Medal, Victory Medal, Efficiency Honor Fidelity Medal, Belgium Liberation Medal, French Liberation Medal

Service

Units served with

  • 445th Bomb Group

    445th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 445th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Tibenham, Norfolk. The crews' first mission was bombing U-boat installations at Kiel on 13 December 1943. The Group continued to hit strategic targets in Germany, including the aircraft components factory...

  • 702nd Bomb Squadron
  • 1st Gunnery & Tow Target Flight

    1st Gunnery & Tow Target Flight

    Flight
    Activated on 1 February 1943 as 1st Provisional Gunnery Flight at Atcham as part of VIII Fighter Command's fighter training establishment. ...

Aircraft

  • 41-24226 JOISEY BOUNCE - UTAH MAN

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, SN #41-24226, JOISEY BOUNCE, was assigned to Pilot Col. Walter T. Stewart of the 330 Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, for the famous mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Col. Stewart changed his assigned...

Associated Place

Events

Event Location Date
Born Chicago, Illinois 28 May 1917

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:13 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / self & Page 432 in the book 2ND AIR DIVISIONby Turner Publishing Company, 1998 edition (D790.A2S45)

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