THE DIARY OF CAPTAIN WILLIAM CETIN

submitted by Mary Rothrock, wife of the late Rocky Rothrock

© Copyright 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Association 2017 - All rights reserved
cassell
Cassell Crew
579th- SQDN Bombardiers
579th-SQDN Bombardiers

The following is a report by CAPT. WILLIAM CETIN, lead bombardier on the Harrison Cassell crew of the 579th Squadron, concerning his time at Wendling with the 392nd BGMA. Bill Cetin and nose gunner/waist gunner Rocky Rothrock were part of the original crew and first met when the crew was put together in Tucson, AZ in 1943. They flew to England as a crew and flew all their missions together. Since that time, they have lived only 10 miles apart for the past 40 years.

This crew, flew the "Sally Ann" until that plane was shot down while being flown by another crew.

NOVEMBER 13, 1943

Took off for Bremen at 07.15 am. We were the lead ship. Hit Bremen at 11:27am. Enemy fighters attacked at 11:10 am and followed us all the way through the IP target and out to the coast. We passed over the coast at 12:40, fighters used new tactics by attacking from the rear. The JU88's fired rocket guns and the FW19O's and ME 109's would pick on the stragglers. Plenty of flak over the target area and also as we left the coast. A piece of flak, 1 cubic inch in size just grazed Lt. Colvin' s glove and dented the fuselage. Another piece put a hole in the left wing. The tail gunner, Billy Yarborough, claims he shot down a FW19O. The navigator, Lt. Bevan, saw it spin out of control and hit the ground. I called Rocky that an ME 109 was at 12 o'clock ahead, I expected to hear the turret guns fire, but there was complete silence. The ME 109 did not fire a shot, I don't know whether his guns were jammed or if the pilot of the ME 109 had passed out. I opened the turret gun door and saw Rocky slumped over his guns, with his oxygen mask off his face. Our oxygen line had been cut by flak and Rocky's gun was jammed by a spent 50 caliber shell which jammed the turret. The oxygen gauge read zero, we were totally out of oxygen. Called the pilot, told him we were out of oxygen and asked how his oxygen supply was - he said his was o.k. So we put an bail-out bottle on Rocky's face and he came to. Then Bevan was on the verge of passing out so I called for a bail-out bottle from the deck, hooked up the bail-out bottle to Bevan's mask, then very thing turned rosy and pink and I was passing out. Last thing I saw was a JU88 flying parallel to us on our left. He was radioing our altitude and air speed to their air force and ground flak guns. We were given oxygen via the flight deck and bail-out bottles. We had a battle with the nose gunner, Rothrock, in trying to revive him. We worked on him for about 1/2 an hour before he came to his senses. Sure was a madhouse up in the nose for about 1 hour. Temperature was -45C. Our loses for the group on this mission were 6 planes. Major Grey landed his plane with only one engine - it was quite a feat. Three generators out, altitude 23000, bomb load 12 M-50 incendiaries - 500 pound clusters. Target was completely over-cast. Lt. Lammas crew was the crew that was missing from our squadron on this mission.

DECEMBER 20, 1943

Went to Bremen, Germany again. Heavy intense flak and plenty of it! Our plane, "Sally
 Ann", had 15 flak holes in it. Left field at 8:30 am. and over target at 12:15. One ship from the group did not return. A B-24 clipped the tail turret completely off Lt. Peyton's ship (El Lobo), the tail gunner went down with the turret. Peyton finished the mission minus his tail turret and landed o.k. The unidentified B-24 did not return - I saw a B-24 go down -4 men bailed out. We had P-47s and P-5 1 as fighter escort. Everhart crash landed three miles from the field. On man was killed and one man had a leg broken.

JANUARY 4, 1944

MISSION TO KIEL, GERMANY

Left field at 08:11 am. Flew as lead plane. Due to cloud coverage, this was a PFF mission. Heavy flak encountered over enemy territory. Our wing was 20 minutes late so we had a heavy fighter attack without any escort - We lost 6 ships, one from the 579th (Lt. Hull). The other four were Lambert, Becker and two others. Two other ships crash landed in England. Yarbrough and Rothrock both claimed a fighter apiece. I led the group and seeing no PFF signals was unable to drop the bombs on the target area. Since everything was socked in, I had to jettison all bombs off the enemy coast. One P-SI was shot down by our own force.

JANUARY 7, 1944

Went to Ludwigshafen, Germany. Took off at 08:30 am, over target at 11:56am Flak moderate over target, hit a heavy barrage of flak at Cologne. This was a PFF mission. Hit by fighters from the target back to the coast. All attacks were from the rear. Geaiy, the ball gunner, claimed one enemy fighter. No planes lost by our group. Fighter cover was good - P-47's, P-38's and Spitfires. Returned to the base at 15:00. One plane cracked up at the base due to a 20 millimeter damaging the landing wheel.

JANUARY 21, 1944

Went to Noball target #101 as lead plane. Took off at 11:45am and hit target at 14:481/2 - good results. I made three runs before dropping my bombs, due to bad visibility and 5/lOs cloud coverage. Made the run on PDI (Pilot Directional Instruments) no fighters or flak, although the 44th lost 6 ships. Bombing was done by Squadrons.

FEBRUARY 13,1944

Went to Noball target #22 in France as lead crew. Took off at 10:00 am, and hit the target at 12:15 - target visible and bomb results were good. Flak was moderate -three holes in ship, deputy lead ship had three bombs hung up. The ball gunner of the deputy lead ship tried to jettison the bombs and was dropped through the bomb bay doors with the bombs - he did not have his chute on. No ships were lost.

FEBRUARY 14,1944

I went to Wing critique - my bombing run results were the best in the Division for the February 13, 1945 mission. Pattern was excellent.

FEBRUARY 20,1944

The Group went to Munster, Germany, maximum effort. Lt. Peyton is believed to have crashed. His right wing had a three-foot hole in it. Top turret was knocked off and tail turret was all shot up. He managed to get to England with Shay and Lautterhus escorting him. He tried to land on a fighter base, but the runway wasn't clear so he came around for another approach when his wing broke off, causing him to crack up. The group was heavily hit by flak and fighters. A B-17 called into the field to get a QDM (a magnetic direction) the Pilot of the B-17 was dead, Co-pilot was dying - the engineer was flying the ship with the navigator acting as Co-pilot. Last heard from, they were going to attempt to land the ship. I hope they make it."

MARCH 18, 1944 - MISSION NOTES OF THE FRIEDRICHSHAFEN RAID

Saw the Tower of London, had an air raid Friday night, surprised me to see how the people were so calm about the whole thing. Returned to base to find out that the group went to Fredrichshafen again. The groups heaviest lost to date - 14 planes, 3 from the 579th (Lt. Sharpe, Lt. Books, and Lt. Kale) Lt. Books looped his plane and brought it back into control long enough for his crew to bail out. Damn Good Flying!!! Enemy fighters attacked in waves of 40 and 50 - really hit us hard. Baumgart crashed landed on our field. His hydraulic system was shot out. Connolly, the Navigator, was injured seriously by flak. Might loose his eye. This was Baumgart and crew's last mission. What a finish!

APRIL 1, 1944

Group went to Ludwigshaven, Germany, or Should Have! 14th Combat Wing dropped their bombs on Switzerland - what an April Fool's joke! No losses,

392nd Bomb Group missed the Swiss town that they aimed at - THANK GOD! However, the 44th BG dropped their bombs on Schlaushausen! This was a ball-bearing plant that the Germans were using in Switzerland! Uncle Sam was very quick to make big payments to the Swiss Government. Major Keilman was sent to Washington, D.C. to attend the briefing with the top brass and to explain the foul-up of the mission. (The wrong target was picked up on radar - we are still explaining it!!!!)

APRIL 19, 1944

Went to Gutersloh, Germany. We flew as Deputy Lead, but the Lead ship's A5 (Automatic Pilot) burned up. We took the lead just before the IP. Bombing results were good. Second section did not find the target - dropped their bombs on the Village and missed. My bombs were the only ones that hit the target out of the whole wing! Flak was moderate - no ships were lost.

APRIL 22, 1944

Group went to Hamm, Germany. PFF ship lead the Wing through the Ruhr Valley, flak very intense. Major Polking's #1 engine was on fire, so the Deputy Lead led the group without orders over target area, but did not drop bombs. Meanwhile, the lead ship made a successful bomb run and dropped their smoke bombs directly on the target. The lead section decided to bomb Koblenz, but the fighter attack was so terrific that they decided to head for home and bomb an air field in Holland. The second block scattered their bombs over the target area. The error in bombing cannot be determined due to the lead ship being knocked out after the "bombs away" All crew members were reported to have bailed out over France. Capt. Everhart was our only loss. It was his 26th mission. The group returned to the base at 10:10pm. Enemy intruders shot down 7 ships over England. (The group was coming in at night and the German fighters followed us in - as it was night, the enemy ships could not be tracked by radar).

MAY 4, 1944

Last night, slept on a British Motor Torpedo Boat, but before retiring had a few drinks with the boys, including some Norwegian officers. Drank more scotch in one hour than I had in 8 months over here! Had most of my tie chewed up before the evening was over - there is an old Norwegian custom that anyone from Norway has the right to chew a person's tie that hasn't been to Norway. What an evening! !!! Went to sea again in a fleet of three MTB's. Did a few maneuvers - shot the 6 pounder, 20 MM and 50 caliber. Stayed out 4 hours - a great thrill indeed. Planned on going out on a patrol mission tonight, but it was called off due to bad weather. Went out and had a rip-roaring time with the British officers again! Fine bunch of chaps!

MAY 5, 1944.

The MTB officers came to our base and gave a lecture on rescue missions of planes shot down and ditched in the North Sea. We also gave them a ride in a B24.

I gave a lecture to the MTB officers - 30 -40 officers - on the organization and functioning of the Air Corps. They were very interested in our work. Had a few more drinks then returned to the base. They really showed me a very good time. My hat goes off to those boys!

MAY 11, 1944

Took off for Mulhouse, France, 20 miles from the Swiss border. Lead the Division again and messed things up a bit - ruined my perfect record! Visibility was unlimited all the way to the IP and then it was 10/10's We continued on our route, and what seemed to be the target broke out in front of us. It was too late to make a run, so I took the ship around for another run. Due to a short run and cloud coverage, my bombs dropped next to the railroad yards, in the residential section. As we later learned by photos, it was the wrong target, but it was very similar to the briefed target and only 15 miles from Muihouse. Belford was the target bombed -no flak, but we had a few fighter attacks. No loses. Lautterhouse cracked up on take-off - no one hurt. Engineer pulled up the landing gear too soon. Trip took 9 hours and 45 minutes.

JUNE 6, 1944

D-DAY !!!!!!!!

TARGET "F" on the Normandy Beach. Took off at 03:20 am and dropped my bombs at 06:13 1/4 am. Bad break for the Allies on this day, because the weather turned bad, we dropped our bombs on PFF - solid mass of shipping crossing the channel. I don't envy the ground forces at all. Sure was a great show, glad to have been on it. This also was the group's 100th mission. No fighter opposition or flak - no losses. The ground forces have a beachhead well established. The group took off again this noon. Target was the communication system at Vire, France. June 7th group took off again this morning despite the weather. If the weather would let up, I could get in a few missions today.

JUNE 14, 1944

Went on my 1 8th mission today. Target was oil distillery at Emmerich, Germany. Led the third section into the target and made 4 runs. The first and second group bombs created so much smoke that I was unable to properly identify the MPI (Mean point of impact) plus 5/10's cloud coverage. I finally dropped my bombs after taking a run 90 degrees from the briefed heading at about 14 degree left drift and my bombs hit left of the target. On the return trip, a B-17 came in on a head-on attack. We opened fire on it and after fooling around for a while, it headed back for Germany. It was presumed that it was a "Jerry" ship.

JUNE 11, 1944

Briefed target for today was a bridge at Angers, France. Took off at 9:48 a.m. Due to bad weather, I bombed a target of opportunity - a bridge at Candes, France. On the bomb run, Cassell tried to get out of prop wash so he dropped down 300 feet without my knowledge, causing my bombs to hit over the target. Our bombing altitude was 9000 feet. Boy, those 2000 pound bombs really are a fascinating sight. Returned to base at 3:30 p.m. This was a very enjoyable mission - no fighters, no flak - no oxygen because of our altitude - just a sight-seeing tour of France at 9000 feet!

JUNE 23, 1944

Lead the group to Loan-Athies, France. Target was the air field. Flak was terrific, group lost 4 ships, all out of the second section, and all due to flak. Lead and Deputy Lead ships of the second section were shot down just before we hit the target. I managed to pick up the target under the front - had my target locked in the bomb site and due to the front, the target was covered over, 10/10's, but having the bomb site synchronized on the target, I let the bomb site fly aoutmatically to the target. I was unable to see my bombs hit, but due to P-38 PRU, photos of the bomb impact showed that the results were excellent.

July 29, 1944

First PFF mission - we led the Division to Bremen, Germany. We were stationed at the 44th for instructions on the PFF, so flew with the 44th~ This was my third trip to Bremen. The town is the same as ever -flaky as all Hell! A Piece of flak missed me by only 2 feet - flak went up through the navigator's table in the spot where Lt. Bevan usually sat during the bomb run. Previous to this PFF mission, Bevan sat on that table right on the spot where the flak went through. This mission, he was on the flight deck with the radar navigator (Arnold Dovey). I think God was looking after him!


LEAD CREW CITATION FOR TARGET BREMEN, GERMANY
Received on July 30, 1944 for 392" Bomb Group

SKE HET SHP HSF HWT V KHI NO 11 P
FROM KHI 30/12303
TO USLIST QB-GC
SECRET 2BD Y-12 10-A

FLASH REPORT JUST RECEWED FROM PINETREE STATES H2X MISSION TO BREMEN YESTERDAY WAS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TO DATE. PRU SHOWS SEVERAL DAMAGING HITS ON THE ORDERED PRIMARY TARGET; AND CONCENTRATIONS IN THE DESCHIMAS U-BOAT SHIPBUILDING WORKS, A TARGET WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN PRIORITY NO. ONE. CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE IS ALSO EVIDENT TO THE YARD FACILITIES AND TWO OR THREE SHIPS, ONE OF WHICH WAS A VERY LARGE VESSEL, WERE SUNK.. FURTHER, A WAREHOUSE DISTRICT NORTH OF DESCFIIMAS, THE KAFFE-HANDLHSAG PRIORITY THREE, SUSTAINED HEAVY DAMAGE AND IN THE PRINCIPAL BREMEN WAREHOUSE DISTRICT EAST OF DESCHIMAS, EVEN HEAVIER DESTRUCTION WAS CAUSED. TWELVE WAREHOUSES WERE SEVERELY DAMAGED AND AT THE TIME PHOTO RECONNAISSANCE WAS TAKEN, TWO LARGE WAREHOUSES WERE STILL BURNING. RAILROAD FACILITIES NORTH OF THE TARGET WERE HIT HEAVILY AND CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE WAS CAUSED TO ROLLING STOCK. FULL RECONNAISSANCE COVERAGE HAS NOT YET BEEN OBTAINED AND IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE THAT EVEN FURTHER DAMAGE WAS CAUSED. MY HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS GOOD NEWS.

GENERAL HODGES

JULY 18, 1944

Transferred to PFF - leave for Shipton tomorrow.

JULY 19, 1944

Arrived at Shipton, hated to leave Wendling, but the Colonel had to send his best crew to Path Finder, so we had it! From the set-up so far, we might be satisfied - quarters and chow terrible! CO seems to be ok, but we shall see! The crew came over intact - Cassell, Colvin, Bevan, Cetin, Heiser, Gary, Debrowski, Rothrock and Durant.

JULY 20, 1944

Flew a practice mission with the Mickey equipment. So far, it seems to be a good set-up. We have two more navigators on the crew - one is a Mickey operator and the other is a pilotage navigator and operates the nose turret. All total, we will fly with 7 officers and 5 enlisted men.

JULY 21, 1944

Went up to fly another Mickey mission, but the Mickey was inoperative! We are ready for operations although it usually it takes a crew two weeks to be checked out!

JULY 29, 1944

First PFF mission we led the division to Bremen, Germany. We were stationed at the 44th for instructions on the PFF so flew with the 44tho My third trip to Bremen. The town is the same as ever - flaky as all Hell! Piece of flak missed me by only 2 feet - flak went up through the navigator's table in the spot where Lt. Bevan usually sat during the bomb run. Previous to this PFF mission, Bevan sat on that table right on the spot where the flak went through. This mission, he was on the flight deck with the radar navigator (Arnold Dovey) I think God was looking after him!

JULY 30, 1944

We were invited over to Wendling by Col. Johnson for dinner. He was well pleased with yesterday's mission. He flew the Bremen mission with us as command pilot and our results on this Bremen mission were excellent.

AUGUST 2, 1944

Went over to Wendling and had a chat with Col. Johnson. He said we might be going back to the base at Wendling sometime this month.

AUGUST 6, 1944

Mission to Hamburg, Germany. Flew as Lead bombardier. Target visual, excellent results. Target was an oil refinery. It sure was a beautiful sight to see all those oil refineries go up in smoke!

AUGUST 7, 1944

Moved back to Wendling. Brought back 4 crews and ships.

AUGUST 8, 1944

Started coordinating PFF into the group.

AUGUST 10, 1944

Went back to Shipton to straighten out a few odds and ends, 201 files, and etc.

AUGUST 12, 1944

Went to Alconberry to get further information on PFF, also flew to Shipton again.

AUGUST 15, 1944

Took some more bombardiers to Shipton to check them out on the Mickey set.

AUGUST 28, 1944

Went to Shipton, started to make a new sighting angle computer.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1944

Went up for a practice flight and took a few of the RAF boys along. A P-38 buzzed the base today and on his last attempt, came down a little too low and clipped one of the telephone poles. McCarthy, the pilot, after crashing a B-24, walked out of France and on returning went to a P-38 base to "acquire" a plane!. When he hit the pole, he stood the plane on its nose, hit the eject button, managed to bail out safely, his chute oscillated twice before he hit the ground but completely wrecked the ship! He had to pay for the guns ($100.00) and returned to flying B-24! (He is now a Neuro surgeon in Montana!!) ((He has some interesting things to tell about his trip back to England after crashing on a mission - worth contacting!)

Took out the RAF boys pubbing -

OCTOBER 6, 1944

Led the wing on a mission to Hamburg, Germany. Another high-priority target, an Aircraft motor plant. Bombing results excellent. Flak heavy as usual, but no fighters. Heavy cloud layer between IP and target. Target area cleared up just enough to make a visual run. Today's bomb pattern was my best.

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This is the citation that Bill Cetin received an OAK LEAF CLUSTER to the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS.

WILLIAM F. CETIN, 0-670000, Captain, Army Air Forces, United States Army, for extraordinary achievement, while serving as Lead Bombardier for a Combat Wing on a mission to Germany, 6 October 1944. Captain Cetin led his Wing on the approach to the target over a 10/10 undercaast. Although a large part of the bomb run was obscured, a break in the clouds enabled Captain Cetin to pinpoint the MPI and assume command of the aircraft. Completing the bomb run visually, he placed his bombs with extreme accuracy on the target. Throughout the entire approach to the target Captain Cetin's aircraft was subject to intense anti-aircraft fire. The courage, presence of mind and bombing skill displayed by Captain Cetin on this occasion aided materially in destroying a high priority target, reflecting the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States. Entered military service from Wisconsin.

by command of Major General KEPNER:

FRANCIS H. GRISWOLD
Brigadier General, U.S.A. Chief of Staff.

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LEAD CREW CITATION
CAPT. CETIN - BOMBARDIER
CAPT. CASSEL- PILOT
TARGET-HAMBURG
VISUAL WING LEAD

THE TARGET FOR OCT. 6 WAS A MOTOR WORKS FACTORY ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF HAMBURG.

THE 579TH LED THE WING TO THIS TARGET AND THEY REALLY HIT IT HARD. THE PATTERN OF OUR SQDN. WAS RIGHT ON THE TARGET WITH 53% WITHIN 500 FT. OF THE MPI, 81% WITHIN 1000FT. AND 87% WITHIN 2000 FET. THIS IS EXCELLENT BOMBING. THE PERCENTAGE WOULD HAVE BEEN HIGHER BUT FOR ONE AIRCRAFTS BOMBS FAILING TO RELEASE.

RESULTS OF OUR SQUADRONS BOMBING WERE 1 HIT & 8 NEAR MISSES ON A MACHINE SHOP, 1 HIT ON AN UNIDENTIFIED BUILDING, 5 HITS ON ANOTHER MACHINE SHOP, 4 HITS ON ANOTHER, 3 ON ANOTHER, 2 HITS ON A CANTEEN, 1 HI'] ON THE TEST BEDS, 3 HITS ON THE BOILER HOUSE, 15 HITS ON THE LABOUR CAMP AND OTHER NEAR MISSES ON UNIDENTIFIED BUILDINGS, ALSO SCATTERED BURSTS TO THE NW OF THE TARGET SCORED ONE HIT ON A RAILROAD.

THE OTHER BLOCKS FOLLOWING THE 579th LEAD ALSO DID AN EXCELLENT JOB, AND THAT FACTORY WILL BE OUT OF COMMISSION FOR A LONG TIME TO COME. WHEN LAST SEEN THE WHOLE TARGET AREA BLAZING FIERCELY AND LARGE EXPLOSIONS WERE SEEN. ONE UNUSUAL OBSERVATION WAS A STREAM OF SPARKLING SILVER LIKE SPRAY BEING THROWN HIGH IN THE AIR, PROBABLY STEAM FORM THE BURST BOILERS.

THE MISSION WAS UNUSUAL IN THAT IT WAS THE FIRST TARGET OF IT'S TYPE THAT THE SIX SHIP SQDN. WAS FLOWN; IT PROVED VERY SATISFACTORY.

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LEAD CREW COMMENDATION
On this 6th day of October Nineteen hundred and forty four
The following named members of the Lead Crew 579th Squadron, 392"" Group
are awarded this CITATION FOR MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT
for destruction of their target at HAMBURG

COMMAND PILOT: COL. L. L. JOHNSON

PILOT - Capt. H.C.Cassell
CO-PILOT - 1ST Lt. J.A.Colvin
NAV - 2nd Lt. H. Niman
NAV - 1ST Lt. K.S. Beven
NAV - 1st. Lt. A.J. Dovey
BOMB - Capt. W.F. Cetin
ENG. - T/Sgt. W.M. Heuser
RADIO - T/Sgt. N.W. Geary
WAIST - S/Sgt. C.T.Rothrock
WAIST - S/Sgt A.L. Debrowski
TAIL - T/Sgt. W. Durent

s/s LEON JOHNSON
-----------------
COMMANDING GENERAL
14TH COMBAT BOMB WING

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JANUARY 16, 1945

Went to Lauta, Germany. The briefed target was Ruhland, Germany, a synthetic oil refinery - a #1 priority. The route took us all over Germany and France. I was pinpointed all the way down the bomb run until I got to the target area The cloud layer just covered our target, so I picked up the "Target of Opportunity" which was 6 miles east of our original target. The bomb results were excellent. The bomb strikes erupted and all different colors of the rainbow = red, blue, green, orange, yellow and the tail gunner asked, "I wonder what the bombardier bombed?" - Rothrock made the comment that "Our bombardier bombed the Dresden pottery works!" As it turned out, the target bombed was the largest aluminum plant in Germany!!! It produced 75,000 tons per year. All other groups in the Division bombed the secondary target, which was the Dresden marshaling yard. Due to the shortage of gas and poor weather, and poor weather in England, we landed at Beauveau, France. At the officer's club, I had some French cognac and German cognac - I prefer French Cognac! On January 17, 1945, we returned to base.

FEBRUARY 27, 1945

Flew my last mission today. Mission was to Halle, Germany. Target was the marshaling yards at Halle, which we bombed through 10.10's cloud cover. This was the first time I had to give over the lead. The Mickey malfunctioned at the IP. Otherwise it was an uneventful mission.

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HISTORY 392ND BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H)

The 392nd Bombardment Group was activated on 26 January 1943, the cadre coming chiefly from the 39th and 34th Bomb Groups, Lt. Colonel Irvine Rendle commanding.

The first B-24's of the Group landed at Wendling, Norfolk on 15 august 1943. The first mission was made on 10 September 1943 against Poix Airfield (Abbeyville) France.

By 1 January 1944, the 392nd Group had 21 missions to its credit.

The Group's outstanding mission was the mission on 24 February 1944 to the Gotha Waggenfabrik at Gotha, Germany, the largest twin engine fighter plant in the Reich. Lt. Colonel Lorin L. Johnson was the command pilot for the 392nd and 15th Bombardment Wing formation.

The 392nd ships fought their way into the target and dropped 98 per cent of their bombs within 2000 feet, completely destorying the target.

The 392nd flew its 100th mission on 6 June 1944 - D-Day. The target - the Invasion Beach, France. The 392nd was cited by Major General James P. Hodges for a degree of bombing accuracy on its 100 missions consistently bettern than thaty of any other unit of the 2nd Air Division.

Operational personnel changed in 20 months. All the faces that meant "Old Crew", the teams that trained in the states, disappeared. Some were missing in action, turning up later as prisoners of war. Others were never heard from. Others were retired from combat after completing their tour of missions. Only four men of the crews that flew the first mission, flew in the 200th.

Colonel Lorin L. Johnson replaced Col. "Bull" Rendle as C.O. and the squadrons were commanded by new squadron commanders.

At the war's end, the 392nd had flown 285 missions against enemy targets ranging from Norway to Southern France, and as far east as 12 miles ahead of the advancing Russian Armies at Swinemunde near Gydnia. The combat and ground personnel received over 9,000 decorations for valor and meritorious achievement. With this, the outstnading combat record of the 392nd was brought to a close.

By Arnold Dovey