Crew # 555

Crew # 555
Crew # 555 - planes flown: DAMIFINO , DIXIE, LET ER RIP, TIMES A WASTIN

1st. LT. J. William Smith

1st. LT. J. William Smith

Sunday, April 19, 2009

When Men were Men...466th BG Navigator

My Dad, always the adventurer, didn't shy away from a sidehack ride. Just had a hip replacement a few months ago but at 92 years old, he still was game for a cruise.He had a few trail 90's and rode a 4 wheeler when he lived in the Montana Mountains,
Dad enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942 and was trained as a navigator.He flew out of Attlebridge England with the 8th Air Force, 466th Bomb Group, 785th Squadron. He participated in 35 bombing missions over Nazi Germany with Crew #555, flying B-24J Liberators.
They also hauled gasoline in theirbombers into France to fuel Pattons Army during their advance into Germany.They flew into hair raising anti aircraft fire, flak and tangled with Nazi fighters .Their plane took many hits during many missions and they managed to make it home each time. Sometimes with more than one engine shot out. Had to land on a smallsteel mat English fighter aircraft field on one occassion. Damn near ended upin the "channel"Dad volunteered with the Air Transport Command in March 1945. They flew night missions inblack painted ,unarmed, unmarked B-24's into Stockholm Sweden. They flew as"civilians" on these clandestine solo night missions, hauling arctic gear into Nuetral Sweden.This gear for the 10th Mtn. Division was ferried overland into Norway insupport of war efforts there. Dad remembers being pursued by radar equiped Luftwaffe night fighters and flying at wave top level to evade the pursuers over the North Sea.
This photo was of Dad as a "civilian " in Stockholm in April 1945.They were laid over due to weather conditions.
Happy times as Dad made it home and got back to the business of being a realcivilian. His war experiences became dormant for many years and only in thepast few years have the numerous experiences been told. An avid fisherman, I figure this photo was taken at one of his favorite Montana trout streams.

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