March 15th, 2014 marks the 69th anniversary of the last mission for the crew of the 415th Bomb Squadron of the 98th Bomb Group.
For those of you who are new to this blog, this is my father's verbatim accounting of their last mission. It's also a personal story of one man's journey and his experiences of World War II.
Since the inception of this blog, some three years, I have detailed as best I could their amazing story. Having been shot down over what was then Yugoslavia, after a successful bombing campaign of the Schwechat oil refinery in Vienna, Austria, the crew were forced to bail out of their B-24 bomber just outside the small village of Prnjavor where the villagers quickly took them into their homes for shelter. With the help of rebel supporters of Marshall Tito's men, they provided escort for the crew through the rugged terrain back to the Adriatic Sea where they were able to take a boat back to their base in Bari, Italy.
Retired Col. Donald Brown, son of Donald A. Brown, the nose gunner from the crew of the 415th Bomb Squadron, had called me last year to tell me he had found several letters among his dad's personal effects. Among the letters was a telegram that his grandmother had received informing her that her son and the crew were safely back at the base after missing in action. The letters were from several of the crew members' mothers offering words of encouragement and hope. As I read their letters, I can only imagine how they must have felt. It is with great pride that I am able to share with you their story because in sharing it we continue to honor their devotion and great sacrifice for our country.
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