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Author Archive

Final Flight Sgt. William A. Poche

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Joe Crossan of the 494th BG announces the passing of his last surviving crewmate, William A. Poche. I asked Joe to tell me what he remembered about his Radio/Gunner.

“When we were at Lake Charles, La, for training, William took our crew to his home in the French Quarter of New Orleans, La. for a weekend. He took us to many places in the French Quarter.

While stationed at A-59, we went to a swimming Hole in France while stationed there. He was a real nice guy. We visited Paris as a crew, on a three day pass.

After the war ended we were sent home, I finally found out Poche’s address and wrote to him and from then on we were writing to one another. That`s when I found out that he became an optometrist. I have been writing his son Craig for a while now, since Bill became somewhat blind with macular degeneration.

Bill loved fishing and hunting. He has a daughter whom he had living with him. His wife died several years ago. His hobby was making fly casting fishing poles.

I never got to go visit him after the war. I would have liked that. I asked his son to send me his obituary from the hometown paper as I have all the other obits except Bills. I haven`t been able to find it online. He is to be cremated and at a future date the family plans to take his ashes to their hunting and fishing lodge and spread them where he loved to be.

Picture below: Our crew photo taken at Barksdale field Shreveport, La. in 1944 Left to right 2nd Lt. Donald O’keefe, 2nd Lt. Jerome Simms, 2nd LT. Lloyd Mellious, SGT Joseph Crossan, Sgt William Poche , Sgt Steven Millet. We were only corporals when this photo was taken.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing

1st Lt. Robert S. FitzSimmonds

Monday, June 15th, 2015

FitzSimmondsEd FitzSimmonds found this website while looking for information and wrote to me on behalf of his father, who passed away a few years ago.  He found that there was no mention of 1st Lt. Robert S. FitzSimmonds who piloted three different aircraft with the 495th Bomb Squadron of the 344th Bomb Group. (According to the oral history he received from his father while growing up)

1st Lt. Robert S. FitzSimmonds name is often spelled wrong. It says “Fitzsimmons” on all his records, including his flight jacket!
He attended many of the reunions of the 344th when he was still alive.

He was a Co-Pilot on the “Merry Jerry” (42-95898  Merry Jerry  Y5-C), before getting his own plane “Ma’s Blasted Event (42-107698  Ma’s Blasted Event Y5-R).

Sam (Santo) Endrizzi says, “Ma’s Blasted Event is the plane my crew chief Ed Iverson and I kept in flying condition. The name Robert FitsSimmonds sounds familiar as does the photo. 71 years is a long time to remember.”

FitzSimmonds flew “Ma’s Blasted Event” for more than thirty missions. Finally, during a mission the plane received a great deal of damage that rendered the landing gear inoperable. This necessitated them to belly land the plane resulting in damage beyond repair. (Carl’s note: I am unable to find this incident for this plane in my records. I’m thinking he was in another plane that day.)
About his third plane. They had to abort a couple of the first missions because there was something wrong with the plane. As a result, they named her “Reluctant Virgin” (Carl’s note: Plane is not listed on my spread sheet of planes. I’m hoping to find more information.)

1st Lt. Robert S. FitzSimmonds was proud that he flew 65 Combat Missions and never lost a crewman. The only injury sustained was some stitches in the forehead for the navigator or bombardier during the belly landing.

On June 6 (D-Day), he flew in to the beaches of Normandy just 100 feet above the water with the rest of the B-26 bomb group and helped pulverize Utah Beach. “My Dad used to always say that it was a shame the boys on Omaha Beach didn’t get the same kind of air support from the heavies …”, says son, Ed.

It seems likely to Ed FitzSimmonds and Carl Carrozza that our dad’s flew together in the same Squadron of the same Bomb Group and quite possibly knew each other … How awesome is that! (Carl’s note: There is a lot of overlap in the mission logs of the two men.)

Here’s a couple of photos. (Click any photo to see it larger.) The first shows FitzSimmonds and his crew at a sidewalk cafe somewhere in France. The second photo of the crew when they first arrived in England. (My Dad was the 5th from the left with his back to you in the photo sitting in front of the Marauder & 4th from the left at the cafe.)FitzSimmonds FranceFitzSimmonds plane. In the third group photo, all the other guys appear to be pilots or officers.

FitzSimmonds GroupOne of the photos Ed found with the negatives, was a picture that was taken professionally of 1st Lt. Robert S. FitzSimmonds. (Carl’s note: It looks like the photographer was standing up through the bomb bay doors.) The picture appeared in war bond ads and some magazines at the time. Ed used to have a copy off the magazine, but haven’t seen one in years. Ed always heard that it was taken up thru the bomb bay doors, but I agree with u, it was probably more like the photographer was positioned in the bomb bay area and shot the photo back through.FitzSimmonds Bomb bay

There’s a woman out in California who calls her company “Victory Girl.” She recreates the art on flight jackets. Ed had her render a couple of jackets. One was an exact re-creation of his dad’s flight jacket. Wow !!! what a job she did.

Ed thinks the nose art on the jacket depicts the “Reluctant Virgin”, because the nose art for Ma’s Blasted Event” is a flying delivery stork carrying a bomb in its sling instead of a baby.

(See re-creation of Frank Carrozza’s Bomber Jacket)

IMG_4467 IMG_4461 IMG_4459 Marcel van der Lugt jacket 1

1st Lt. Robert S. FitzSimmonds Bio:

FitzSimmonds came back after the war and attended Purdue University with the help of the GI Bill. He graduated in three years with honors because never took fewer than 21 credits each semester. He met his wife on a blind date and married her at age of 26.  The FitzSimmonds had five children, (Four boys and one girl) Ed FitzSimmonds is the middle child. Robert S. FitzSimmonds worked for the State Dept. in Washington, DC. He flew in the reserves for years. One of his Pilots Logs is dated in 1955 while flying a relief mission for some country in South America. He was posted as an Attaché at the American Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico for four years. He served in Caracas, Venezuela for four years. Later on in his career he was assigned to Bern, Switzerland for four years. Robert S. FitzSimmonds retired as a GS 17. Most career men don’t make it that high.

Robert was an extremely successful football and baseball coach throughout his life and known as a genuine pillar of every community his family located to. Ed FitzSimmonds is rightfully, very proud of his father. These men lived in different times and were something quite special!

Robert S. FitzSimmonds younger brother John B FitzSimmonds (Jack) was also a pilot stationed in England. He flew with the famous P47 Thunderbolt Squadron called the Hell Hawks. He flew 84 missions before taking a direct hit on the cockpit from a flak burst over the Rhine River at Julich. He’s buried in Belgium. Theres a whole amazing story involving Robert and his brother, that we hope to post at another time. Ed could truly write a mini series on them and still might.

 

 

 

Memoirs Lt. Harold V. Aiken Dad’s Co-Pilot

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Memoirs Lt. Harold V. Aiken Dad’s Co-Pilot

Frank and Radio School

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A newly scanned picture of Frank P. Carrozza

 

 

Radio School Yearbook

 

Radio School Classmates

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

A newly found/scanned picture of Frank Carrozza                                                        Cover of a yearbook for one of his training schools

Frank Carrozza and classmates

Youtube Video of Jubilee Award

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Thanks to son-in-law Bryan Kasin for this great video of the award ceremony.

Video