w

Donald Moomaw

Note from Carl Carrozza: I was fortunate to come in contact with Mr. Moomaw when I looked into a B26 model he had posted on e-bay. The plane was the Shopworn Angel. I noticed that the plane model was painted in the distinctive manner of the Silver Streaks of the 495th. I suspected the owner was knowledgeable about the B26 and decided to contact him. The following is a compilation that provides Mr. Moomaw’s eyewitness account of the last mission of the Shopworn Angel. I am extremely greatful to Donald for the information. Also, our exchange of e-mails has reinforced what my father has told me about the 495th pilots being officers and gentlemen.

“I would be interested in knowing what period of time your father was in the 495Th Squadron, and what crew he was assigned too. Shop Worn Angel, was in slot three of the lead flight when she went down,. It is as clear in my mind as if it were two hours ago.

This is to best of my memory; the target, Engers RR Bridge, a very well protected target, and lots, lots, lots of heavy flak. This mission we did not go on the bomb run in the regular formation, we went trail formation (see diagram below), all the flight lined up, one back of the other, the flights back of the lead were 500 ft below the flight ahead. I was #2, right wingman of the lead plane, Piloted by Major Clay, I am sure your father would remember him. Shopworn Angel #3 , left wingman. A glancing vision, I saw the right engine on fire, the co-pilot half out of seat, facing the pilot, and I am sure he was saying we are on fire, and generally the fire spreads, Shopworn Angel pulled out of formation to left, no idea of what happened after that.”

formation33

“I have never heard a thing about the [fate of the] crew, and do not know of anyone who would have any information. If they did not show up as a POW, they died in some manner. The [ possibility of] help of escaping with aid from the underground, is just not feasible, we were very deep into Germany, and there was not going to be any help from the civilians, they (survivers) would be fortunate if you were not killed by them. I am not aware of any crews making a report of the incident at the end of the flight. We were under extremely heavy flak, and incidents could go unnoticed. My fleeting glance was second or two, getting hit, and leaving the formation was a matter of seconds, so it could go unnoticed by other crews. I have thought about this incident many times over the years, and any information would be very welcome.

I think it [ the Shopworn Angel model] will have good home, and hope your father has chance to enjoy the memories he has of the plane. To me the whole experience has become a part of me, and it was good experience .Attached is a sheet showing the formation of the flights as we were on the bomb run, after leaving the target we joined back up in regular formation. Any information you might have I would appreciate. I would be interested what member of the crew was the fiance*. I only knew the pilot and co-pilot, I believe the pilots name was Lt. Sanders. If you have additional questions, I will try to answer.”

Donald Moomaw

—-

“I was in the 495th November 1944 to October 1945, I think it was quite probable that your father and could have been on the same missions. At this time, crews were not assigned planes, so I flew a number of planes, including Shopworn Angel . On this mission I was flying as co-pilot. Would you put me on your roster,”

Donald Moomaw – Pilot.

* I told Mr. Moomaw about a recent contact I had with a woman whose mother was engaged to Harry Zeust who was lost in action that day.

*Update: Mr. Moomaw found a photo of the Shopworn Angel (see below). He had no date for the photo so it could be any of the three crews. It looks like the original version of the noseart. If so that would probably be the first crew on board.

Don Moomaw found another photo taken a few days prior to the final flight.

“Hi Carl, another photo I discovered, had it filed away separately, was going to send it to his family, but could not locate them. Tech, Sgt. Vanderlug, tail gunner,  this was taken on Feb. 12, 1945 prior to taking off on a mission. Why taken, and why only him, he was killed on that mission?????????   Did he or someone have a premonition of what was going to happen???? And it Feb.14th that Shopworn Angel went down.”

There is no question Sgt. Vanderlug was killed on that mission, he was on our crew, I can remember as clear as if it was two hours ago, He came on the intercom, I have been hit, I have been hit! We immediately requested information to the nearest airfield that could give him medical aid. I do not remember the airfield, he was alive when the medical personnel took him. He was a very good individual, but flak is not choosy.”

 

↑ Back to “History”