w

Lt. Casey Hasey: Book and Interview

Memoirs and Interview of R. Casey Hasey, B-26 Bombardier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in June 10, 2010 I was lucky enough to get an e-mail from Casey Hasey. Casey flew with the 495 Bomb Squadron 344th Bomb Group along with my father. In his first e-mail to me he mentioned that he flew with Hank Woodrum (the first Captain of the Shopworn Angel.)

Early in our conversations he told me he was a b-26 bombardier and a Pathfinder.  As a Pathfinder he did five night bombing missions and participated in an experimental night mission flying in close formation over Scotland.

His tour of duty started in January 1944 he went overseas in the Queen Elizabeth with the 344th bomb group members that didn’t get to fly over with the new planes.  The tour ended when he left France on New Years Eve 1944 having flown 55 missions. Lt. Hasey knew Woody (Henry Woodrum) well. They lived in the same nisson hut for a while.   Casey told me my father and him likely were on some of the same missions together.  Frank Carrozza’s first mission was three months and three daysafter Hasey’s first mission. By my father’s first mission on June 3, 1944, Hasey was already a Pathfinder. I have not been able to find records of the crew roster for specific missions. That would answer a lot of mysteries for me if it existed. Casey says that since the Pathfinders led all groups it is likely that they were sometimes on the same mission.

Mr. Hasey told me he knew Lucius Clay Jr. when he was a 1st Lieutenant in training and on the Louisiana maneuvers.  He considers his father, General Lucius Clay to be one of the greatest generals of all time.

According to Casey Hasey’s book, his 10 flights with the 495 Bomb Squadron 344th Bomb Group took place starting on March 6th which is nearly four months before Frank Carrozza’s first mission on June 3. Frank Carrozza pretty much limited his mission log to date, location, bomb load, and flak intensity. http://shopwornangel.imaginarynumber.net/flight-log/

Casey’s book gives more depth.

Casey has given me the contact information for another Marauder man, Sam Endrizzi, who knew my father. I was able to contact him and had a great conversation.

Notes and Excerpts from Casey Hasey’s book, “My Bombsight View of WWII”

http://www.amazon.com/Bombsight-View-WWII-Casey-Hasey/dp/1456713132

Casey credits his daughter, Mavis, for helping him assemble his memories into a book. *(My father’s mission log was limited to mission data. The few anecdotes I have documented are from some stories dad would mention through the years or responses to specific questions from me. His memory had faded by the time I got deeply into this website project, so the information is limited. I wish Frank Carrozza had written a personal diary during his time overseas. Letters he wrote to my mom have disappeared, so I have little hope of getting much more personal information.)

  The following are some excerpts from Casey’s book that I found particularly interesting and I may have added my impressions or research information.

Casey Hasey’s first mission on March 6, 1944 was 4 months before dad’s first mission on June 4, 1944.

Hasey had a chance to enlist into Navy Intelligence. When he found out that he’d start out censoring mail, he instead went for the excitement of signing up for the Army Air Corp and the chance to be a pilot.

*(When Frank Carrozza enlisted, the Air Corp saw that he was exceptional at business and clerical skills. He was offered a desk job and declined looking to, “do something different.” I wonder if dad understood that he was turning down a position of safety and instead probably moving to one of great risk? What did my mom, his new bride, think?)

Hasey’s first plane was called, “Nicks Chick.” Nicks Chick (flying without Hasey) was shot up and emergency landed on 12/2/44. Carrozza did not fly that day. Two were wounded including Malcolm Edwards and engineer/gunner Sgt. Edward Warner Dollahan, that day. Casey Hasey was the bombardier on the Pathfinder plane for the D-Day mission. I think that makes Mr. Hasey a member of the very first bomber to participate in the D-Day invasion. Casey isn’t so sure of my claim. He does know that he dropped his bombs at 6:26 am. If anyone knows of an earlier drop, please let me know.

Regarding D-Day Casey says, “On D-Day I led the 322nd Bomb Goup, I believe… and yes, when I dropped,everyone dropped their bombs on mine as usual. I was sure I had it right but prayed I had. The Boys coming in needed all the help we could give them.

I have found some more information about Nicks Chick.

*Here is a description of D-Day by its Bombardier for that day, Malcolm Edwards;

http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent1/?file=dday_0048p1

Also see;

http://www.costoffreedom.org/The%20Final%20Chapter%20of%20the%20Battle%20for%20Arnhem%20Bridge.html  (this article mentions Lt. Herbert Moore. For more info on him please go to;

http://shopwornangel.imaginarynumber.net/roster/lt-herbert-moore/

I don’t know if Nicks Chick was one of the Y5 planes as were all the planes of the 495th bomb squadron (as far as I know.) Please see this link by Mark Styling; http://www.markstyling.com/b26_research.09.htm

Shopworn Angel was the Y5-J. If anyone reading this knows the answer please contact me (damonbok@hotmail.com)

Otto Lemke (passed away 10/14/2011) was another member of the Nick’s Chick crew mentioned by Casey Hasey. Here’s an interesting piece I found that was written by him;

http://www.bomberlegends.com/pdf/BL_Mag_v3-1-Tailgunner.pdf
I was surprised to read in Hasey’s book that Southern Ireland was neutral during the war. Our planes could not fly over it! Also, if a U.S. aircraft had to do an emergency landing there, they would be interned for the duration of the war. Southern Ireland neutral? What the hell was that about?

Read here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_neutrality_during_World_War_II

Mr. Hasey talks about using the Norden Bombsight. It was top secret at the time.

*I had some questions. Was it electronic? Was it a computer? Did it take over control of the plane like an automatic pilot? Here’s a link; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norden_bombsight

Also, a talk by Malcolm Gladwell, a famous author and lecturer; http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell.html.

Casey told me the bombsite had gyroscopes in it and had its own heating unit.

*On the B-26 there were open windows through which the guns pointed. I wondered about the wind, cold, and noise this allowed to enter the plane. I asked Casey about this. He said the airfoil around the plane limited the wind but it was definitely cold and noisy. Hasey sometimes used the cover for the Norden bombsite to keep warm. The cover had an electric heating unit built in it and was removed when the site was to be used. Casey placed it on his very cold feet.

After 10 missions on “Nicks Chick” Hasey was flying the lead (Pathfinder) plane called the “Weary Lera.” I found this link about the plane’s demise after Hasey was no longer on its crew; http://forum.armyairforces.com/m132879-print.aspx

The following is what was said on this forum;

“Apparently shot down by enemy fighters over Germany on 23 Dec 1944 when leading 322nd BG B-26 bombers on a mission.

No doubt there are more details in MACR 14626 for crew positions, circumstances and so on.”

Looking for information pertaining to the crash of this aircraft, “Weary Lera”, tail 42-95878.  Trying to gather some information since it appears the entire crew is buried together at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.  Would also like to get the crew positions of these individuals.  7 individuals are buried in this grave.  Was that the entire crew of this aircraft?  The names that I have are:
Berens, John R           Boyd, Francis J             Garbisch, Walter P       Lantz, David B
Roy, Roger J               Shearon, Joseph M       Wolfe, Herman L

A bit more information on 42-95878.
This aircraft was pathfinder for the 322nd BG, leading them to their primary target, the Euskirchen Railroad Bridge, Germany.

Here is some more information about the planes assigned to the 1st Pathfinder Squadron according to Mark Styling; http://www.markstyling.com/b26_research.16.htm

1st Pathfinder Squadron (Provisional)

Squadron Markings:
IN Fuselage Codes

41-31688 Terrible Turk Transferred From 387th BG TQ-S
41-31675 Dubissary Transferred From 387th BG FW-J
41-31706 Danita IH-C Capt. K.T. Cadigan Transferred From 387th BG KS-C
41-31903 IH-T
42-95867 Sharkmouth IH-A1
42-95878 Weary Lera
42-96223 Capt. EG Longworth
42-107583 Sleepy Time Gal Lt. Dale Bartels 23/12/44 Transferred From 344th BG N3-C
42-107811 IH-H Lt. Edward B. Fitch
44-67875 Early Morning Scrub IH-X
44-67881 Lt. W.P. Garbish
s/n? Florida Fo

*Casey mentioned commanding officer, Colonel Reginald Vance. Both Casey and Carrozza mentioned that he was very brave and was sure to go on the most dangerous missions. He defined those missions as the ones showing a lot of “ketchup” (red markings for AAK guns) on the mission map. Carrozza had good things to say about Captain Clay as well.

Casey Hasey would never say so, but his prowess as a navigator and bombardier was recognized with his transfer to the Pathfinders. The Pathfinders would lead a bombing mission. Since the bombardiers of a squadron would release their bombs when cued by the lead plane, it was Hasey’s accuracy that would determine the success of the mission.

Sometimes Casey would use the top-secret “Oboe” targeting system designed by the British. The system made it possible to drop bombs without a visual of the target due to clouds etc. To read more about the top-secret “Oboe” targeting device. See this article; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oboe_%28navigation%29

Hasey must have been something special to be selected to work with this device.

I asked Casey some questions. On D-Day: Did they really begin the briefing saying, “This is it?” (My father said they did.)

His reply, “It is correct that the briefing officer on D-Day said “This is it” as he pulled the white sheet that was covering the briefing board. There were no jokes about milk runs or the like. Everyone was totally serious. This absolutely, totally needed to be successful at any cost, even if we lost every plane. What everyone was thinking but didn’t say was that we would go in on the deck as had happened before. We shoved the thpught way, way back in our minds. I knew I would be ok somehow and I believed it.”

As Pathfinder, were you the first plane on D-Day? Did everyone Else drop their bombs following your lead? Did you lead the 344th 495th?

On D-Day Hasey’s target was a gun emplacement that had artillery so large it could take out ships at sea. Intelligence felt that the guns were to heavily protected by many feet of concrete to be destroyed. The goal was to put enough munitions on it to damage the guns accuracy and to “shell shock” the men who fired it. It turns out that at least one of these guns was destroyed. Casey told me that required 4 or 5 direct hits with 1000lb bombs. Good job Mr. Hasey!

*Casualties on Utah Beach were 200 men compared to 3000 on Omaha Beach. Why? The heavy bombers overshot Omaha Beach. They worried about dropping bombs on our own troops by mistake and missed the beach altogether. The B-26 aircraft that flew on Carrozza’s mission were able to blast foxholes into the beach without hitting our troops.

http://shopwornangel.imaginarynumber.net/flight-log/mission-3-june-6-1944-630-a-m-d-day/

Casey mentioned a UFO plane the crew saw on p202 of his book. Small and with swept back wings, he couldn’t tell if it was manned or some kind of drone. The speed of the craft was remarkable perhaps it was a jet powered or even rocket powered ship.

*Some possibilities; Research into rocketry and rocket weapons continued at Peenemünde but on a much-reduced scale. The autumn of 1944 saw testing of the Wasserfall anti-aircraft missile, a winged version of the V-2 designed to carry explosives into the midst of Allied bomber formations where it would be detonated. At Peenemünde West development continued of the Me 163 “Komet” rocket-powered fighter plane along with the Me 262 jet fighter.

Speaking of the Me 262 jet fighter. Casey told me that he knew a guy who knocked one down.  When the pilot saw the enemy fighter approaching the formation, he left the formation and headed toward it. He approached it head on with all seven machine guns ready to go. Rather than shooting it down, the pilot rammed it.

In his book Mr. Hasey mentions transporting German citizens in his B-26. The German citizens appeared to be scientists dressed in rumpled clothes. This happened on Oct 18, 1944. At first, I wondered if these were the famous Peenemunde rocket scientists led by Dr. Von Braun. This couldn’t be the case since his team surrendered to Americans on May 2, 1945. So I wonder who these guys were? Perhaps other rocket scientists.

I asked Casey if he felt animosity toward them because they might have worked on the V-2 rocket that killed his friend Lee. Lee was a female friend he knew well who worked in the office of some top brass. He told me that he had no such feelings because he had no information regarding who the people were.

An interesting part of Casey’s book is his discussion about the death of Glenn Miller. There are several theories about this; http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_did_Glenn_Miller_die

Mr. Hasey gets annoyed with the theory that returning bombers jettisoning bombs over the English Channel and hitting Miller’s small plane below them.  He has several reasons that would preclude this from happening.  He thinks Miller’s plane might have been shot down by flak from an German enclave that was surrounded by allied troops but not taken due to its strong fortifications. The pilot was probably not aware of these enclaves and flew over one. ( see page p208)

In closing there was a strange happening that Casey told me about. During one of the night flying missions involving six or more planes, a green glowing ball paced them off the left wing while flying practice missions over over Scotland and Northern England. It persisted for several minutes. The whole crew saw it. Nobody had any idea what it was. They didn’t tell anyone for fear that anyone would believe them. While discussing this incident with a friend well versed in the Earth Sciences, he theorized that this might have been some kind of ball lightning. He went on to say that planes can build up quite an electrical charge as they fly through the air. It’s possible that this phenomenon was only visible under the dark of night. Casey send me a chapter that didn’t make it into his book. I have included it here. Click Casey Green Orbs as it includes his description of the “green ball.”

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Lt. Casey Hasey: Book and Interview”

  1. Gina Posey says:

    Any idea how I can get more info on Edward B Fitch 44-67895 and his missions in WWII?
    Thanks for any help
    Gina

    1. Gina Posey says:

      Sorry – that was for 44-67875

Leave a Reply