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"We Remember"
by Dwayne O'Brien

S/Sgt. Leroy F. Adams
723rd Squadron




Leroy and Sgt. Jack Spokane - 1944

LeRoy F. Adams

11-25-1943 to 04-14-1944

( SGT, 19004640, E)

United States Army Air Corps

Aircraft Number 42-52095

 

11-25-43 Morrison Field, West Palm Beach Florida. Today the 450th Bomb Group left the states for duty Overseas. The destination is unknown. The Group is Heavy Bombardment with four squadrons of 15 planes each. The ships are B-24H.

11-27-43 Brinqulen Field, Puerto Rico. Today we arrived in Puerto Rico our first stop going on a long trip. Puerto Rico is a quiet, warm, native island. All the people speak Spanish but are quite friendly to American airmen.

11-29-43 Atkinson Field, British Guinea. Today we landed for a rest in British Guinea. We are in the heart of the South American Jungle. All the natives wear only a beach cloth and are quite primitive in their customs. The language is Spanish. The weather is quite hot.

11-30-43 Belem, Brazil. Today we are on the banks of the Amazon River in the heart of a deep jungle. All day we have been flying over jungle. The natives here are not so friendly. They do not like the white people as well as they could. I hope to leave tomorrow.

12-01-43 Natal, Brazil. We are now on our last leg of our trip in America. Our next trip will be across the Atlantic Ocean and we have to pull an inspection on our ship before leaving. The weather is very hot. We are 3 degrees south of the Equator.

12-3-43 Eknes Field, Dekar, South Africa. (French Senegal) Today we landed in South Africa. The trip was not so good. The weather was cloudy and rough. When we landed we had only a little less than one hour of fuel left aboard, and we were all quite glad to see land. The natives here are very dirty and all speak French. The clothes they wear is only what rags they can find from the white people. The rest go stark naked. All the children are naked as a jay bird. The natives live in small grass huts in villages of ten to twenty. The weather is very hot, and malaria is quite bad in this place.

12-9-43 Casa Air Base, Casablanca French Monaco. We are now in North Africa and it is cool again. The city is about the size of Buffalo New York. All the people speak French or Spanish. The streets are full of donkey carts and camel trains, very few cars. The people ride bicycles a great deal here.

12-17-43 Chatau Dun Du Romell, Algeria, West Africa. We are now on the south coast of the Mediterranean Sea, quite close to the front lines. We live on the ground in small tents and it is very cold and raining. The food is cold and the work is hard and plentiful. Today our crew went to Constintrin, it is a city about the size of Niagara Falls but the population was equal to half of New York City. The town is very dirty with as many as 50 people living in one house of six rooms. Lieutenant Lane ( the pilot) had a pair of boots stolen from the truck and we chased the thief down into the native section of town. On the hunt for the boots, one native pulled a knife on me and I knocked him down with the butt of my 45. I was sure we were in for a fight so we all drew our guns, 3 of us, but the guns scared the natives back without firing a shot. I have had enough of this and am ready to move on anytime now.

12-20-43 Curry, Frantis Field, Manduria, Italy. Today we ended a trip of about seven thousand miles. We are in a small town about 300 miles behind the front lines. We sleep on the floor, no beds, no water, no latrines, very little food. The field is in very bad shape. It is raining quite hard all the time, and cold as he__.

01-08-44 Mission Number 1 (time 4 hours)

Today we went on our first combat mission. The target was Mostar Air Base, the largest German held base in Yugoslavia. We have ten, 500 lbs. bombs and there is 68 planes in the raid. It was not too bad, the anti-aircraft fire was thick over the target but we didn't meet any fighter planes at all. When we were over the target one anti-aircraft shell broke under our right wing and threw the ship out of control. The pilot ordered the crew to bail out but just before we left the ship he got control of it again. Not such a good start, we were all scared stiff.

1-13-44 Mission Number 2 (time 6 hours)

The target today was Perugia Air Base in North Italy. It has all the German reconnaissance planes for this area. We had 120 one hundred lbs. fragmentation bombs. Today five of us were separated from the main group and German FW190's jumped us. The fight lasted about ten minutes but it seamed like a year. Two ships were shot up pretty bad but no one was hurt.

1-16-44 Mission Number 3

Today was Sunday and thank God I didn't go on the mission. Six of our planes were lost from the main group and 18 fighters caught them. Lieutenant Holoman and his crew was shot down. Sgt. Cook was about my best friend shot down. Four other friends were shot up; Jim Galiger, John Dienhardt, Staniley Monrgomery and Sgt. Wentzel Phomibein, none serious but all hurt.

01-17-44 Mission Number 3 (time 6 3/4 hours)

The target today was Prato. A small town in North Italy. The German railroad supply base is there, also several troops of German men going to the front lines. We carried 12, 500 lbs. bombs. We met no flack or enemy fighters. I don't understand that. Maybe they are waiting for a big push. ( I hope not).

01-20-44 Mission Number 4 ( time 5 3/4 hours)

Today's target was the aircraft research laboratory and experimental station at Guidonia Italy. Our Group was one of eight making a total of almost two hundred heavy bombers with an escort of sixty fighters. The flack was very thick but we didn't see any enemy fighters. The weather was bad and we got lost over the Adriatic Sea for over two hours.

01-21-44 Today a plane from the 722 SQD. crashed on the runway on take off. The plane was totally destroyed but no one was killed. The bombardier might have a broken back. Last night a man was taken to the hospital with a large hunk of shrapnel in the side of his head. His chances are slim. That was the only injury in yesterdays raid on Guidonia. P.S. I received 21 letters today.

01-22-44 Mission Number 5 ( 6 4/5 hours)

The target today was the marshaling yards at Areggo Italy. This is the main railroad junction for all German supply trains between Rome and the Brenner Pass. We had 31 ships and no escort. We raided the target all alone. Today was the invasion of North Italy and we assisted in the invasion. About half of north Italy is destroyed from today's raid. We flew group leader today with Captain Miller the Squadron Commander. We also got a new pilot today Lieutenant Tom Miller. He is our new pilot from now on. The second front is now on and an all out Air Force raid is on. Everything we have is in the air every day. Missions will come fast now ( I hope).

01-27-44 Mission Number 6 ( time 9:15)

The target today was Marsailles France. We bombed the largest German held base in all of France. The mission was almost 1500 miles long. We did not see any enemy fighters but the flack was very thick. One ship was shot down and 5 men killed; the other crew is prisoners of war. Things are rough here now.

01-29-44 Mission Number 7 (time 6:00)

The target today was Udine Italy. A large fighter bomber base. We had a great time. The flack was as thick as snow flakes and several men were hit quite bad. No B-24's were lost but lots were shot up pretty bad. We saw about 25 ME 109's and I got one good shot in on an ME 109. Four of us were shooting at him but he went down. Four other enemy fighters were shot down in our formation.

01-31-44 Mission Number 9 (time 6:00)

Today I went on a volunteer mission as a tail gunner. I was not on our crew but on a crew of volunteers. In today's raid, four, B-24's were shot down and 63 German fighters were destroyed. The flack was so thick that at times we could hardly see the ground. Colonel Gray and Captain Wilk were both killed and several gunners were killed today. It was a running fight to and from the target which was Aoians Italy. Located at the southern base of the Alps. In the last three days the 30 th, 49th, and 50th Groups have shot down and destroyed over 200 German fighters and we have lost 12 B-24's and their crews. This war is getting rough. We have 5 men from our barracks of 23 men in the hospital now, wounded in action.

02-02-44 ( time 3:00) The target today was Budapest, Hungary. It is the second most heavily defended target in all Europe. We were to attack the Messerschmidt plant at Budapest. The raid was unescorted and looked bad. The weather closed in when we got over in Yugoslovia so we came home. The mission doesn't count.

02-03-44 Mission Number 10 (time 7:00)

The target for today was the large railroad junction at Ponerssieve Italy. About due East of Sardinia in central Italy. The target was covered with a solid overcast and we could not find it so we bombed a target of opportunity which was a large machine gun factory about 100 miles south of the target. We could only see it through a hole in the clouds so we don't know what we hit.

02-04-44 Mission Number 11 ( time 5:45)

The target today was the submarine yards at Tulon France, a 1500 mile trip. This was one more of our hardest target but the weather closed in and we never got to the French coast, so we came home. We met no fighters but we did see some flack. No ships were hurt bad and no one was injured.

02-08-44 Mission Number 12 (time 6:35)

The target for today was the fighter bomber base at Ventabo Italy. The weather was closed in bad but there was a large hole in the clouds right over the target. We bombed two air fields in one mission, both were a success. We saw several German fighters but they did not attack us. We had no flack so all in all it was a good mission.

02-12-44 Today I went to the hospital and had some external hemorrhoids taken out. They were quite painful, but I managed to keep from getting grounded so I will fly.

02-14-44 Mission Number 13 (time 8:00)

Heavy flack, many fighters. The target today was a railroad center at Verona, Austria. At the North end of the Brenner Pass. This was the worst mission our group has pulled. Five ships are missing, one we know of crashed in the Swiss Alps. The others are missing. The temperature was 94 degrees below zero at 25,000 feet. Over half the squadron is grounded with frozen hands and feet or faces. (rough)

02-16-44 Mission Number 14 (time 6:30)

The target today was the railroad yards at Ponta Sieve, Italy. The fight was an easy one, no flack, no fighters. We feathered an engine two hours from home and went on around with three engines.

02-22-44 Mission Number 15 & 16 (time 8:30)

Today the 450th Bomb Group started a series of bombing raids on German soil. The target for today is the ME 110 plant at Regensburg, Germany. On the raid we encountered about 50 enemy fighters, Bill got one and Hasley got one. We lost our pilot today, also the Assistant Squadron Commander was shot down. Sixty-two men were wounded and seven were killed, also twelve B-24H's were lost. I shot down my first enemy fighter today an ME 109.

02-23-44 Mission 17 & 18 (TIME 8:15)

The target today was the ball bearing factory at Steyr, Austria. This was the ruination of the 723rd Bomb Squadron. We lost six planes and full crews today. Our Squadron Commander was lost. There is only 93 men left in our squadron out of 174 that we started with. We met about 200 German fighters today also heavy flack and we had no fighter escort. There is only nine men left in our barracks and not over a week ago, there was forty-nine men in here. It will only be a matter of a few days now and we will join the rest of the men. It is sheer suicide to go up in that country without an escort. Oh well who wants to live forever anyway. (ME).

Today I got another German fighter plane, also an ME 109.

03-01-44 Thus far in the past week it has rained steady and our field is flooded. Thank the Lord for that, at least it will prolong our agony a few more days. The 47th Wing of the 15 Air Force lost 74 B-24 Bombers last week; that is 740 men 60 of which were all friends of mine. It is kind of hard trying to sleep at night with such odds of death starring us in the face. Only tomorrow will tell. ( Let's Hope).

03-07-44 Mission Number 19 (time 7:15)

The target today was a large railroad yard at Certalgo, in North Italy. The weather was clear and we met no enemy opposition. This was the first mission on our new ship. We crashed 095 yesterday on a practice flight. Lieutenant Pat Barbato is our new pilot and seems like a swell Joe.

03-10-44 Today we listened to a broadcast from Berlin and Herman Goering. He makes a personal threat upon the 450th Group. He said if we were not out of Italy in 24 hours, he would personally destroy us. Some fun or what. We don't scare easy.

P.S. We got nine replacement crews and some new planes and some supplies in today. Boy did they ever look good. How we can make Herman squeal.

03-11-44 Mission Number 20 (time 8:45)

Today the 450th Whitetails went to the submarine yards at Toulon, France. Goering tried to keep his boast today as the whole Luftwafen was there to intercept us, but we only lost one plane and they lost about sixty. Oh yesterday was a volunteer raid, not with my crew, but with a crew of volunteers. That really makes life interesting, a personal grudge fight. Some fun or what.

03-17-44 Mission Number 21 & 22 (time 7:45)

The target today was an aircraft assembly plant in Vienna, Austria. This was a very large raid with the entire 15th Air Force there. The weather was bad and the mission was not a complete success. It was one of the worst raids we have made. Almost everything went wrong, and it was a poor formation. The Whitetails lead the entire 15th Air Force again today. We are really getting popular in Europe.

03-18-44 Mission Number 23 (time 6:15)

The target today was an airfield at Laveriana in North Italy. The mission was a complete success. There was a few fighters and a little flack but not too bad, no planes lost, no one hurt.

03-19-44 Mission Number 24 & 25 ( 8:10)

The target today was the ME plant at Klangenfuerth, Germany. This was a volunteer mission but I didn't have anything to do so I went as tail gunner. There were lots of fighters and very heavy flack. We lost one plane. Lieutenant McGreggor a swell guy too. I guess its all in the game.

03-24-44 Mission Number 26 (5:45)

The target for today was to be Steyr, Austria. Due to bad weather, we were forced to turn back. We had a running dog fight with about 40 F.W. 190's and in the fight, six B-24's were shot down and 18 F.W. 190's. Bill Campbell got one today.

03-29-44 Mission Number 27 & 28 (time 7:15)

The target today was the oil storage refinery at Bolzano, Austria. We did and excellent job of the target. We met several small attack units but no ships were lost. Some enemy fighters were shot down but it was a good mission.

03-30-44 Mission Number 29 (time 5:45)

The target for today was the marshalling yards at Sofia, Bulgaria. This was almost our disastrous end. Our ship was shot all to hell in today's fight. The bombardier was hit in the shoulder and the tail gunner and noise gunner and I were all slightly wounded. The ship is a total wreck. Hasley got another fighter today. The fight lasted 2 1/2 hours. About 30 fighters were shot down, and one B-24. Five men were wounded and two killed.

04-05-44 Mission Number 30 & 31 (time 7:30)

The target for today was the railroad yards and storage buildings at Bucharest, Romania. The flack was very heavy but not much fighter opposition. We did not lose any planes from our squadron. The Group lost three.

04-06-44 Mission Number 32 & 33 (time 7:00)

The target for today was the famous oil fields and oil refinery at Ploesti, Romania. We lost 63 heavy bombers on this raid. We had a running dog fight for 1 hour and 37 minutes. The flack was very heavy. We destroyed the oil refinery and started about 100 big fires in the oil fields and storage tanks. Our crew got three more fighters today.

04-17-44 Mission Number 35 (time 5:45)

The target for today was Sofia, Bulgaria. It was a good fight, heavy flack and lots of fighters. Still we didn't loose any bombers. 23 German fighters were shot down. My Martin turret was shot away right under me but I wasn't hurt.

04-20-44 Mission Number 36 (time 6:15)

The target for today was the marshalling yards at Treviso, Italy. The

mission was not bad. No fighters, and only medium flack.

04-23-44 Mission Number 37-38 ( time 8:00)

The target for today was the aircraft factory at Schwechat, Austria. This was another wicked fight. We lost 3 planes today. Heavy flack and lots of fighters once again. I had my turret shot away without a scratch. They are coming too dam close for comfort.

04-24-44 Mission Number 39 & 40 ( time 7:00)

The target for today was the city of Ploesti, Romania. This was another major battle. We lost four ships today. The flack was about the worst I have ever seen. We got 43 holes in our ship today and no one was hurt. It was a rugged flight and believe I was plenty worried.

04-25-44 Mission Number 41 (5:00)

The target for today was the Macci aircraft factory at Venice, Italy. Today our worst fight was the weather. We ran into solid clouds to a point we couldn't even see our wing tips. We lost seven planes today and never did get to the target. It was really a rough day. We were ordered to bail out twice today, but we stuck it out and made it back OK.

04-27-44 Mission Number 42 (time 6:00)

The target for today was the shipping docks at Anbetello, Italy. North of the Anzio Beachhead. The flack was rough and few fighters. Bad weather prevented our doing a good job, however, we did fair about 50%. It won't be long now, 8 more to go.

04-30-44 Mission Number 43 ( time 7:45)

The target for today was the railroad yard at Alessandria, Italy. This was one of the few good missions we have had, very little flack and no fighters. The target and area was destroyed.

05-05-44 The target for today was the oil fields and storage tanks at Ploesti, Romania. This was a very rough mission. The flack was terrific and lots of fighters. My ammunition can stopped a 20m.m. cannon shell from hitting me square in the stomach. The ship was hit quite hard but no one was hurt. I got an FW 190 to my credit today, and assisted in 2 ME 109's. Good hunting.

05-06-44 Mission Number 46 & 47 (time 7:00)

The target for today was the railroad yards and warehouses at Brasor, Romania. The flack was bad but we only saw 6 enemy fighters. The ship only had one hole in it. That hit the number 2 engine and tore it up quite a little. The mission wasn't too bad.

05-12-44 Mission Number 48 (time 5:30)

The target for today was the shipyard docks at San Stefano, Italy. The flack was bad but we had no fighter opposition.

05-13-44 Mission Number 49 (time 8:00)

The target for today was the railroad center at Piacenza. Italy. Today we lost 3 planes. Our squadron was not bothered by fighters but the flack was pretty rough.

05-14-44 Mission Number 50 ( time 6:45)

The target for today was the railroads at Vicenza, Italy. This was a good mission for the last one. No flack and no fighters.

04-24-2001 This diary was typed as close to what Dad wrote as I could make it. LeRoy F. Adams completed his 50 missions and returned to the United States. He married my mother Shirley Mae Richardson on 3 July 1944 in Lockport, New York. He was assigned to another unit and was undergoing training to go to the Pacific when the war ended. He left the Army Air Corps and returned to Lake Oswego, Oregon. He was recalled to active duty at the start of the Korean War. He remained at Tucson, Arizona for the war. He remained in the Air Force. His career lasted 29 years. He retired from active duty as Chief Master Sergeant in 1970. He had six children, I was the only one to serve in the military. I was an Infantry Officer. I retired from active duty in June, 1992. Dad died on 09-02-1986. My mother Shirley lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming.



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