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"We Remember"
by Dwayne O'Brien

T/Sgt. John Ciborski
720th Squadron

John Ciborski

John Ciborski

John and Helen Ciborski

John and Frank (father) Ciborski
In Michigan prior to going oversea's

720TH Bomb Squadron
450th Bomb Group
Fifteenth Air Force
April – October  1944

April 28
Arrived in Italy At Manduria. From Tunis Africa, assigned to 450 bomb Group. Known as White Tails.

April 29
Nothing much doing. Got our tent straightened out. Used 6 blankets last nite. Rained during nite. Went to a show in Aoria.

April 30
Had lecture on enemy fighter tactics.

May 1
Went on practice bombing mission had to come back because of oil loss on #1 engine. Went to a show in Aoria.

May 2
Went on practise formation flying. Bombing mission cnacelled.

May 3
Same as yesterday.

May 4
Mission to Ploesti – bombardier, co-pilot and I stayed home – planes returned due to bad weather over target.  P.X. day.

May 5
Mission #1 & 2 – Ploesti marshalling yards & tank farm. I fired right waist, shot 25 rounds at ME-109 saw 7 ME-109's – Flak thick enough to walk on, 8 holes in our ship. Ship #234 – "Babe in Arms"
Lost 2 ships – 8 hours mission 1300mi.

May 6
Mission #3 & 4 – Brasov, Ploesti Rumania. A milk run very little flak 1 fighter – Ship #156 – 8 hours 15min. 1350 miles. I fired upper turret.

May 7
Mission to Bucharest – turned back 30 minutes from target – no fighters or flak – no credit.

May 8
No mission – went to a show in Aoria

May 9
Mission cancelled – went to a USO show in Aoria – it was very good.

May 10
Mission to Weinernustadt, Germany 109 Factory – turned back 2 hours from target due to weather – dropped bombs in Adriatic – No credit.

May 11
No mission.

May 12
Mission #5, San Stefano N. Italy Harbor Installations – Carried 12-500's Flak very accurate – lost 3 ships 8 men bailed out.  1200 miles-7hours group received commendation from commanding general 15th Air Force For perfect bombing pattern. Completely wiped out target. Ship # 339

May 13
Red made his 6th mission – to N. Italy a milk run.

May 14
Mission #6 – Vicenza marshalling yards made 3 runs on target. Ran into very accurate light flak on "Jugo" coast – otherwise a milk run. 1250 miles – ship #339. 7½hr.

May 15
Mission cancelled.

May 16
No mission – Got a plane and went to Naples, got picked up by a Captain for not saluting – Radio man was arrested by same officer for having cuffs rolled. – Landed at Pomglaiano field. Most of the buildings were destroyed by bombs – flew over Mt. Vesuvius & took pictures of crater.

May 17
Mission #7 – San Stefano Harbor Installations. 449th lost 1 ship. Flak was quite heavy – no fighters Very good bomb pattern.  Ship # 226.  1009mi  5hr.

May 18
Mission #8 – Ploesti, Rumania. Turned back 1 hour from target due to weather – ran into flak over Jugo-slavia – quite heavy but inaccurate.  Ship # 234 – 5 hours – no fighters.

May 19
Mission #9 La-Spezia, North Italy
Bad storm on way – Harbor Installations, railroad yards & oil tanks – bombs covered target completely. Flak was light & inaccurate – no fighters – P-38, P51 and P-47 escort.  Ship #226 – 1100 miles – 7 ½ hours.

May 20
No mission. Laid around all day.

May 21
Sunday – Went to church in Manduria. Formation in afternoon – several boys received decorations.

May 22
Another day off.

May 27
Mission to Marsellies France.
Had to turn back 30 minutes from target because of loss of two superchargers. Reached coast of France.  7 hours and no credit.

May 28
Sunday – went swimming in Adriatic water very cold. Took some pictures had chicken for supper.  8 ships lost.

May 29
Mission 12 & 13 Weiner Nustadt, Austria. Roughest mission yet, flak was a solid mass. 5 ships went down, none of ours lost.  Fighter hit group, JU-88's – ME-110's – 210's – 109's & 190's.  Ship #748 7 hours  1100 miles.

May 30
No Mission.

May 31
Mission 14 & 15 – Ploesti, Rumania.  Flak very accurate, 8 fighters 15 holes in our ship.  No 2 Eng. Shot out.  Joe got a F.W. 190 – 2 ships went down.  Ship #234 - 7 ½ hours  1200 miles.

June 1
No mission for us  - group to Weiner Nustadt.

June 2
Mission # 16 & 17  Sumeria, Rumania.  Marshalling yards & rolling stock.  No fighters one single burst of flak a milk run.  Ship #234 – 1250 miles  7 ½ hours.

June 3
Mission canceled.

June 4
Mission #18 Genoa, N. Italy
Marshalling yards. Not much flak, no fighters.  Sip #159 - 7 ½ hours  1250 miles.

June 5
Mission #19 Castel Maggiora  N. Italy
Marshalling yards. Very little flak over target, ran into intense flak 5 minutes from target, very accurate 6 holes in ship, missed pilot by 6 inches.  Ship #261 - 5 hours 45 min.  1100 miles.

June 6
Mission #20 & 21 Ploesti, Roumania.
Ran into flak over Belgrade no excuse for going over it.  Flak over Ploesti heavy not to accurate. No ships lost.  Ship #156 - 7 ¾ hours  1200 miles.

June 7
No mission

June 8
No mission

June 9
Group went to Munich Germany Crew next door went down.  1 ship lost.

June 10
Mission # 22 Treste N. Italy
An easy one very little flak 17 fighters, they did not attack because our escort jumped them. Bombs scored direct hits on 2 ships in Harbor. Oil storage wiped out. 1 hole in #1 Eng.  Ship # 234 - 5 ¾ hours  1100 miles.  Tank farm, oil refinery & harbor installations. (Hit 2 ships)

June 11
Mission # 23 & 24 Constanta, Rumania.
Oil refinery – tank farm. (on Black Sea) No fighters – ran into light flak twice before target & once after.  Flak over target light.  P-38 Escort.  Ship #234 - 7 hours  1250 miles.

June 12
Practice mission in fornoon.

June 13
Munich, Germany, I didn't fly because my crew took a new man on his first mission to break him in.  They were shot down and are missing in action, last reports are that they headed towards Switserland or ditched in Adraitic.  They had "Babe in Arms" – 4 ships lost.

June 14
Mission #25  Osijeck, Yugoslavia oil refinery. 
Milk run. No flak no fighters.  1000mi.

June 15
Mission canceled.
Went to beach.

June 16
Mission # 26 & 27 Bratislava, Czecho-slavakia
Synthetic Rubber Plant & Oil Refinery
Direct hits were scored on entire target.  Smoke was still visible 150 miles from target, 20,000 feet up.  20 F.W. 190's attacked, shot down 2 planes ran into flak 4 times before getting to target, flak over target light but accurate.  1 ship lost – ship #159 - 1400 miles  7hr. 10min.

June 17
Mission Canceled

June 18
No Mission

June 19
No Mission

June 20
No Mission – Went to Toranto

June 21
No Mission

June 22
Group went to N. Italy

June 23
No Mission for me – Group went to Jugo.

June 24
Group went to Ploesti. Boys in next tent went down.  We lost 7 ships. Lt. Shamblins ship. Badly shot up. I set of controls shot out, but he brought it back. I was assigned to Lt. Ericksons crew today.

June 25
Group went to Vienna
Group turned back.

June 26
Group went to Vienna – 2 ships lost

June 27
Group went to Jugo.

June 28
No Mission

June 29
7 of my crew came back from Jugo. Lt. Smith & Cooper are believed to be P. of W. All are okay.

June 30
No mission for me group went to Jugo.

July 1
No Mission

July 2
Group went to Budapest

July 3
Mission # 28 & 29 – Giurgio, Rumania.
Oil & fuel dump.
Hit flak before target, light but accurate – several ships hit, one had to turn back on 3 engines.  Flak over target very accurate.  2 ships went down, 1 exploded very close to us.  6 ½ hrs.  1200 miles  Ship #211.

July 4
No mission for me.

July 5
The same
July 6

July 18
Mission to Fredrickshaven, Germany.
Turned back due to weather.

July 19
No Mission

July 20
Chuck & Lt. Mac. went on Fredickshaven. Got back okay.

July 21
Mission #31  Started for Germany, turned back due to weather – hit by flak & fighters in Trieste area.
Ship #165 - 5 ½hrs.

July 22
No mission for me – group went to Ploesti.

July 23
Mission #32  Berat, Albania.  Oil refinery good pattern on target. Flak light. No fighters.  Ship #237
3hrs 28min.

July 24
No mission

July 25

July 26
The same.

July 27
Mission #33  Budapest, Hungary Munitions Factory.
Flak heavy intense – Not to accurte – no fighters. 1 ship lost – Ship #165 – 7hrs.  1300mi.

July 28
Went to Taranto – visited a destroyer.  Had a swell time, ate supper aboard ship.

August 3
Mission #34  Ora, N. Italy  Brenner Pass Railroad Bridge.
No flak, no fighters  Ship # 378 – 7hr.  5-1000lb bombs.

August 6
Mission #35  Toulon, France Submarine Pens & dock area.
No fighters – flak moderate & accurate.  Ship #165 - 7 ¾ hours  1450 miles.

August 7
Mission #36  Alibunar, Airdrome.  Belgrade, Jugoslavia.
No flak, no fighters – A milk run.  Ship # 165 - 6:35hrs.min.  1100 miles.

August 10
Mission #37  Ploesti, Rumania. Romano Americano Oil Refinery.
Flak, heavy intense & accurate no fighters. 20 holes in ship.  Ship #165 - 7hr. 1300 miles.

August 12
Mission #38 – Marseille – Toulon area Shore Gun Installations.
Flak heavy moderate, inaccurate. Made two runs over target. Did not drop bombs on target. Ship #165 - 1450 miles  9 hours. Landed at Naples for refueling. Faierberg finished 50 missions.

August 13
Mission #39  Toulon Area.  Gun emplacements.
No flak. No fighters. Targets hit well. Ship #156 - 1400 miles - 7 ¼ hours. Lt. Mayo finished 50 missions.

August 14
Mission #40  Savona area N.W. Italy Gun positions.
Very little flak. No fighters.  Ship #237 - 1200 miles - 6 hours 40min.

August 29
Mission #41 – Po River R. R. Bridge  Ferra, Italy  Pilot Inglett
Flak heavy, intense and very accurate. We had #'s 1 and 4 engines shot out by flak. #4 lost all the oil and could not feather. #1 feathered okay.  Pilot managed to keep ship in air for 40 minutes till we bailed out. We threw all guns and ammo. out. Also A.P.U.  I was 4th man out. Chute opened perfect. Harness bruised right eye. Landed quite hard in hayfield 100 yards from Polish 8th Army Hdqs.  Bailed out from 7,000 feet. Two of the boys got sprained ankles. Pilot landed ship okay after we got out. I landed about 4 miles inside our lines. The area had been taken within past 24 hours.  We were in area near Fano – Polish soldiers picked me up and also the rest of the crew.  We had ship #378.  There were 138 flak holes in it.

August 30
We slept in a stadium near an R.A.F. base.  Waited till 4pm for a ship to take us back – R.A.F. C-47 took us to Bari where one of our own ships met us.  Got back about 9 p.m.

Septemberember 4 – Labor Day
Mission #42  Marshalling Yards  Trento N. Italy
Flak heavy, moderate accurate – Shamblin's crew went down – Ship #649 - 7 hours  5-1000lb. bombs  Brenner Pass.

September 5
Mission #43  Po River  R.R. Bridge Ferara, Italy
Flak heavy intense, not too accurate. We didn't get hit at all because we flew 1,000 ft. highter than rest of group. P-38 escort – Ship #893  5 ½ hrs.  5-1000lb bombs.

September 6
Mission #44 – Leskovac, Jugoslavia  T/C  German Troop Concentrations
No flak. No fighters – a milk run  Ship #221 - 4 ½ hours.  6-1000lb bombs.

September 8
Mission #45 – Nis Marshalling Yugo Yards
Flak heavy, moderate in accurate. Freeman finished 50 missions.  Ship #211 - 4 ½ hours.

September 15
Mission #46 – Larissa, Greece  M/Y
Did not drop bombs because clouds covered target.  Flak out about 1000 yards.  5 bursts.  A milk run. Ship #237 - 4 ¾ hours.

September 17
Mission #47  Budapest, Hungary  Marshalling Yards
Flak heavy, intense and inaccurate saw 2 109's over Jugo  6-1000lb bombs  Ship #610 - 1200 miles  6 ¾ hours.

October 4
Mission #48  Balzano  N. Italy  Brenner Pass Rail Lines
Flak heavy, Intense & accurate target hit well.  3-2000lb bombs  Ship #610 - 7 ¼ hours.  3 ships lost.

October 7
Mission 49 & 50  FINITO!!!!
Vienna, Austria Oil Storage
Flak, heavy not too accurate intense in flak for 9 minutes. Target hit well. 8-500lb bombs – 6 ships lost.  Ship #610   7 ¾ hours – had less than 100 gals. gas left when we landed.  Field was closed in when we got back. Ceiling 500 feet.  My last mission, what a relief.

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Link To Aircraft Pictures
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