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1st Lt. Everett S. Frank
721st Squadron

Everett Frank - 1944

Everett Frank was born on December 3, 1917, in Ashland, Ohio. His father was a minister and by the time he was 10, he had lived in 6 different locations.
On December 12, 1928, his father and mother were killed when their automobile was struck by a Pennsylvania passenger train. They were killed instantly, leaving four orphan boys.
An administrator settled with the railroad 5 years later for $500.00.

Everett was the youngest and had just turned 11 years old. He and his brother were sent to a church orphanage, Otterbein Home, where he graduated from high school in 1935.
He worked in several jobs after leaving the home and was drafted into the Army on March10, 1941. Basic training started at Camp Wolters, Texas, and then on to Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

On December 7th, he decided he didn't want the “ground pound” for the duration, so he went down to Minneapolis, took the Cadet test and passed.
Before he could meet the Board, he got shipped out to Fort Pepperell, Newfoundland. He had to meet the board in six months and his time had expired, so he started over and finally was accepted.

He was shipped to Nashville for classification and sent on to Helena, Arkansas, for primary, and then to Basic at Walnut Ridge. The first day he was there the instructor was assigned six students.
He lined them up on a bench and said, “Nobody can handle six students, and three weeks from today, I'm going to have only 3.”
How right he was!! Everett ended up at Bombardier school at San Angelo, Texas. After graduation he was sent to Boise, Idaho, to be crewed up.
At that time there was a shortage of Bombardiers, he didn't get the normal leave, and was assigned to a crew halfway through phase training.
They went to Topeka, Kansas, for a new plane and flew the southern route to Italy.

He flew his first mission to Ploesti on June 24, 1944, and his final mission to Innsbruck, Austria, on December 25, 1944.

Everett married Kathleen Bolyard on December 20, 1947, and got an Engineering degree in 1950.
Everett and Kathleen having been enjoying retirement since 1980 in Florida.

In 1980, Everett visited the Innsbruk Marshalling Yards, the target of his last mission in 1944


The capitulation of Romania altered the picture considerably for Liberator crews. No longer would they carry bombs to Bucharest and Ploesti. But liberator missions were in the air for 20 days in September, mostly against other targets in the Balkans.

The following month, deteriorating weather meant that B-24 crews could fly only half the days on the calendar, although this included difficult visits to Munich and Vienna.

On 7 October, Liberators of the 450th BG flew Mission 151 against Winterhofen, in Austria. Bombardier 1st Lt. Everett Frank of the 721st BS/450th BG remembered;

"Just like on many other days in southern Italy, we were awakened at about 0500 for briefing. The night before, crew rosters were posted and we knew it was a maximum effort because 55 crews were listed to fly and our normal was 28 aeroplanes (four squadrons of seven aeroplanes each).

The officers sat in the briefing room with a din of noise, everyone talking and wondering where we were going. Silence fell over the room as the briefing officer walked up to the wall map covered with a huge window shade. As he hooked the pointer to the ring on the shade and slowly raised it, we could see the red tape, which showed the route to the target, going up and up and finally ending at Vienna. You could hear the faint groans from the men. The target was Winterhofen Oil Depot on the Danube, and we were to attack from 23,000 ft - kind of high, as we usually flew about 21,500 ft.

Take-off was to begin at 0841, and we would rendezvous with the 98th BG at 1014 at San Vito. We picked up 30 P-51 escorts at turning point Buc at 1200 and proceeded to turning point Kotoriba, where rendezvous was made with 55 P-38s at 23,000 ft. We continued on to the Initial Point. The bomb run was made on an Axis of 248 degrees. The gunners in the waist started to dispense chaff. This was bundles of foil-covered paper similar to the tinsel you hang on Christmas trees. It didn't help you, but it confused the German radar and helped the aeroplanes in groups following you.

Usually, 1 kept my heated suit turned up to a reading of 10 at about 15,000 ft. I would gradually turn it down until by the time we reached the I. P. I would have it unplugged and my shirt collar opened. This day we were toggling on the leader and I didn't have much to do. Under these circumstances I would usually watch the ground for the AA guns to start firing. They looked like little clusters of sparklers going of in groups of five or six. At that time the sphincter switch really tightened up and I would call out to the crew, "Be ready! It's coming!" It took about 30 seconds for the shells to reach our altitude. The first few burst usually gave you a good indication of how accurate the flak was going to be. That was a long 30 seconds.

The first burst this day told us we were in for a rough 20 or 30 minutes. It burst off our right a couple of hundred feet and right at our altitude. I was the bombardier and didn't have much to do except to watch for the leader to drop and hit the toggle switch, as I had already set up the intervalometer. What was I doing? Hiding between the nose guns ammo boxes and trying to get my knees inside my helmet.

The mission report later said, "Flak over the target, intense, very accurate and heavy flak of undetermined variety was encountered resulting in damage to 27 aircraft. Black bursts were predominate and a few white bursts were observed". I can assure you, they didn't overstate the situation. When I yelled Bombs Away! Let's get the hell out of here!" the pilot, 1st Lt. Charles "Andy" Andrew, called on the intercom. Then there was a pause. A very unnatural and scary pause.

Then Andy cried out. "Frank get the hell up here Rhea is hit!" He meant Charles Rhea. the co-pilot. I grabbed my parachute and headed for the flight deck. I got on oxygen and stood behind the console. Andy was in the process of feathering an engine and Rhea was slumped over the yoke. The radio operator, Ron Argust, helped me pull Rhea back off the yoke so Andy could pull the nose back up. Rhea regained semi-consciousness and we got his leg over the console and we finally got him onto the bench on the flight deck and hooked him up to oxygen He was relatively comfortable, but was in a highly emotional state. He thought we might bail out and leave him. We finally got him hooked up to the intercom and that relieved a lot of his anxiety. He then asked a simple question that I will never forget. He" said, "Andy are you going to get me home?" His voice had a pathetic ring to it.

'Andy replied, "What the hell you worrying about we aren't in any serious trouble". After we got Rhea on the bench I took my side cutter pliers and cut through his heated suit and pulled away his clothing. There was a big ugly hole in his right side. A piece of flak had penetrated the co-pilot's fuse box and entered his side. The co-pilot wore a backpack parachute and had the habit of just draping his flak suit over his shoulders without fastening the sides. The flak entered his side where he didn't have it fastened. Andy used to sit on his and pull it up between his legs as he had gotten married just a few weeks before we left the States.

When I got most of Rhea's clothing cut away I poured Sulphamilinide and dusted it into the wound on his side. I was amazed because there was hardly any bleed­ing, but of course it was way below zero and blood coagulated pretty fast. I then re-examined his chest and saw a big ugly wound just bellow his heart. It looked like a big clot of blood in the wound. I touched it with my finger - it was very hard, and I took it between two fingers and wiggled it until it came loose. I pulled on it and it came out. It was a piece of shrapnel about an inch-and a-half long and approximately a half-inch square. I put it in my jacket pocket and saved it.

I poured more Sulpha in the wound. Remember, this was before penicillin and antibiotics. We tried to give him a shot of Morphine, but he wouldn't let us. He was still afraid we would bail out and leave him.

We hadn't admitted it to the wounded co-pilot but this was an emergency. We had lost a lot of altitude and we were alone. We didn't think there were a lot of Luftwaffe fighters lurking out in the distance. We had another worry, for Andy's first concern was getting us over the Alps.

Don't think for a minute that flying that B-24 is easy. It's hard to keep that aeroplane on course and harder still to maintain an exact altitude. I slipped into the co-pilot's seat to try to help. By the time we got settled down, we had lost considerable altitude. The engineer, Joe Hornyak, had pretty well determined the extent of the damage - nose wheel tyre flat, one engine feathered, only partial throttle control on another engine, hydraulic system knocked out, tail damage resulting in partial control plus multiple holes. I took over the co-pilot's seat, and performed his duties to the best of my ability.

'We decided to attempt to make Bari where the 25th General Hospital was located. The trip to the Bari area was rather uneventful. Our plan was to hand-crank the gear down and lower the nose wheel manually We called the Bari tower and asked for permission to make a straight in approach. The engineer hand-cranked the gear down and lowered the nose wheel manually. The engineer notified the pilot that he wasn't sure if the left gear was locked down.

Our plan was as follows - I would pump the flaps down with the hand pump to the right of the co-pilot's seat on the approach using the hand pump. Andy said he would slip the aeroplane in against the left wheel and try to lock it, and when he hit the ground, he would signal me and I was to cut all the main engine switches to reduce and possibility of fire if the gear collapsed.

We were coming along fine on a straight in approach at about 4000 ft when all of a sudden we saw a B-17 flying the pattern on the down wind leg. It was the only time in my 35 missions that I ever saw Andy get excited. He was in contact with the tower and he yelled, "Get that SOB out of there or I'll land on top of him! I can't go around! Get that SOB out of there!" The tower was shooting red flares and the B-17 pulled up and went around. Andy slipped the aeroplane in against the wheel and appar­ently the gear locked. I hit the switches and cut all power. He held the nose off as long as he could and braked to a stop. He had enough pressure in the accumulator for one application of brakes.

'As we rolled to a stop at the end of the runway an ambulance met us and rook Rhea to the hospital. He recovered in several months and went home. No internal organs were perforated, the shrapnel following the flak suit on the inside of the muscles. During the landing Andy told the crew it might be rough, but unselfishly, radio operator Ron Argust, laid across Rhea so he wouldn't be thrown around in case of a crash.

They towed the aeroplane of the runway and the rest of us sat under the wing until they called our base, who sent a two-and-a-half ton truck up for us. I think we got home about midnight. That aeroplane never came back to our field.

Pilot Andrew and Bombardier-cum-co-pilot Frank were both awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission.

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