Ship No. - 05
Serial No. - 44-10550
My name is Don Baril. The picture is of the Spencer Crew.
From left to right top are:
Tony Fortuna-Engineer : Howard Haas-Bombardier : Don Littell-Navigator : Alan Anderson- Co-pilot (replacement for Herbie Hartford Co-pilot Killed at Linz) : James Spencer-Pilot.
Bottom row left to right:
Ernie Troupes-Tail gunner : George Veselka- Ball gunner : Dick Falcone-Right waist gunner : Don Baril-Left waist gunner : Tom Hagie Nose gunner.
We aborted on the day the All American came home alone. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I am the Bombardier from this crew that flew on missions from June 24 until the 1st week of December 1944. Crew as follows:
James H. Spencer--Pilot
Anderson --Co pilot
Anthony Fortuna--Asst Eng
Donald Littell --Navigator
Howard Haas --Bombardier
George Veselka -- Ball Gunner
Five of us are still alive and get together with our Pilot now and then. More to come later. Glad I found you.
Hi, Great job you are doing on the website congratulations. I have written previously about the crew members ( their names ) etc. I have contacted one member, the radio operator, and he tells me the plane is a B-24J. We were on the famous Linz mission but were forced to abort over the Adriatic.
Don Baril - Left Waist Gunner, Asst. Engineer.
Hi, I have some slight additional information relative to our bomber Miss Kay. I have phoned the pilot James Spencer and he tells me Miss Kay was a "J " model. He does not know the serial number. He explained to me that the ship belonged to Col. Glantzberg and that we inherited it from him after it was ground looped and the nose wheel plus a couple props were bent. I'm not sure who was piloting the plane at the time of the accident. Naturally it was repaired and given to us. We flew the old gal through our 50 missions (35 Sorties). I finished my missions Approx.. 6 or 7 in different planes.
I do not believe I will be at the reunion, but if so I will look you up.
Don Baril (Left Waist Gunner).
P.S.: Unless I am mistaken we lost at least 6 bombers on the Markersdorf mission #88. It was very bad from my vantage point. Unless I am mistaken on the particular mission I saw that many go down from the left waist position.
Hi, I have written before and since that time I have spoken to the Pilot ( James Spencer ) and to the Radio Operator (Dick Falcone). Neither have the serial number of Miss Kay.
Miss Kay was named after Col. Glantzberg's daughter and we inherited the plane upon our arrival at Torretta field in Cerignola. The Navigator, Co-pilot, Nose Gunner, Engineer/Gunner are deceased.
I have a completely different story about the black B-17. It did not fire upon our group. It fired it's veri-pistol rocket. I think they were asking to enter our formation. They did not fly away they were shot down by our gunners. I saw it happen and I don't think I'm wrong. It could have been a ploy on the part of the Germans I don't deny. It would have been possible for me to miss the gunfire from the B-17 but I did see the gunfire from the B-24's. Perhaps it is best forgotten. Don Baril
The model was an H series that was assigned to our crew when we flew. It was named after Col. Glantzberg's daughter. We flew it without a name until we had to crash land it at the base full of 100 lb. bombs. The pilot did such a good job that we only blew two tires on the right side and ripped up the propellers. Col. Glantzberg was in the tower and saw the whole show. He was so pleased that he named the ship Miss Kay. I don't think the crew was too pleased but so what! We never lost an airman in that ship and no one was seriously injured. You have put together a great Web page that I will print and send to my crew.
Howard Haas, the Bombardier, mentions that no crewmember was ever hurt or lost in that plane and he is correct in that statement. This, however, would seem to contradict the fact that we lost our first co-pilot over Linz. The explanation is that on our early missions we (our pilot, James Spencer) was assigned an experienced co-pilot for the experience element or so I assume. Our engineer, Tony Fortuna, was replaced by an experienced engineer on the first mission.
As the assistant engineer I did not fly on the first mission. Nor did Herbie Hartford our co-pilot. So when Herbie flew, he was assigned to an experienced pilot in a different plane, and they did not abort the Linz mission.
The pictures of Miss Kay after the taxiing accident are very similar to the crash landing we experienced, which was due to a tire punctured by flak. I failed to report it when I checked the landing gear down and locked procedure as the assistant engineer. In my defense, I will say that a tire that is without air pressure remains in an apparently normal shape until touchdown, although it is then useless.