NORMAN N. SCHROEDER|
World War II Memories
The following is information taken from letters that Norman Schroeder wrote to Will Lundy.
28 September 1989
Let me start at the beginning - I was the Flight Engineer on the Lt. Jack Steele crew (67th Sq.) for nine (9) missions late in 1944 and thought I knew my job very well. Some of that crew were really good Joes, and some not so good. I didn't get along with them including the bombardier. He didn't like me, nor I him.
On our ninth mission he ordered me to pick up three flak suits and put them in the nose compartment. I did as he asked, but put them in the crawl space, as close as possible to the nose, and so they would not fall out on take-off. When he asked me if I did what he asked, I told him what I did, but that upset him. He gave me another order to do what he told me to do. Now, I, being the ship's Engineer, had other jobs that had to be done prior to take-off and others on our crew, like our armor-gunner could have helped. Why did he insist that I do it??
Well, naturally, he turned me into the Pilot, and that was the end of me on that crew. Later, I talked with my pilot and he told me that he was sorry, but he could not replace the whole crew, so it was easier just to replace me.
A day later, Col. Cameron had me fly with him. And as his Flight locker was right next to mine, I managed to tell him what had happened out on my crew. So he told me not to worry, "I'll take care of you" - and he did. I got to fly with the best of them - General Leon Johnson. I got to fly in lead ships - Pathfinders when their Engineers were absent, as well as with many other good pilots and crews. General Woods, who I took to Paris, France on Christmas Day, was another. And do you know what? I never got my DFC nor did one of the pilots and navigators with whom I flew!
Well, I finished my tour of duty and came home. Later, as I stayed in the Reserves, I was called back in and went to Korea, flew the A-26 Invaders. I also was sent back to Japan to fly all the test hops after they were repaired. I came home from there to become a Line Chief on the Flight Line.
I turned down an Air Force assignment and then the Navy asked me to go over, work with them. It was the best deal I ever had. I became a leading Chief of a fighter Squadron. Now, I had 20 years in the Air Force and 16 years in the Navy and retired.
I joined the volunteers in the Yankee Air Force and love it all. I work the Air Shows, etc. even some on the All American.
Norman N. Schroeder, ADC, Ret., Navy
28 September 1989
Dear Will Lundy:
On Christmas day before dinner and on that day you could not see because of the fog, Major Dale Benadon, pilot, copilot and navigator and myself, flew General Woods and his staff to Paris France. I never thought we would take off that day, but we did. We got lost and nearly went into Germany, had to back track out to the North Sea, down the coast line and then into France.
Even the General was on his hands and knees on the flight deck doing the navigating. Will, no Christmas dinner or anything else for a couple of days until we got back to England.
The other crews that I flew with were Lt. Maynard (492), Lt. Yates, Lt. Crandall, and Lt. Luke.
Lt. Yates was from Italy and needed three more missions. He was the copilot in Italy on the plane that shot down the Italian pilot.
Lt. Crandall and crew were flying on my right wing on the low raid to Wessel, were hit and blew up. One engine kept up with us for about 100 feet. We raised up over a German tank and I looked right down the barrel and saw it fire right at me. I was hit in both wings, but made it back to England.
Most people who finished their tour of duty got the DFC. I never did get one. I would have loved to have gotten it and I know the missions I flew were much harder and dangerous because when I flew, they only sent out a partial number of planes, also I flew pathfinder lead ship.
I joined the Air Force Reserve after WWII and went to Korea during the Korean War. Flew B-26. I spent a total of five years on active duty and 15 in the Reserve, then moved over to the Navy and spent 16 years with them. Loved every day of my 36 years of service.
March 16, 1997
First, to put the record straight. That is not Lt. Maynard's crew that flew the 100-mission on Nelson's plane (Iron Corset). When Lt. Maynard made first pilot and needed a crew, I became his engineer because I was around and came off Lt. Jack Steele's crew, which is another story. I was flying with Lt. Col. Cameron and a crew chief one day all by ourselves. Cameron's locker for our flight equipment was next to mine and we had a long talk. He told me he would take care of me and did (9 Feb 1945). I became squadron engineer and became Lt. Maynard's engineer until he finished his tour and went home (18 March 1945).
Now to get at the facts of the 100 missions. Lt. Louik, was the pilot and his crew with me as the engineer because his engineer was sick. Lt. Louik had a good crew. His boys were friendly and helpful. On that day, we were to fly on the high position left of the lead plane. We were on the bomb run when the waist gunner called out, "Look at the jet out there!"
I said, "Where," and there he was - an ME-262 just a little low for me to hit him but flying formation off our left wing. I didn't say shoot him but I was busy now tracking him, but too low to hi him. He was moving up alongside of us and I mean close. He was watching me and I him. Why the waist gunner never shot at him, I don't know and never asked. We were the only ones able to see him. The next thing I knew, here came a Mosquito and a P51 from high across our nose in a dive after him, because he turned to the left, into a dive to get away. That is the last I knew. We never reported it when we got home.
There was a crowd around the plane when we got home. They took our pictures and I didn't see Odis. Lt. Louik, is the one pointing at the bird.
The whole crew was very happy. I Looked for Odis because we were good friends. The first time I met him we took a liking to each other which is something he didn't do with flight crews.
He showed me around the plane and told me everything about it. He didn't want to lose another plane or crew. Believe me, every time I was leaving on a mission, I said good-bye and he gave me hell. He said, "Don't ever say that again. Say so long, and I remember that." The day his plane aborted, the engineer on it called for help to fix the problem, but nobody would answer him, including the pilot who I was flying with and I could have helped. The name of the engineer was T/Sgt. Steater from Ohio.
He talked with me after we got back home from our mission. He told me he had electrical problems with the generator. I said, "Pull the voltage regulator from that engine and replace it from the APU." They sent him to ground school and they didn't know that either.
Every missions I was on we never aborted. I flew with many crews and also lead the 8th in combat and never got the DFC. Maynard Pilot - C.OZAR navigator. We were overlooked.