CALVIN C. REINECKE|
World War II
History and Biography
(Taken from a letter sent to Will Lundy)
132 Fishers Shore Road
Columbia, South Carolina 29223
November 28, 1998
Thank you very much for your efforts in tacking down my father's information. It must bring you joy to bring the experiences of all of your comrades to the present for people like me to savor. My mother and I don't recall him talking about any units other than the 2nd Air Division and the 44th BG. We remember him being on at least three crews. He was morose after the war because the first two crews went down right after him being pulled off the crew for one reason or another (school or sinus trouble). He had guilty feelings about not going down with them, which I never understood until I got back from Vietnam. He bailed out once over Hildesheim, near Hannover, (Christmas Eve, 1944 maybe) and E&E'd back and crash-landed at Antwerp on an earlier occasion (your records show that one). From the stories that others told about him, he was one damn-fine bombardier and had practically aced the aerial gunnery school.
I have some additional information to give you in hopes you will be able to hand me off to someone else. It sounds like my father may have not returned to the 44th, or at least not to the 68th, after being sent off to school. According to my dad's personnel file, he attended the British navigator school. The entry was 14th CW, Hq, 8th AF D.R. Nav. two weeks.
Another entry on his Form 100 was "Completed nine high-altitude missions, accumulating 100 hours in a four-engine bomber - B24 using and maintaining Norden Bomb Sight, Radar Scope, and Gee Box against such targets as the Marshalling Yards at Karlsruhe, oil refineries at Mersburg, and a low-altitude mission dropping supplies [18 September 1944] and equipment to surrounded troops at Best area in Holland."
Two men that come to mind when I recall my dad's "war stories" are Studsy McCracken, who could talk like a sideshow barker, and Thomas Pesnakowski (sp), who everyone called "Penis."
My dad also talked about being a B-24 pathfinder, or at least being a lead bombardier, and said he had some association with Jimmy Stewart on one or more missions.
My dad brought home some Russian fur-lined boots. He said he got them in Russia. According to my rapidly fading memory, the mission was deep and it was shorter to fly on to Russia than to turn around and go back home. They stayed there overnight, or at least no more than a day or so. He did talk about the Russian female soldiers and vodka though.
At the end of the war, my dad's plane had just taken off when radio silence was broken and the announcement was made that the war was over. The plane dumped all of their bombs in the sea and did a 180, landing in Bluie West one (sp), Greenland. They refueled and flew on to New York City, where one member of the crew got off. They then flew on to Wold-Chamberlain Field, Minnesota (now Minneapolis-St. Paul International), landed the plane, taxied to the end of the runway, jumped out of the plane, and went home. My dad lived only six blocks from the field. They turned themselves into the proper authorities after a proper homecoming. They weren't worried about being AWOL for some reason.
I hope that these stories might assist you in giving me some directions to other units my dad may have flown with. He wore the Flying Eight Ball on his flight jacket. As I remember, the nose on the eight ball was all yellow.
May your holiday season be joyous,
Kris C. Reinecke