Tracy Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - May 26, 1944
|1Lt||John T Tracy||T122879||Pilot||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|1Lt||Edgar J Huff||T2008||Co-pilot||30-Dec-44||CT||DS to 56FG AAF Sta F-150|
|1Lt||James N Busby||T123701||Bombardier||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|1Lt||Benny L Costello||T123570||Navigator||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|T/Sgt||Arthur A Albert||36736301||Radio Operator||26-Nov-44||CT||Mission Load List|
|T/Sgt||James T Loyd||18194868||Flight Engineer||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||William L Case||37671775||Armorer-Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||Melvin K Keim||33619272||Aerial Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||Albert C Cramlett, Jr||17161892||Flight Engineer||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||Truman O Hagen||37291210||Aerial Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
John Tracy and crew were one of ten specially trained AZON crews who were assigned to the 458th in the spring of 1944. Originally intended for duty in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, their orders were changed en route and they flew to England instead.
The four officers, flight engineer and radio operator that had trained together arrived in England in May 1944, along with Pfc James E. Wright, an Electronics Technician assigned to keep the AZON equipment in good working order. The four gunners, not onboard the AZON aircraft en route to the combat zone, continued on to the CBI, being replaced by four different gunners once the crew arrived in England.
The specially modified B-24J that Tracy's crew flew over from the States was 44-40283, Lassie Come Home.
Tracy and most of his crew completed
their tour of missions on Christmas Day 1944 and were returned to the
States in January 1945. While T/Sgt Arthur Albert is not listed in the group records with the rest of the crew as receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross in December, he is pictured with several enlisted men at the awards ceremony wearing the award.
On October 23, 1944, navigator 1Lt Benny Costello was transferred to the 755th Squadron as lead navigator as part of 1Lt Robert Morford crews. Costello went on to complete his tour and was rotated back to the States in January 1945, the same time as his old crew in the 753rd.
1Lt Edgar J. Huff, co-pilot, qualified for first pilot in December 1944 and flew his final five missions from the left-hand seat. He was transferred to the 61st Fighter Squadron 56th Fighter Group on December 30, 1944 only three days after his last mission as a bomber pilot. He flew P-47's in the 56th, it is believed, until the war's end.
John Tracy Missions as 1st Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|08-Jun-44||UNSPECIFIED TARGETS||AZ04||--||44-40283||I||J4||--||LASSIE COME HOME||ABANDONED - WEATHER|
|14-Jun-44||5 TARGETS||AZ06||1||44-40283||I||J4||1||LASSIE COME HOME|
|15-Jun-44||3 RAILWAY BRIDGES||AZ07||2||44-40283||I||J4||2||LASSIE COME HOME|
|22-Jun-44||Saumer/Tours - Bridges||AZ09||3||44-40283||I||J4||3||LASSIE COME HOME|
|24-Jun-44||ST OMER||78||ABT||42-51097||T||J3||--||UNKNOWN 022||MSN #2|
|05-Jul-44||LE COULET, BEL A/F||84||ABT||41-28719||Q||J3||--||PADDLEFOOT||#2 ENG LOST OIL PRES|
|11-Jul-44||MUNICH||88||5||42-110163||M||J4||6||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|16-Jul-44||SAARBRUCKEN||91||ABT||41-28709||I||7V||--||LUCKY STRIKE||#2 SUPER CHGR|
|17-Jul-44||3 NO BALLS||92||6||--||--||--||--||SERIAL NOT LISTED|
|01-Aug-44||T.O.s FRANCE||100||10||44-40285||H||J4||18||TABLE STUFF|
|03-Aug-44||2 NO BALLS||102||11||44-40285||H||J4||20||TABLE STUFF|
|25-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ12||19||42-110141||N||J4||17||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN||LONG, G F/O (Nav)|
|26-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ13||NTO||UNK||--||--||--||--||ON BRIEFING SHEET|
|18-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR02||--||44-40475||D||J3||T1||JOLLY ROGER||LEAD|
|19-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR03||--||41-28719||Q||J3||T2||PADDLEFOOT|
|23-Sep-44||HORSHAM to ST DIZIER||TR07||--||42-52698||W||489BG||T5||THE BABY DOLL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|26-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR09||--||41-28705||W||753||T5||YE OLDE HELLGATE||CLASTRES|
|27-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR10||--||803||P||389BG||T4||42-40803 P B-24D?||ON LOAN FOR TRUCKIN'|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR12||--||41-29303||H||752||T10||LIBERTY LIB||TOO DARK TO LAND|
|07-Oct-44||MAGDEBURG||130||22||44-40283||I||J4||6||LASSIE COME HOME|
|14-Oct-44||COLOGNE||133||ABT||44-40283||I||J4||9||LASSIE COME HOME||RADIO MALFUNCTION|
|15-Oct-44||MONHEIM||134||23||44-40283||I||J4||10||LASSIE COME HOME|
|30-Oct-44||HARBURG||139||ASSY||41-28697||Z||Z5||A25||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
|02-Nov-44||BIELEFELD||140||25||44-40283||I||J4||13||LASSIE COME HOME|
|05-Nov-44||KARLSRUHE||142||26||44-40283||I||J4||15||LASSIE COME HOME|
|08-Nov-44||RHEINE||144||27||44-40283||I||J4||17||LASSIE COME HOME|
|10-Nov-44||HANAU A/F||146||28||44-40283||I||J4||19||LASSIE COME HOME|
|25-Nov-44||BINGEN||149||29||44-40283||I||J4||21||LASSIE COME HOME|
|12-Dec-44||HANAU||156||31||44-40283||I||J4||24||LASSIE COME HOME|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||REC||--||44-40283||I||J4||--||LASSIE COME HOME||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
|24-Dec-44||SCHONECKEN||157||32||44-40283||I||J4||25||LASSIE COME HOME|
|25-Dec-44||PRONSFELD||158||33||44-40283||I||J4||26||LASSIE COME HOME|
B-24J-155-CO 44-40283 J4 I Lassie Come Home
1Lt Edgar Huff missions as first pilot
|Date||Target||Pilot||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||HUFF||REC||--||44-40285||H||J4||--||TABLE STUFF||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
|25-Dec-44||PRONSFELD||HUFF||158||3||44-40118||S||J4||21||WE'LL GET BY|
|27-Dec-44||NEUNKIRCHEN||HUFF||159||4||44-40118||S||J4||22||WE'LL GET BY|
Distinguished Flying Cross
Lt Edgar Huff - 56th Fighter Group
Crosthwait, James C Naylor, Pershing B Trumble, Edgar J Huff, Thomas B Hennessy, Russell W Campbell, Eugene W Andermatt
Bottom Row: Vernon A Smith, Carl J Bokina, John A Arnold, Emmett S Barrentine, Thomas W Smith Jr., William R Hoffman, Ro
(Photo & Caption: www.littlefriends.co.uk)
Pictured here with his P-47 Lookin' Fer Trouble, Lt Huff was with the 63FS from January 1945 to July 1945.
He flew 9 missions and had 1 ground victory with 2 damaged on the ground.
Edgar Huff's great-nephew, Michael Howk sent the following:
He wrote a letter home to his father and to Freda [his wife], explaining his choice to stay and be in the Fighter Squadron. I assume it is his thoughts and not a form letter of sorts. The copy I have has no date but it has to be just after Christmas, 1944. Direct quote as follows:
"Should I not return to the United States, I hope that Dad, Freda, and all realize and know that I died for them - and willingly - with the hope that their lives may continue in the American Way. I never want them to regret or mourn, but to make life pleasant, to enjoy love for me, to remember only a big grin and a sense of humor that cannot be conquered - which will bring a smile or a laugh when things are all wrong and sad. May each sad, and blue, and discouraging moment be put to flight by a smile.
"Let all your lives be like a beautiful P-47 high above all else - untouchable -, swift sure and beautiful. Live life for me - not sad, but smile and laugh. I'll not be gone forever, but let me fly back to your hearts and make you glad. My love of flying takes me to a world of peace and contentment. Sunshine reflected from the clouds below, the air is so clear like sparkling wine. I'll ride on a cloud and my heart is filled with joy known only to a pilot who flies "HIGH COVER". I know and feel that a pilot never dies, when he leaves worldly things behind in what you term as "DEATH", he merely becomes invisible to you and as he crashes, invisible he pulls out, and flies on and up to breathless heights where God is the new "C.O.". A good pilot flies forever if his heart is in the sky - MINE IS."