Hartswick Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - December 21, 1944
(Photo: Jim Hartswick)
Flying at the End of Hostilities
|1Lt||Richard W Hartswick||0721064||Pilot||01-May-45||FEH||Leave|
|1Lt||Donald A Montgomery||0834853||Co-pilot/Pilot||06-May-45||FEH||Landing Accident Night Transition|
|2Lt||Robert L Clarkson, Jr||02015188||Navigator||01-May-45||FEH||Leave|
|F/O||Fred A Massaro||T-7055||Bombardier||21-Dec-44||UNK||Assigned from 70RD|
|T/Sgt||James L Smith||39140154||Radio Operator||15-May-45||FEH||Promoted to T/Sgt|
|T/Sgt||William C Freeman||34777786||Flight Engineer||15-May-45||FEH||Promoted to T/Sgt|
|Sgt||James E Flood||36461572||Armorer-Gunner||Feb-45||FEH||Awards - Air Medal|
|S/Sgt||Charles H Garton||18191550||Aerial Gunner||29-Apr-45||FEH||Reclassified - Flight Engineer|
|S/Sgt||William F B Isinger||33809411||Aerial Gunner||29-Apr-45||FEH||Reclassified - Armorer Gunner|
|S/Sgt||Frank A McCrory||34927820||Aerial Gunner||14-May-45||FEH||Reclassified - Armorer Gunner|
Lt Richard Hartwick's crew was assigned to the 753rd Squadron on December 21, 1944. On January 16, 1945, the crew, with Instructor Pilot 2Lt James Goodgame [co-pilot on Lt Edward Sealy Crew], flew their first mission to Magdeburg, Germany from which they were lucky to have returned. [Jim Hartswick (Richard's son) related that James Goodgame was the reason that his father and crew came back alive from this first mission. "They were flying on the extreme right of the formation when the flak started and Goodgame taps my dad on the arm and said, 'I’ve got it'. He side slipped the plane way right and then there was a flak burst right where the plane had just been. He side slipped the plane back into formation and said, 'You’ve got it'. Dad found out that if you paid attention, that you could see when the flak gunners were adjusting their guns because they shot behind you and then just advanced the gun farther and farther ahead until they were inside the formation. I owe Mr. Goodgame my life.]
There is no explanation for the 13-day gap between their first mission and their second flown on January 29th. Beginning on February 3rd, the crew’s next four missions would be flown to Magdeburg; twice to the Rohensee oil refinery and twice to the marshaling yards. By the end of the month they would have completed eight missions, not yet 1/3 of the way to completing their required 35.
The bulk of the crew’s combat flying would be done over the next two months, flying eight missions in March and nine in April; their last on the 20th to bomb the railroad bridge near Zwiesel, Germany. While flying a total of 13 different aircraft, it appears that the crew had found a “regular” on their last five missions. B-24JAZ-140 CO 42-110163 J4 M Time’s A Wastin’ was originally with the 492nd BG and was transferred to the 458th in May or June 1944, going to the 753rd SQ (J4). This aircraft’s first mission with the group was flown on D-Day and by the time the war was over there were symbols for 86 missions painted on the nose. In June 1945, Hartswick and members of the crew, along with several ground men, were assigned to ferry Time’s A Wastin’ back to the States.
At some point around the beginning of March 1945, Donald A. Montgomery, the crew’s co-pilot was chosen to command his own crew – quite unusual given that he had only flown about ten missions or so with Hartswick. Nevertheless, group records show that he started flying as first pilot on March 8, 1945 and completed 17 missions by April 25, 1945. The members of his crew are not known for certain, but an incident during May could provide a clue. On May 6, 1945, with the war all but over, training still continued at Horsham. Montgomery was practicing night landings when, on the third landing, the left main gear collapsed and the aircraft went off the runway grinding to a halt with the wing scraping the ground. The crew were unhurt.
According to the accident report, the men on board with Montgomery were instructor pilot 2Lt William E. Sloan and five other crew members consisting of 2Lt Fred F Jeffers (QD, P), 2Lt Hugh R. Maxon (N), S/Sgt Joseph A. Driggs (E), Sgt Charles G Neely (G) and Sgt Willard A. Rodermel (G). All but Sloan and Maxon had been assigned in December 1944 on Captain James Gardner’s crew. Captain Gardner had been moved up to 753rd Squadron HQ and flew several missions as a command pilot. It is possible that Montgomery took over members of this crew as his own in March 1945. Sloan had arrived in mid-February as a pilot with his own crew and Maxon at the beginning of March.
Likewise it is not known who took over as co-pilot for Montgomery on Hartswick’s crew. Fred Massaro has related that he, as bombardier, received navigator training and was assigned to another crew. Unfortunately there is no mention of Massaro in either group or squadron records. His place was apparently taken by James Flood who became the crew’s togglier. Massaro is pictured with Hartswick and Clarkson (N) preparing to ferry Time’s A Wastin’ back to the States.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|29-Jan-45||MUNSTER||175||2||42-50768||Y||J4||25||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|03-Feb-45||MAGDEBURG||177||3||42-110163||M||J4||52||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|06-Feb-45||MAGDEBURG||178||4||42-95018||J||Z5||74||OLD DOC'S YACHT|
|05-Mar-45||HARBURG||197||9||42-100408||I||J4||47||LADY LUCK / THE BEAST|
|08-Mar-45||DILLENBURG||199||10||44-10602||E||J4||35||TEN GUN DOTTIE|
|14-Mar-45||HOLZWICKEDE||203||ACC||42-100408||I||J4||--||LADY LUCK / THE BEAST||DAMAGED (N GRD EXPLOSION|
|23-Mar-45||OSNABRUCK||211||WTHR||42-50608||W||J4||--||FILTHY McNAUGHTY||WEATHER SHIP|
|31-Mar-45||BRUNSWICK||216||15||42-110163||M||J4||79||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|04-Apr-45||PERLEBERG||217||16||42-110163||M||J4||80||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|05-Apr-45||PLAUEN||218||17||42-50912||D||J4||32||THE TRAVLIN' BAG|
|09-Apr-45||LECHFELD||222||18||42-110141||U||J4||54||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|11-Apr-45||REGENSBURG||224||20||42-110163||M||J4||82||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|14-Apr-45||POINTE DE GRAVE||225||21||42-110163||M||J4||83||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|16-Apr-45||LANDSHUT||227||22||42-110163||M||J4||85||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|18-Apr-45||PASSAU||228||23||42-110163||M||J4||86||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|19-Apr-45||ZWIESEL||SCR||--||42-110163||M||J4||--||TIME'S A WASTIN||SCRUBBED|
|20-Apr-45||ZWIESEL||229||24||42-110163||M||J4||87||TIME'S A WASTIN|
Top Row: Richard Hartswick, Robert Clarkson, Unknown
Middle Row: Donald Montgomery, William Isinger, Fred Massaro
Bottom Row: James Flood, William Freeman, Charles Garten
Courtesy: Jim Hartswick
B-24JAZ-140-CO 42-110163 J4 M Time's A Wastin'
Standing: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, William Isinger, James Flood
Kneeling: William Freeman, Unknown officer, Robert Clarkson, Richard Hartswick
(Photo: Jim Hartswick)
Lt Scott A. Herdti (754BS pilot) and Jim Hartswick
(Courtesy: Jim Hartswick)