Pilot Lt. Timothy Crowley

Lt. Timothy J. Crowley
February 21, 1921, Kansas City, Missouri
Wings December 1943
Primary Aircraft -- B-17
Other Aircraft -- B-24, A-26

8th AAF ETO 100th Bomber Group (Heavy) Thorpe Abbot, England. TDY Miragrad, Russia and Foggia, Italy during tour with the "Bloody 100th".

Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal 5 Clusters. 35 Combat Missions (and even a merit badge for being a good desk jockey after combat tour!)

Quote: "How nice to see you are serving the same ***#$&&#, food cooked in the *&*&*^^ *$&%*** stuff, you miserable Russian *#$U%)*)&". "Of course they didn't speak English, and we smiled and grinned the whole time we were cussin them out". "They thought we were nice "Amerikanskis" and smiled back and nodded their heads a lot..yah yah"   

(While the 100th was TDY in Miragrad, Russia-1944)



Cadet Timothy Crowley
Here's one of me in Primary Flight in Oklahoma. The picture was taken not long after I pancaked a PT-22 from 20 feet and broke the main spar shooting touch and goes at an auxilliary field . This happened the day after soloing in 6 hours. Was afraid I might get washed out right then and there. But I thought fast and told my instructor I had another plane scheduled for an hour and made tracks for the operations shack. They must have thought I was gung-ho enough to give me another chance.

Well that was the beginning....I will leave the middle for later. I remember the last mission pretty well. We were supposed to be done after 32 missions, but the brass changed the rules while we were in Russia, and upped the ante to 35 missions to complete a full tour.  It was a Mission to Munich. I was flying lead plane in the low squadron. Believe it or not, we had a 12 minute leg from the IP (Initial Point) to "bombs away".   Meaning straight and level, tucked in real tight so as to effect a good bombing pattern.  Naturally it gave the concentrated flak batteries plenty of time to zero us in. Let me tell you; 12 minutes never seemed so long!  (More about that run later by the way.

Well, sure enough we took a hit in the nose, and the bombardier was pretty tore up. He figured he was going to die anyway so he might as well go ahead and drop his bombs on the target, so he crawled back up and he pickled them right on cue.  I had my hands full pulling off the target with the plane shot up. The navigator went forward with the first aid kit and about threw up from the horrible mess the bombardier was in. So he said he gave the bombardier one shot of morphine and himself two.  What a way to end your last mission. As it turned out, our boy survived and I hung around for an extra three weeks until he got discharged from the hospital.


Here is a picture of the crew of the "Miss Chief", taken at Thorpe-Abbot, home of the "Bloody 100th".  "Miss Chief" purposely had no nose art.   
       
      B17 Miss Chieff Flight Crew
Belles-Top Turret
Hill-Waist Gun
Weaver-Radio Op
Curtain-Ball
Walsh-Waist
Segrist-Tail
Schwank-Copilot
Crowley-Pilot
Batista-Navigator
McKenzie-Bomb


Believe it or not, our navigator, Rudy Batista, was only 18. I was the old man having turned 23 a couple of months before. Segrist's nickname was "Horse Fly"........"don't ask me why".   

They're all dead now.... I am the only one left. It was a real shock this one time. I had been in private practice after leaving the District Attorney's office here in Sonoma County. It was sometime in the early 50s and I had just won a large settlement, and went back to Pennsylvania to visit my folks.

Jim Schwank lived in Reading, PA which is pretty close to my folks' home in Harrisburg.  I decided to call Jim, and his wife answered the phone.  I told her who I was and she just broke down crying and told me that Jim had died just a couple of weeks before. Massive heart attack. He was playing baseball with this team where he worked. He just keeled over and died. At least he got to die doing something he really loved.  She asked me to stop by. I did, and she gave me many of the pictures seen on the following pages that Jim had taken during our tour together.  

Next         Back