EUGENE B. FOGELSTROM|
World War II
Memories and Biography
August 9, 1944
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
Eugene B. Fogelstrom
609 Sunrise Ct.
Plattsmouth, NE 68048
November 9, 1986
I've been hesitant about writing as my recollections of most of the missions we were on seemed to fit a pattern. Flak, sometimes fighters, and always returning after a tom of sweating except the last one.
Thank you so much for writing the third letter about Lt. Davis. I called him but couldn't tell him much except I thought the reason the plane wasn't evacuated was, I heard the alarm in the tail but the waist gunners hadn't heard it. So we were slow in responding. Someone from the front came back to check on us and by that time, Lt. Peterson decided we weren't in a bad situation.
Now comes my vague memories. Mike, the engineer, came back and found one of the stabilizer cables severed so we used a short ammo strip and spliced the cable together, but as I remember, the splice was never used as we returned on autopilot. They must have their own controls and we descended with Pete (Peterson) using a toggle switch to land.
The mission that sticks in my mind better than the rest was, I believe, in July. Target is forgotten. We had the usual early morning briefing and then went out to our bird but had a standdown, then another. They even brought our mail to us. Had four letters from Bernice, who's now my wife.
It was a beautiful day. Early in the afternoon we finally got the green light. On the way back, while crossing the Channel, it was getting dark then. I saw flashing lights behind us. I called Pete and he told me to stay alert for them and keep him informed. Nothing unforeseen happened until we were ready to land. The runway lights were extinguished. It was dark, then, and the tower called out bandit overhead. Then it seemed hell broke loose. There was flak, except now no snake puffs, but fireworks. There were fires on the ground tracer bullets seemed to come straight at me. I was in the tail and had reloaded the 40s, but the tracers seemed to veer off at the last instant. I don't know if I fired back as I can't remember seeing any fighters.
We landed at a B-17 base near London and returned to the 44th the next day. Then we heard a neighboring base had been strafed and have never read anything about this mission, but I know I didn't dream it.
In my last mission with Dittmer, it was a routine flight. I thought it would be a milk run as it was over water most of the way and we had been there before. That mission I flew top turret. I believe an airfield near Hanover was the target and Dummer Lake our IP. Dummer Lake always had accurate flak gunners. In the turret, I saw smoke and maybe flame coming from No. 1 and possibly No. 2. The alarm was sounded. I was the second one out from the front. Counted to ten, pulled the ripcord and felt a slight shock when the chute opened. I looked around but didn't see the plane or any chutes. It was so quiet and no breeze. It was beautiful. No movement then I worried if I was heavy enough to bring the chute down (I weighed about 130 lbs.). Then I noticed I was losing altitude so quit sweating reached in my pocket for a cigarette but my lighter was in my lower pocket so started to unstrap my leg strap to get at it when it dawned on me I could fall out of the chute, so gave it up. Have always thought what the Germans would have thought of me coming down, smoking a cigarette. I wasn't that cool, but we do strange things sometimes.
I want to thank you again. Would like to obtain your 44th history. Let me know when it is available.