DOWNING A DOODLEBUG – A 9TH AIR FORCE GUN CREW SHOOTS DOWN GERMAN V-1 ROCKETS OVER ENGLAND

By a YANK Field Correspondent

ENGLAND—One of the first gun crews of a Ninth Air Force Defense Command station to go into action when the “flying bombs” commenced their attack on England was an outfit headed by 1st Sgt. John Gregory, who played end on Columbia University’s Rose Bowl team of 1934.

The crew is composed principally of New Jersey and New York men who have been together many months and now constitute one of the toughest sharpshooting crews in the unit, with claims to many of the “flying bombs” shot down. The entire gun crew was on continuous duty for 72 hours during the early part of the attack.

Two members of the crew, Pvts. Richard Sawicki and Bigio Dipalo, both of Nutley, N.J., were on pass at the time of the first attack. When they heard their crew go into action, they half-walked, half-ran 12 miles to rejoin their outfit.



9th air force doodlebug v1 rocket flying bombs

Some of the guys who gave up 12-hour passes so that they could stay on the job making passes at the “Doodlebugs.” The Sketch shows the crew in the process of making a kill.

Sgt. Gregory is proud of his crew. “We knew the strain would soon begin to tell on the boys, so I offered some of them 12-hour passes,” he said a few days ago. “Hell, I thought they were going to start shooting at me. They wouldn’t leave that gun for paycall. I still can’t figure out when they sleep.”

Pvt. Tom McFawl and Cpl. Henry Mackin, school mates from Gloucester, N.J. who have stuck together throughout their entire Army career, each insist that the other was chiefly instrumental in the destruction of the first doodlebug.

“Tom, our telephone operator, was the first to see it,” said Cpl. Mackin.

“He didn’t get excited, just told Kane (Sgt. George Kane, of Roselle, Del.) that something new was coming over for us to bag.” Pvt. McFawl added.  “Boy, you should have seen Henry and the rest of the guys go to work. The pit got hot from the friction those guys caused when they moved.”

Other crewmen are Pvt. Lloyd Hurley, of Pennsville, N.J., Pvt. Lyman Johnson, of Mt. Holly, N.J., Pvts. Tony Pennino and Kenneth R. Fischer, of Bridgeton, N.J., Pvt. Sherwin L. Steinberg, of the Bronx, N.Y., Pvt. Eugene De Forno, of Salina, Pa., Pvt. George J. Longo, of Bloomfield, N.J., Cpl. William T. Kinnebrew, of Miami, Fla., Pfc. John Barron, of Scranton, Pa., and Pvt. Thomas Caruso, of Newark, N.J.

S.Sgt. Nathan H. Glick, of Montgomery, Ala., staff artist of the Ninth Air Force, waited several hours in the gun’s nest to sketch the actual killing of a “ Doodlebug. ”

Activated by Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, the 9th Air Defense Command will defend occupied territories behind the fighting fronts from air attack.



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