Hartswick Crew – Assigned 753rd Squadron – December 21, 1944

Standing: Richard Hartswick – P, Donald Montgomery – CP, Robert Clarkson – N, Fred Massaro – B
Kneeling: William Freeman – E, James Smith – RO, Charles Garten – G, William Isinger – NTG, James Flood – G/Togglier, Frank McCrory – TG

(Photo: Jim Hartswick / Gerry Cabot)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

RankNameSerial #PosDateStatusComments
1LtRichard W Hartswick0721064Pilot01-May-45FEHAircrew Leave
1LtDonald A Montgomery0834853Co-pilot/Pilot06-May-45FEHLanding Accident Night Transition
2LtRobert L Clarkson, Jr02015188Navigator01-May-45FEHAircrew Leave
F/OFred A MassaroT7055Bombardier21-Dec-44UNKAssigned from 70RD
T/SgtJames L Smith39140154Radio Operator15-May-45FEHPromoted to T/Sgt
T/SgtWilliam C Freeman34777786Flight Engineer15-May-45FEHPromoted to T/Sgt
SgtJames E Flood36461572Armorer-GunnerFeb-45FEHAwards - Air Medal
S/SgtCharles H Garton18191550Aerial Gunner29-Apr-45FEHReclassified - Flight Engineer
S/SgtWilliam F B Isinger33809411Aerial Gunner29-Apr-45FEHReclassified - Armorer Gunner
S/SgtFrank A McCrory34927820Aerial Gunner14-May-45FEHReclassified - 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.

Missions – Richard Hartswick as pilot

DateTarget458th MsnPilot MsnSerialRCLSqdnA/C MsnA/C NameComments
03-Feb-45MAGDEBURG177342-110163MJ452TIME'S A WASTIN
06-Feb-45MAGDEBURG178442-95018JZ574OLD DOC'S YACHT
09-Feb-45MAGDEBURG179544-40285HJ458TABLE STUFF
14-Feb-45MAGDEBURG181641-28980VJ423UNKNOWN 009
19-Feb-45MESCHADE184744-40285HJ462TABLE STUFF
21-Feb-45NUREMBERG185844-40277PJ439MISS USED
05-Mar-45HARBURG197942-100408IJ447LADY LUCK / THE BEAST
08-Mar-45DILLENBURG1991044-10602EJ435TEN GUN DOTTIE
15-Mar-45ZOSSEN2041142-50499UJ338COOKIE/OPEN POST
19-Mar-45LEIPHEIM2071244-40277PJ450MISS USED
22-Mar-45KITZINGEN2101344-40277PJ452MISS USED
24-Mar-45NORDHORN2121442-50555AJ432BABY SHOES
31-Mar-45BRUNSWICK2161542-110163MJ479TIME'S A WASTIN
04-Apr-45PERLEBERG2171642-110163MJ480TIME'S A WASTIN
05-Apr-45PLAUEN2181742-50912DJ432THE TRAVLIN' BAG
10-Apr-45RECHLIN/LARZ2231941-28980VJ436UNKNOWN 009
11-Apr-45REGENSBURG2242042-110163MJ482TIME'S A WASTIN
14-Apr-45POINTE DE GRAVE2252142-110163MJ483TIME'S A WASTIN
16-Apr-45LANDSHUT2272242-110163MJ485TIME'S A WASTIN
18-Apr-45PASSAU2282342-110163MJ486TIME'S A WASTIN
20-Apr-45ZWIESEL2292442-110163MJ487TIME'S A WASTIN

Missions – Donald A. Montgomery as pilot

DateTarget458th MsnPilot MsnSerialRCLSqdnA/C MsnA/C NameComments
08-Mar-45DILLENBURG199142-50912DJ418THE TRAVLIN' BAG
15-Mar-45ZOSSEN204342-50608WJ322FILTHY McNAUGHTY
19-Mar-45LEIPHEIM207442-50912DJ424THE TRAVLIN' BAG
22-Mar-45KITZINGEN210542-50912DJ426THE TRAVLIN' BAG
24-Mar-45KIRKOFF213642-50608WJ425FILTHY McNAUGHTY
06-Apr-45HALLE219942-50912DJ433THE TRAVLIN' BAG
09-Apr-45LECHFELD2221144-50539BJ410UNKNOWN 045
10-Apr-45RECHLIN/LARZ2231244-40285HJ483TABLE STUFF
14-Apr-45POINTE DE GRAVE2251342-50912DJ437THE TRAVLIN' BAG
15-Apr-45ROYAN AREA2261442-50912DJ438THE TRAVLIN' BAG
20-Apr-45ZWIESEL2291542-50912DJ439THE TRAVLIN' BAG
25-Apr-45BAD REICHENHALL2301642-50555AJ446BABY SHOES
06-May-45Non-Operational Mission--ACC42-95216--J4 --Unknown 036Landing Acc Sta 123 

Escape Photos

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’

Safely back from a mission

Standing: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, William Isinger, James Flood
Kneeling: William Freeman, Unknown officer, Robert Clarkson, Richard Hartswick

(Photo: Jim Hartswick)

Taxiing on the perimeter track

Lt Scott A. Herdti (754BS pilot) and Jim Hartswick on the right

(Courtesy: Jim Hartswick)

May 1945

Above left, the crew is pictured in mid-May 1945, about the time that the Eighth Air Force were running “Trolley Missions”. These “missions” allowed ground men to be taken over the continent on an aerial tour of several German cities that the group’s had bombed in order to show them how their efforts had contributed to winning the war.  A number of crews also took tours of Cologne, Koblenz, and other German cites on the ground.  The picture on the right shows the Mistel (Mistletoe) Composite flying bomb. The Mistel 3-C (in this case) consisted of a Fw190 A-8 fighter mounted on top of a Ju-88 G-10 bomber. The fighter pilot would fly towards the selected target and release the bomber (packed with explosives), which would continue on to the target on autopilot.  There are a number of photos that appear to show this same configuration of aircraft, but none from this angle, showing the wreckage on other parts of the airfield.  It is unknown if this was part of the pilot’s personal collection.

(Courtesy: William Isinger & Jim Hartswick)

May 6, 1945

B-24H-25-FO 42-95216 Becky

(Photo: B24 BestWeb)


During night flying practice landings, Donald A. Montgomery was involved in a landing mishap, resulting in the landing gear of his aircraft being sheared off. None of the seven man crew was hurt. The aircraft, a B-24H named Becky, had been transferred from the 453BG on April 10, 1945.

The pilot had made a normal approach and landing speed was normal. The flare out was a trifle late, but the ship did not bounce…. Main landing gear oleo leg was sheared off at top of oleo cylinder… break would indicate that failure was due to a shear load on landing gear. Airplane fuselage was badly damaged between stations No. 2 and No. 7, fuselage was also twisted at front of horizontal stabilizer. The pilot may have made a harder than normal landing, but there is no proof that it was unusually hard. There are no facilities available for a quick testing of sheared oleo cylinder and no fair degree of responsibility can be placed because of those conditions.

Accident Report 45-05-06-517

June 1945

Standing: Fred Massaro, Robert Clarkson, Richard Hartswick 

(Photo: FOLD3)

September 25, 2007

Collings Foundation B-24 Witchcraft

Jim Hartswick points to his father’s name on the bomb bay doors after taking a 30 minute flight