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Veterans Stories

To Bobak's Crew - A poem from Don Beck, Bombardier

This poem appeared in the October 1996 issue of the 489th Bomb Group Newsletter and is published here with the permission of Charlie Freudenthal.

To Bobak’s Crew

I never knew so many thoughts could last
As beautiful memories, these 50 years past.
The bad and the ugly are lost indeed,
It is only the good we want to heed.
There were practice flights before we began
To go into combat, flying into the sun
Supplies were dropped to those who chanced
A daring jump which Montgomery advanced!

We went to Kassel, Cologne, Osnabruck,
Scared each time when off we took
Knowing for sure not all would return – On every mission there was a lesson to learn.
Then Hamburg, Stuttgart, and, yes, “big B”
With the sky turning black from the flak you see.

We were a lucky bunch of “sons of guns !”
Protecting our wings were those P51s.
A couple of times there was a one-o-nine,
Seen in the distance, but kept in line
By our “Little Friends” flying so fast
While under their contrails we safely passed.
We were over the target, an engine was lost,
Got to continue, regardless of cost
Too late to go back, too late to abort
Then on our way home with a Mustang escort.

Our last mission is flown, and past the tower we roar
Buzzing the field like others before,
Announcing the end of our combat tour,
And our thanks given to God, you can be sure.

We visit now, by letter and phone,
We who are left, who as a crew had flown
Those missions of war in the long ago past,
Those good memories we know forever will last.
Morgan and Gannon, Carlee and Meyers,
Walt Bobak, Al Crist, two wonderful flyers;
Mickelson, Gregorzak, and Dick Wagner too…..
Who could forget such a wonderful crew!

(In memory of Walt Bobak, Collis Carlee, Dick Wagner and Art Meyers, wherever he is – Don Beck)


Another poem from Don Beck

He writes: …… “Hidden in the archives, yellowed with age, another memory of the crew, Bobak’s Crew. Our first bomb group, the 489th in Halesworth, 4 hours by train from London……”

Let me tell you about Bobak’s crew, we were tougher than you know who!
The 489th was our destination, squadron 844 had our reservation.

We furthered our training, in combat to fly, Bobak our pilot, a hellava guy.
And Crist, and Wagner, Gregorzak too, specialists, always knowing what to do.

Carlee, Morgan, Meyer and Mick, the latter made the radio click!
Ball gunner Beck, into the waist he went, when Miller to Italy was sent.

The first mission flown, two planes were lost, supplies were dropped, high was the cost.
B24s flying so close to the ground, for the Germans their target was easily found.

Two passes made for that drop assignment, future missions we hope have more refinement.
Day after day, awakened at dawn, we felt at times like the CO’s pawn!

The numbers grew, then our hut mates went down, for the first time we had sorrow to drown.
But we were lucky, and nearby was Beccles, where we could spend some of our shekels.

And London, just four hours away, Rainbow Corner, and some time to play.
We met a family, in Dagenham they dwelt, and when with them at home we felt!

Rations “acquired” with them were shared, the Mess Sergeant knew not of what we snared.
Our passes to London were much too short, say good bye to friends, to the base report!

Alerted in October almost every day, we’ll finish this tour in a hurry that way!
But weather was with us in Forty-Four, 10 missions were flown, just one score.

Oft times we entered the German skies, before we learned of November’s surprise.
They’re going home to fly B29s, but Bobak’s crew was not in their designs.

We’ll finish our tour with Group 448, we were welcomed by them at Seething’s gate!

(Don Beck – written in 1944, published here in 2011)

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