‘Rosy’ recalls high honor of leading raid on Berlin
Each year on June 6 as our country and the free world observe “D-Day of 1944,” the day of invasion, I am reminded of my own involvement in anticipation of D-Day in February of 1944 while serving as an intelligence officer of the 388th B-17 Bomb Group in England.
While on pass in London at the Red Cross officer’s club, I received an urgent telephone call from my superior, Major Harrison, by our established code, namely, “Rosy Come Home.” I road the train all night. A Jeep picked me up at the railroad station with the admonition that there is no time to change from my dress garb and drove me directly to operations headquarters to prepare for the intelligence briefing. I soon learned our bomb group would lead an air raid on Berlin with General James Dolittle flying in the lead plane, and to be performed by 1,200 American B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers, each carrying 10-500 pound bombs, to be released on every section of Berlin.
My superior, Major Harrison, was a well-respected veteran of World War I who wanted me to be at his side when such an important mission and air raid took place, and in particular, when our bomb group was leading the raid for the entire eighth Air Force.
Since Hitler had always reassured the German people that no bomb would ever be dropped on Berlin, and as we learned shortly after the end of World War II, this air raid, in particular, made it very clear to the entire German people that it was only a matter of time that they would lose and the end of World War II was in sight. Incidentally, all personnel and every one of the eighth Air Force bomb groups participating in this air raid received the Presidential Citation Medal, which I personally treasure as a reminder of one of the most memorable days of my life.