SSGT Norman Frost USAAF

  

SSGT Norman Kennedy Frost in World War II Battlefronts;

 B-24 Liberator Mission Over Greece

Dad Army 1

 Dad Insignia SS PH Wings                                              

Dad was (is) a World War II hero.  He didn’t talk much about his war experiences until I was an adult.  Not only is he a military hero, but he also is a hero my life.  His values of right and wrong live in me today and it is these values that help me understand my life.  These values played a major role in achieving my rank of Senior Chief in the United States Navy.  Within his persona, there was fortitude to keep striving for success even in the face of adversity.  He had many sayings that helped our family get through hard times; one being, “we must get over these trials and tribulations.”  I interpret this as having the foresight that after one faces the trials or problems of life all will be OK and you MUST get beyond the problems to be successful and happy.

 

 

Dad Army 2

Pop overcame serious trials and tribulations when a German Messerschmitt fighter plane attacked his B-24 Liberator Bomber during a raid on a harbor in Navarino Bay, Greece.  After he died 1986, I researched one battle in which he participated.

 A 1942 Time’s magazine article records the event where he was a waist gunner and flight engineer on a B-24 Liberator aircraft called the “Witch” during bombing raids over Italy during World War II.  Although he was shot in the left knee, he continued to defend his aircraft during the battle.  He was subsequently awarded a Purple Heart for being wounded and was awarded the Silver Star for “Gallantry in Action.”  He saved his aircraft because he did not give up during a time of extreme adversity. The article below records his heroism.

Article from Time Magazine 1942

U.S. CORRESPONDENTS BOMB GREEK HARBOR

In an operations room “somewhere in the Middle East,” Major John R. (“Killer”) Kane stood before a map of Navarino Bay and gave pilots and crews of his bomber squadron a last-minute briefing. Airmen set their watches to the split second, piled into their planes. They were big four-motored Consolidated B-24s, painted salmon pink for camouflage and lettered with such names as Hail Columbia, Natchez to Memphis, Jersey Jerk, Alice the Goon. For these men of Major General Lewis Hyde Brereton’s Middle East air forces, who in the last 110 days have made 90 raids over Libya, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, it was routine. But for seven U.S. correspondents, permitted for the first time to go along on a mass raid, it was an eyepopping experience:

The first long hours of travel were monotonous, then: “As we near our goal we ascend to our designated altitude,” reported A.P.’s Edward Kennedy. “We all look a little like Mickey Mouse in the black snouts which are oxygen masks. It is cold up here and I see that a fly which came with us has expired for lack of air. It will not be long now.”…

Winston Burdett of CBS stood huddled in the cockpit of his plane, between the pilots. “Far below us lay the blue sheet of the Mediterranean and off to the right we saw the coast of Greece, barren and beautiful, with jagged mountains cutting down to the sea.”

Their targets were two ships lying side by side in Navarino Bay, laden with supplies for Rommel. The lead planes were almost in position. Grant Parr of the New York Times “crouched in a niche just behind the forward cabin, leaning out over the open bomb bay.” It was deathly cold, but he was too excited to notice. “With a slight jar our bombs fell away, seemingly far wide of their mark. Then momentum and wind drift whipped them in toward the transports like a fast curve breaking over the plate.”

George Lait of I.N.S., huddled in the glass nose with the bombardier, saw the ack-ack. He also saw “gun flashes from three enemy cruisers and gun flashes from shore batteries. Just as our plane was directly over the target, bombs from the preceding planes hit the ships. Our plane was tossed like a cockleshell. The target was ablaze.”

On the ground, miles below, a German officer went into a fury. The radioed orders from Killer Kane’s plane were confusing the German’s orders to his fighter pilots. “Get the hell off the air,” the German screamed. This struck the U.P.’s Henry Gorrell, listening, as pretty funny. It was not so funny when a handful of German fighters got off the ground. It was Gorrell’s plane, the Witch, last in the formation, upon which the Axis fighters swooped. Wrote Gorrell:

“Looking out of a window, I saw earth, sky, planes above, planes below, all mixed with ack-ack puffs as our pilot twisted, turned, sideslipped. . . . Someone shouted: ‘There he is, for God’s sake, open fire.’ A machine gun started clicking and shell cases flew all over the place. I looked at Jorgensen [the pilot] and thought he was hit, but it was only muscular contraction as bullets whizzed past. One of the gunners shouted that he had knocked down a Messerschmitt and Frost [a gunner] got a second one. Over the interphone I heard Frost tell Jorgensen: ‘I got him, sir. There he goes on fire.’

“But that wasn’t the end. The German pilot, attempting a suicidal collision, came straight in toward our plane. Frost gave him another burst and the Messerschmitt crumbled apart in the air. ‘That got him for sure, sir,’ Frost said. Then he added: ‘I’ve been shot, sir.’ . . .

The Witch

The “Witch” Consolidated B-24

THE WITCH

The Witch Nose Art

“Sergeant Breeding cut off Frost’s trouser leg, stripped off the blood-soaked sock and applied a tourniquet to his leg. My fingers were numb from the cold and the first-aid kit was flaked with frost. Iodine swabs were frozen solid. Frost smiled and asked for a cigaret (sic).” Sergeant Norman Frost was not hurt seriously. Two men were scratched. Worst hurt was the Witch herself: “The superchargers were shot away, the automatic steering device was ruined, hydraulics damaged, an aileron knocked off and the self-sealing tank had been hit once. The engineer said he believed we had a flat tire.”

The Witch and her pink sisters broke formation and headed for home, leaving behind them four Axis fighter planes destroyed, two Axis transports shattered.

The sun set in the Mediterranean. Winds, strange to U.S. flyers, pushed some of the bombers north as a moonless night closed in. From Major Kane’s plane all that Newsman Kennedy could see in the blackness were the stars:

WITCH Crew

“The storm had raised dust from the land and blown in the mist from the sea. . . . Then we see the lights we are looking for … put the plane down in the neatest landing on the darkest field I ever saw. We go to dinner. To the airmen, it was just a day’s work.”

 I possess his medals today as a reminder of his honor, bravery, and capacity to “stay the course” through extreme adversity.

The “Witch,” B-24D Liberator,  41-11840 98th BG, 343rd BS was lost on Ploesti raid Rumania Aug 1, 1943.  Crash landed at Bulgaria-Yugoslavia border.  6 POW, 4 evaded.  MACR 173

Audio of Henry Gorrell the Correspondant flying on the mission with the Witch

Photos of the Witch

http://www.b24bestweb.com/witch-v1-1.htm

http://www.b24bestweb.com/witch-v1-2.htm

http://www.b24bestweb.com/witch-v1-3.htm

http://www.b24bestweb.com/witch-v1-4.htm

http://www.b24bestweb.com/witch-v1-5.htm

http://www.b24bestweb.com/witch-v1-6.htm

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2 Responses to “SSGT Norman Frost USAAF”

  1. Oz Says:

    Awesome. I tried to listed to the Audio but NMCI would not allow it. I’ll listen to it at home.

    WOW!!! I wish I knew more about my father’s stuff during the war!

  2. Son Says:

    He’s my hero!!!!

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