Crew From New York City

Europe, 1944

Some team eh! My crew of the Howling Banshee certainly was some team. However, one of my buddies from the Lower East Side, Sid “Red” Katz, had his own A1 team in mind with me as their pilot. He sketched out a plane with his imaginary crew of the neighborhood guys he thought best would get me home alive. Most of these guys I knew from the Settlement House (which was like a YMCA) that served the Lower East Side of New York City.

Hand-drawn Schematic of Imaginary Crew
Hand-drawn Schematic of Imaginary Crew

Sid Katz served as a radioman in the infantry and was killed in Italy.

Julie Needleman was a navigator in the 458th at Horsham St. Faith. His plane was damaged during a mission but they were able to land in Sweden where the crew was interned. While there, Julie had a ball and lived the life of Reilly and was quite content. However, the Swedes had the Germans and US exchange interned personnel and Julie eventually was released, returned to Horsham St. Faith, picked up his gear and returned to the states.

Meyer Korman was a B-17 bombardier in the 8th Air Force. He survived the war, returned home to attend his sister Ruth’s marriage to Julie Needleman, and then settled in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Milty Gertzman was an engineering officer with ground personnel in the Army Air Corps stationed in Brazil during the war. I met Milty in Brazil just prior to my long flight to Africa in May, 1944. He saw my name on the board at 2 AM, climbed in his jeep and came out to the runway stopping my plane before takeoff. He climbed aboard, chatted for a while and said good-bye. What a small world but it was a delight to see my buddy before I headed off on the longest flight I logged …. an 11 1/2 hr flight to Africa.

Jack Masia (Yumi as we know him) was a medical person in the Infantry. Today he is one of my neighbors in Florida and a good friend.

I headed to London on most of my leaves. There I hooked up with another buddy from the neighborhood, Joe Doppelt. He was a courier for SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) and therefore had access to a jeep. So what better way to spend my leave then tooling around the great city of London.