Harris' Crew

The Harris Crew

Standing (L to R): Joseph V. Boisert, James J. Patterson, Barney Bordsen, John L. Cillian, Joseph L. Warren, Jr. Front (L to R): Robert L. Harris, Leonard W. Wieland, William A. Swiacki, David W. Traub. Photo taken in February 1945 (Photo: David Traub).

The Harris crew arrived in Sudbury on 10 April 1945, and was assigned to the 835th the following day. They immediately began training as a lead crew to learn the latest navigation procedures and bombing visually and by RADAR with Mickey sets.

On 20 April 1945, 2nd LT Harris flew as the copilot to the Wustermark marshalling yards. The next day 2nd LT Wieland flew as a copilot on the last mission to the Ingolstadt marshalling yards. On that mission the group had to bomb by PFF due to the undercast. For the next two weeks the crew went to briefing, but every day the mission was cancelled.

LT Traub was originally signed to a different crew. That crew, led by 2nd LT Nugent was nearing the end of its training when the bombardier was held back from every other crew. LT Traub trained Nugent's Armore/Gunner, CPL Hart, as togglier. Toggliers would release the bomb load upon the lead bombardier's cue. LT Traub was returning to the US and landed in Iceland in July 1945. There he ran into the Nugent crew, who had completed 25 missions by war's end.

LT Traub was reassigned to the Harris crew and completed training with them at Alexander AAB, Louisiana. The crew completed their training 18 Feb 1945, and was transferred to Lincoln, NE, where they received a B17G. After shake-down flights and practice missions, the Air Corps decided that the planes were not needed in England. The crew was shipped to POE at Camp Kilmer, NJ for tranfer to England.

On 23 Mar 1945, they departed NYC on the troop transport GEN GEORGE MEADE in convoy for the UK. The transit lasted 15 days, stopped at Le Harve, France, for army personnel to depart. The crew finally arrived at Sudbury on 10 April 1945.

Bill Swiacki was an All-American end in football at Columbia in 1946; the year that Columbia broke West Point's unbeaten streak. He went on to play with the New York Giants for a few years.

-- David Traub, 2003

Crew Info
Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status
Robert L. Harris 2n LT Pilot 20/04/44 20/04/44 flew as copilot
Leonard W. Wieland 2n LT Copilot 21/04/44 21/04/44 flew as copilot
William A. Swiacki 2n LT Navigator     no combat
David W. Traub 2n LT Bombardier     no combat
Joseph V. Boisvert CPL FE/Top     no combat
James J. Patterson CPL RO/Waist     no combat
Barney Bordsen CPL Waist     no combat
John L. Cillian CPL Ball     no combat
Joseph L. Warren, Jr. CPL Tail     no combat

Created 12/23/01 Modified 12/23/16

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