Photos (17) Add Images
Places mentioned on this page
Connected Pages Add Page
Links Add Link
Share Daniel's Memorial page on Facebook
About this page
Anyone can contribute to this page. Please sign in or sign up—it's free.
Silver Star Award
July 13, 1943 | Messina Sicily
From the General Order 62 9th AF 1943
Daniel J Kreutzer Staff Sergeant , 343rd Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group. For gallantry in action while participating in aerial combat on June 9, 1943. On this date Sergeant Kreutzer was waist gunner on a heavy bombardment aircraft. After successfully completing the mission against a vitally important enemy target, his aircraft was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire disabling one of the engines, causing the airplane to fall out of formation. Simultaneously, the plane was attacked by enemy fighter craft. Sergeant Kreutzer, although seriously wounded by enemy fire, remained at his guns and so skillfully directed his fire in coordination with the other gunners that they successfully repelled twenty enemy aircraft.
The entire crew was awarded the Silver Star which included Pilot Lt. Clarence W. Gooden, Co-pilot Lt Donald G Johnson, Navigator Lt Ralph F Perkins Jr. Bombadier, Lt William H, McNeil, AE T/SGT Oscar W Hauser, Radio T/Sgt Theodore C. Beaudry, Gunner S/S Roland B. Cox, Gunner S/Sgt Alexander M Cochrane Gunner S/Sgt Daniel J Kreutzer and Photographer Sterling T Hendricks.
IN MEMORY OF THE CREW OF DOPEY B-24
1 AUG 1943 | LYBIA, NORTH AFRICA
Dad joined the Crew of Dopey (originally Arkansas Traveler) sometime in early 1943 at (I believe) Barksdale AFB Louisiana
The Crew was Pilot Lt. Clarence W. Gooden, Co-pilot Lt Donald G Johnson, Navigator Lt Ralph F Perkins Jr. Bombardier, Lt Willaim H, McNeil, AE T/SGT Oscar W Hauser, Radio T/Sgt Theodore C. Beaudry, Gunner S/S Roland B. Cox, Gunner S/Sgt Alexander M Cochrane and my dad Waist Gunner S/Sgt Daniel J Kreutzer. They left the US per his discharge papers 4 Apil 43 flying the southern route to North Africa which I believe Dad said was to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Ascension Island, Cairo Egypt and finally Lybia arriving 15 April 43. Did go to Bethleham and Jereslum, and stationed shortly in Tunisa and Sicily
Their first Action was 25 April 43 but did not drop Bombs as Bomb Bay door didn't open. Dad had 14 flights in action with most of the same crew, bombing mainly locations in Sicily (Bari Aerodrome, Reggio, Messina, Catania, Auguste, Foggia etc). They were quite successful with the full crew returning intact each time including their toughest mission of 9 June 43, (see above Silver Star award and news articles (images) downloaded) until Dad was injured on that date. He ended up with shrapnel next to his spine (carried the shrapnel in his back until he died) and was grounded. On 1 August 43, 6 members of the original B-24 Dopey, flew a new plane (Margie A Virgin) and were involved in the infamous Ploesti raid. The B-24 was shot up pretty bad, and upon landing somewhere in Europe, caught fire with 6 members of the former DOPEY CREW: Gooden, , Perkins, McNeil, Beaudry, Cox, and Cochrane, losing their lives.
Dad would not talk much about the War but especially about the crew and his friends from the Dopey. When I obtained all of the Sortie records and learned about what happened, I finally realized the hell he must have gone through on this day and the rest of his life. So, in memory of MY DAD, the CREW of DOPEY and their families I WILL NEVER FORGET !!!!
16 October 1945 | Derby Colorado
Dad met Mom before the war started and dated some. When he left the US he stopped writing to Mom until sometime after he was grounded and decided that he was going to survive the war. When he returned to the states in April 1945, they started dating again and got married Oct 16, 1945. They were married for 58 years and had 16 children. This resulted in over 200 grandchildren and great grandchildren and still counting.
Dad worked all his life at various jobs and finally retired around 1981. Mom worked all her life raising 16 kids and is still active in her family. Dad and Mom were very active in their Catholic Church including Dad doing a lot of work around the church grounds, working on the annual fund raising church fairs and Mom being involved not only the same fairs but also teaching religious classes for kids at the church. I can’t tell you how much time they spent there but it was a good upbringing for us kids.
The results are seen in various ways including 4 of us graduating from college, many attending various community colleges with degrees, 2 served in military service during the Vietnam era, and we all helped out with numerous church activities.
I could tell a lot of stories about us but MOM AND DAD did a great job for us kids and I don’t know how we could ever thank them enough for what they did for us and continue doing to guide us through our individual lives, Through this all they never asked for recognition but if any one deserved it, it was them.
THANK YOU MOM AND DAD
Survival in the water
30 Sept 1943 | Libyia
Another story about Dad after he was permanently grounded from flying. Brother Dan sent this email to me, describing what happened. I think you will like to read it also. Dad told me about the time he was missing in action. It happened sometime between Sept and Dec of 1943. Because he was wounded he could not fly with the squadron. Apparently 4 other members of the squadron were with him on the ship getting ready to transfer. Dan's story: He was getting ready to ship out from Libya to Italy and was on the waterside of the ship. The torpedo hit the ship and a fire started. His first thought was to get away from the fire and he jumped overboard. It was dark but did have his life preserver on and thought everything was going to be all right. When he came up to the surface, he was in a patch of oil which was on fire. He got burned somewhat and went back down to swim away from the fire. When we got away from the oil, he started drifting away from the ship. He yelled for help but was not heard. He drifted all night and started to see what he had on him and all he had was a knife, which he promptly lost. The next day, a British mine sweeper saw him and picked him up. The minesweeper was under total silence and could not notify anyone that they had Dad. He was on the ship for three days enjoyed the rest and food but his company clerk, put him on the missing in action report. When he finally arrived in port in Sicily, he was able to locate his company and was sent to Italy. When he arrived there, he was still in the uniform he was wearing from the day he jumped off the ship, plus he had not shaved etc. He was a mess. When he was picked up by a driver, he was told to immediately report to the company commander. Upon reporting the first thing the Company commandeer said to him was "SGT Kreutzer, don't ever report to me in the condition" Get yourself cleaned up and presentable. But Dad smiled inside because he saw the twinkle in the Commander's eye, that he had one of his men back in good condition.
WWII Stories from Dad
April to June 1943 | Lybia
Dad indicated that the guys were all scared on thier missions but did thier jobs as necessary. He said that they would see Dad use his rosary during his flights and they asked him to pray for them as they didn't know what to say and of course he would.
He said that the June 9th Mission had some tough things that happened. They were going though hell after the bombing mission as one engine was hit and they couldn't keep up with the rest of the group. They were attacked by 20 enemy fighters and the group shot down at least 4 with Dad getting one. At one point one of his team was injured and was real scared. Dad who also was injured in the back and leg) kept yelling at him to get up and fight as he was going back and forth between the two waist guns firing away. Finally the guy went back to man his gun.
During the same mission, one of the gunners was wounded real bad with injuries in several areas including the neck. The enemy fighters finally pulled away and it was time to see what damage happened. They guys found out they had lost two engines and the pilot was having a tough time continuing to fly the plane when the Pilot said they needed to lighten the plane. The guys threw everything they could out inlcuding weapons, bullets, anything to lighten the load. Dad went over to the injured guy and tried to stop the bleeding in his neck. He just grabbed the vein and tried to put a bandage on and gave him a shot of morphine to help with the pain. Some of the guys thought he was going to die and they wanted to thow him overboard. But Dad stood over him and told the rest that he wouldn't allow it. They tried and tried and dad said finally with a pistol in his hand that he would not allow his teammate to be abandoned. They of course landed barely in Malta . Some years later, Dad attended a 98th Bomb group reunion in Pueblo Colorado, and this gentleman came over to Dad's table and said here is the guy that saved my life. Can you imagine the feelings Dad had at that time.
After he was gounded from his injuries, he wanted to stay in the war and was assigned to manage the group motorpool. One time he had to take a group of pilots to some R&R in Rome Italy. They had a great time and the officers wanted to stay longer but dad had to get back to the base. The officers said that wanted to stay and Dad asked if that was an order or not. They said it was an order and so he stayed and did not get into trouble although the officers may have.