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Lt Ernie Rice, 321st Bomb Group, 447th BS, B-25 Pilot/ MTO
1945 | Italy
Lt Ernie Rice
Ernie Rice and Lt Fred Smith MTO WWII
1945 | Italy
Lt Ernie Rice and Lt Fred Smith; a TRUE Story!
" NEITHER DID I" Off the Island of Corsica in early 1945, I was a B25 co-pilot on a practice mission testing out the new Norad radar vector bombing system and we were zeroing in on a practice target in Northern Italy. It was a dark night but as I glanced out my window of the cockpit I saw a black B 25 flying on our right wing. I grabbed the controls and took us on a steep bank to the left and told Earnie Rice the pilot what I saw and he mumbled something about my combat fatigue and put us back on course. In about 5 minutes he glanced out his left window and saw the plane on the left wing and took us into steep bank to the right and went on IFF to make the plane identify itself, as we were dead ducks and he could have shot us down. I climbed up into the top turret gun to shoot it down if I had too. When I got set in the turret the black B 25 was moving up again to a right wing position and when I swung my turret around to take aim. He banked down and away and we didn't see him again. Good thing as I didn't have any ammunition.
Sometime later after the war in Europe was over and I was back in the States on rest leave. I read a story about the Germans having rebuilt a downed B25 . Painted it black and did spying on our missions and the pilot was interviewed and said one night he almost got shot down trying to find out why we were flying a single plane night mission. I went to the trouble of locating that pilot and dropped him a line introducing myself and advising him that we didn't have any ammunition and he wrote back and said" Neither did I"
Written by Fred Smith, B-25 Combat Pilot, 1945
Sept. 2008 to Barbi Ennis Connolly, historian;
Hi Barbie lot of hearsay in those war stories. yes I was Co pilot for Ernie on that confidential night practice mission and when we reported spotting the black B 25 ,our inteligence officer, told us to forget about it. The black B 25 had been seen on some day missions and it was kept quite for some counter intelligence reason. At Bomb reunions Ernie and I talked about the first official mission with that new system when I did fly left wing to the six ship formation he led. (see above)
Barbara Ennis Connolly, 321st Bomb Group Historian (2007-____) June, 2011 PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com