Summary

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Birth:
1917 1
Pennsylvania 1
Death:
04 Feb 1944 2
North Sea 2
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Raymond Wilson Fritzinger 2
Person:
Raymond W Fritzinger 1
Level of Education: 1 year of high school 1
Marital Status: Married 1
Birth:
1917 1
Pennsylvania 1
Death:
04 Feb 1944 2
North Sea 2
Cause: B-17 Nobody's Baby was shot down over the North Sea 2
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Marriage:
Ethel L. Wright 2
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Enlistment Date:
10 Nov 1942 1
Army Branch:
Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA 1
Army Component:
Selectees (Enlisted Men) 1
Army Serial Number:
33481601 1
Enlistment Place:
Allentown Pennsylvania 1
Enlistment Term:
Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law 1
Source of Army Personnel:
Civil Life 1
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Occupation:
Automobile mechanic 2
Occupation:
Skilled mechanics and repairmen, motor vehicles 1
Race or Ethnicity:
White 1
Source Information:
Box Number: 0665 1
Film Reel Number: 1.182 1

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Stories

A Salute To A Legion Of Heroes Their Stories Are Worth Recalling Even If Memories Have Faded

  • A Salute To A Legion Of Heroes Their Stories Are Worth Recalling Even If Memories Have Faded
  •  
  •  

    Raymond W. Fritzinger was aware of his fate. Before he went off to war in November, 1942, the Walnutport auto mechanic told relatives privately that he didn't think he would be back

     

    Less than 1 1/2 years later, Sergeant Fritzinger was missing in action. A tailgunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, his plane was shot down over the North Sea on Feb. 4, 1944, as it was returning to England from a bombing mission to Frankfurt, Germany.

    Just 26 years old, Fritzinger was declared dead on Sept. 18, 1945, the first man from the borough of Walnutport killed in World War II.

     

    He left behind a wife, Ethel (Wright) Fritzinger, and a 2-year-old son, Darrel.

     

    Darrel, now a New Tripoli resident, followed in his father's footsteps. A former jet mechanic in the U.S. Air Force and a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Darrel now works for the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment Service. Darrel remembered nothing about his father and said his late mother never talked much about him. But recent years have brought insight into his father's life.

     

    In 1986, when the 42-year-old Raymond W. Fritzinger Post 7215, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Walnutport, rededicated its war memorial, Darrel chatted for the first time with borough residents who knew his father. He also obtained some of his father's military records, learning for the first time exactly how he died.

     

    November 10, 1988 by JODI DUCKETT, The Morning Call, Allentown Pennsylvania 

401sT BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H)

Station 128 Deenethrope, Northamptonshire, England

Page 84

 

4th  February  1944. 

Frankfurt  - flak. 

 

"We always  avoid  the  Ruhr  for  this  reason  unless,  of  course,  there  is  an 

assigned  target.  It  has  many  nicknames,  particularly  "Flak  Valley"  and 

"Happy  Valley".  Well,  unfortunately,  we  "toured  the  Ruhr"

and  it  compared  with  Cognac  in  many  respects.  I  have  to  confess  that  by  this  time  I 

was  becoming  a  little  "Flak  Happy"  and  frankly  hated  to  even  "'watch  the 

damned  stuff."

 

1st  Lt.  William  W.  Dolan. 

615th  Sqdn.  Bombardier. 

 

The  loss  of  Lt.  J.F.  Zitkovic  and  Crew  - sadly,  there  were  no  survivors. 

 

"The  aircraft, apparently  hit  by  flak,  was  straggling  some  4,000  feet 

lower  than  the  formation  (about  18,000  feet).  All  four  engines  were 

turning  over  and  the  aircraft  seemed  to  be  under  control.  Flak  was 

bursting  all  around  the  ship  when.  last  seen." 

 

2nd  Lt.  Clifford  C.  Bergeson 

614th  Sqdn.  Co-pilot. 

 

 

Page 12 

 

February  1944 

The  Group  chalked  up  ten  more  missions  in February  - one  more  than  the 

previous  month.  The  reason  for  this  was  a  decision  reached  by  USAAF  and

RAF  officials  to  hammer  the  Air  Volar  home  to  Germany  while  the  Luftwaffe 

and  German  industrial  cities  were  still reeling  from  previous  blows.  Day 

and  night,  the  skies  over  England  resounded  with  the  heavy  roar  of  planes 

on  their  way  to  Occu~ied Europe. 

Strategically  it was  decided  to  strike  at  the  main  barrier  in  the  way 

of  the  invasion  of  the  Western  front  -- the  Luftwaffe.  For  this  reason the

factories  and  plants  manufacturing  German  fighter  planes  were  struck  time 

and  time  again.  Whole  airfields  and  airdromes  were  obliterated  in  northwestern  France  and  western  Germany. 

At  the  time  it was  impossible  to  judge  the  results.  staggering  blows  were 

delivered  to  the  German  aircraft  production  plants,  but  only  the  skies 

over  the  Second  Front  could  give  the  true  answer. 

Captain  Dehlyn  "Hi  Ho"  Silver  led  the  Group  on  its  19th  mission,  when 

Hilhelmshaven,  the  great  port  and  fighter  base  on  the  North  Sea  coast  was 

attacked.  Over  1,100  fighters  and  bombers  participated.  The  401st  immerged 

unscathed  and  the  bombing  results  were  good.  The  date  was  3rd  February. 

The  next  day,  the  4th,  Lt.  Col.  Harris  E.  Rogner,  the  Air  Executive,  was 

transferred  to  94th  Combat  i;/ing  Headquarters  and  Lt.  Col.  Burton  K.  Voorhees  arrived  from  \'/ing  to  take  his  place. 

Thus  departed  one  of  the  key  figures  in  the  401st.  A  great  athlete  at 

West  Point,  a  pilot's  pilot  and  one  of  the  most  popular  and  respected 

officers  in  the  Group,  his  loss  was  felt  keenly  by  the  enlisted men  as 

well  as  his  fellow  officers. 

A  fellow  officer said  of  him: 

IIHe  had  the  knack  of  handling  men  because  he  could  do  any  job  just  a  little  bit  better  than  the  next  fellow  whether  playing  baseball,  leading  a 

formation  of  Fortresses,  breaking  records  at  skeet,  handling  a  billiard 

cue,  or  conducting  the  myriad  executive  duties  of  his  office,  Colonel 

Rogner  was  tops. 

He  was  'tlhat  they  had  in  mind  when  the  phase  "An  officer  and  a  gentleman" 

was  coined." 

On  October  11th  1944  Col.  Rogner  took  over  as  Commanding  Officer  of  the 

457th  B.G.  (H)  at  Glatton,  a  member  of  the  94th  Combat  Bomb  Wing.  The 

post  war  years  saw  Col.  Rogner  attend staff  college  and  then  serve  with 

NATO.  During  the  Korean  War  he  was  given  a  combat  command  and  led several 

B-29  missions.  It  proved  to  be  his  last  command  because  late  in  1951,  on 

his  way  home  in  a  3-29,  he  was  killed  in  the  crash  of  the  B-29  as  it  attempted  an  instrument  landing  at  Barksdale  Field,  Louisana. 

On  28th  July  1945  Col.  Rogner  and  his  second  in  command,  Lt.  Col.  William 

F.  Smith,  flew  a  B-25  from  their  Sioux  Falls  base  to  Ne\'/"ark,  New  York, 

where  Col.  Rogner  spent  the  weekend  with  his  family.  He  allowed  Lt.  Col. 

Smith  to  go  on  to  Bedford,  Massachusetts,  with  the  B-25  so  that  he  could 

pick  him  up  at  Newark  the  follo\·ling  day.  On  the  following  day  Lt.  Col. 

Smith  found  himself  in  very  bad  weather  over  New  York,  and,  after  a  zigzag  course  between  the  towering  building  of  the  city struck  the  Empire  state  Building,  passing  clean  through  it and  out  the  other side. 

 

Page 13 

 

On  the  same  day  that  Col.  Rogner  moved  to  Polebrook  to  join  the  94th  C.B. 

Wing,  Major  Brooks  led  the  Combat  Wing  on  a  mission  to  Frankfurt.  It was 

the  20th  mission  and  despite  intense  flak,  the  Wing  ploughed  through  a 

heavy  overcast  in  45  below  zero  weather  to  successfully  bomb  the  target. 

2nd  Lt.  Frank  J.  Zitkovic's  crew  were  reported  as  missing  in  action  after  the  operation.  

The  other  members  of  the  crew  were  2nd  Lt.  Bascom  O. Clifton,  2nd  Lt.  Wayne  R.  Goodwin,  

2nd  Lt.  John  L.  Wenger,  S/Sgt.  Joseph H.  Dippel,  Sgt.  Burton  S.  Davidson,  Sgt.  Charles  J.  Howard,

 Sgt.  Max  Slotnick,  Sgt.  Raymond  W. Fritzinger  and  Sgt.  James  O.  Nichols. 

 

Their  aircraft,  "Nobody's  Baby",  Serial  No.  42-31036,  Squadron  code  IW-X, 

had  been  hit  by  flak  and,  when  last  seen,  was  4000  feet  below  the  formation  

with  all  four  engines  turning  and  seemed  to  be  under  control.  It's one  of  those  cases  when  it  

appears  that  the  crew  should  have  survived  but didn't.  The  post  war  Missing  In  Action  Report

states  that  the  entire  crew were  killed. 

 

I'm  happy  to  report  that  on  Christmas  Eve,  1986,  Lt.  Russell  J.  Prechtl, 

an  F-16  fighter  pilot  of  the  613th  Fighter  Squadron,  401st  T.F.W.,  and 

his  crew  chief  renamed  their  aircraft  "Nobody's  Baby"  in  honor  of  Lt. 

Frank  Zitkovic  and  his  crew. 

 

http://www.401bg.org/Site/People/Maslen/40 1stBG(H).pdf

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