380th Bomb Group Association
NEWSLETTER #28 -- September 2006
LONE B-24 DELIVERS ITS RAIN OF TERROR
By Bill Bever, son of Everett D. Bever
On the 5th of March 1944, Crew #4 from the 5th AAF, 528thBomb Squadron, 380th Bomb Group, lifted off from an airfield in Nadzab, New Guinea, with other bombers to bomb their primary target on Los Negros Island in support of the First Cavalry Division, which was ashore and pinned down by Japanese artillery fire.
Inclement weather prevented these planes from bombing Los Negros, so they headed for their secondary target on Manus Island in the Admiralty Islands. As soon as they were on course for the target, the weather continued to plague them. The flight engineer, Sgt. Robert Gjerstad, looked up from his top gun turret position and noticed B-24s were flying directly above them, a little too close for comfort, and notified the pilot, Lt. Johnny DiDomenico. The pilot immediately took evasive action and dropped down to 2700 feet. The bombardier, Lt. Everett Bever, notified the pilot that they were immediately on the bomb run even though the pilot said they were too low in altitude to be dropping eight 1000 pound bombs. As the bomb bay doors opened, the radio operator, Sgt. John Miller, saw the United States Navy Fleet below their plane. One of the navy ships was signaling to their bomber to find out if they were friend or foe, so Sgt. Miller frantically got the message to them, thinking the U.S. Navy was going to blow them out of the sky before they reached their target. In the meantime, they were closing in on the target. Sgt. Miller was holding on to the bomb bay door handle to keep the doors from closing before the bombs could be released. All of a sudden, Lt. Bever said, "Bombs Away," releasing all eight 1000 pound bombs on the target. The concussion from the bombs exploding blew Sgt. Miller's hat off, while still holding on to the bomb bay door handle as he and the rest of the crew were bounced up and down.
After Crew #4 returned to the airfield, the crew, rather shaken from their up and down moments when the bombs were dropped, took off their hats, walked up to Lt. Bever and smacked him in the head, saying they would appreciate it next time if he would drop his bombs from a higher altitude!
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