Clifford R. Conrad

B-24 Pilot, Crew Parachute to Safety over Sardinia
The following item from a Shreveport, LA paper tells of the thrilling adventure of a bombing crew in which their B-24 was lost but all members of the crew saved by parachuting. Lieutenant Clifford R. Conrad is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan B. Conrad, 1404 State Street.

“One of our bombers was lost, but the crew was saved.”

That phrase appears quite frequently in official announcements but seldom does the full hair-raising story come to light. Take, for example, the story of Lieutenant Clifford R. Conrad, which appeared in a recent issue of the Stars and Stripes, the Army overseas newspaper. Lieutenant Conrad, a Barksdale Field-trained flier and fiancé of a Shreveport girl, Peggy Jean Crosby, 1811 Park Avenue, now pilots a B-26 medium bomber based in Sardinia.

On a recent mission against enemy communications in northern Italy, one flak burst carried away all of his plane’s controls except his elevator trim tab, half of his right rudder trim tab, and his left throttle.

Falls Into Spin
Then the plane went into a sharp vertical climb and then fell off in a partial spin but, by some miracle, the nose was pointed toward home. By another miracle and frantic manipulation of the crippled trim tabs, the young pilot got his ship’s belly down. With swarms of enemy planes darting in for the kill, the Marauder leaped along like a free car on a roller coaster.

Lieutenant Conrad knew his luck couldn’t last. His only hope was to get back to friendly territory and with sufficient altitude so that he and his crew could bail out.

During this time, he had no way of knowing what was going on behind him. He didn’t know that his waist gunner was unconscious; that all the plexiglass was gone from around his tail gun position, when he shouted the order “hit the silk!”

Jumps with Gunner
It wasn’t till two days later that he learned his tail gunner had picked up the unconscious waist gunner in his arms and jumped. First, the tail gunner pulled the ripcord of the other’s chute and, when it opened, released his own and both settled gently to earth.

In the meanwhile, Lieutenant Conrad was having troubles all his own.

He bailed out and landed in a pigpen. There, he sat, just thinking things over, when some natives came rushing over with a big jug. From it, Conrad took a big swig, and another, and another, without thinking. That’s why he didn’t find out about the others for two days. The grappo (a native drink of Corsica) did what the flak failed to do. It knocked him out.

21st Mission Is Last
Lieutenant Conrad named his ship Little Chum, the pet name by which he referred to his Shreveport sweetheart. The ship carried him and his crew safely through 21 missions over enemy territory but, on the 21st, the Germans made a scrap pile out of her on the mountains of Corsica.

The young Barksdale airman holds the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and numerous Oak Leaf Clusters. He is now serving as Assistant Operations Officer at his base in Sardinia. He and Miss Crosby plan to be married on his return to the States from active participation in the war.

Flying Instructor at Chanute Field
First Lieutenant Clifford R. Conrad, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan B. Conrad, 1404 State Street, Eau Claire, WI, is assigned to this station of the Army Air Forces Training Command as Assistant Director of Flying.

Lieutenant Conrad was a flying instructor at Columbus, MS, before transferring here. He flew B-26 Marauders in the North American Theater of Operations, prior to that, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Purple Heart.