Harold John James (Diz) Kronenberg

Staff Sergeant Harold J. Kronenberg, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kronenberg, 637 Spring Street, has arrived somewhere in North Africa, according to word received by his parents.

He enlisted in the Air Corps as a gunner on October 19, 1942 and received his basic training at Jefferson Barracks, MO. He later attended the Las Vegas Gunnery School at Nevada, where he received his gunner's wings. Further training was received at MacDill Field, Tampa, FL; Dalbart, TX; Lowry Field, Denver, CO; and Pyote, Texas.

Staff Sergeant. Kronenberg is now serving as a First Armorer and Gunner on a B-17. 

He has two brothers serving overseas: Staff Sergeant Donald Kronenberg, in England, and Corporal Wayne Kronenberg, who has served two years in New Guinea.

Turret Gunner Recalls Getting German Fighter
TYNDALL FIELD, FL—Back in this country, after completing 41 combat missions as a ball turret gunner with the 8th and 15th Air Forces, Staff Sergeant Harold J. Kronenberg, now stationed at Tyndall Field, will never forget the day he got a German fighter. 

"We were over Padua in Italy and the fighters were out in force. Both our wingmen were knocked down, but we weren't touched. Two fighters came in at us from the tail. The tail gunner and I let fly with everything we had, and they both went down. We decided to share honors on the two kills."

Sergeant Kronenberg, who hails from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, had 21 raids over Italy and 20 over France and Germany. He was over Berlin a total of five times. 

"The fighters were out the first couple of times over the Nazi capital," relates Sergeant Kronenberg, "'but it was only flak on the last three raids. Our B-17 led a charmed life. We never counted more than forty holes in the plane after we got back to the base. I guess we were pretty lucky."

Holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, Sergeant Kronenberg participated in the second raid on Rome and numerous raids over Monte Casino.

"We didn't like bombing a monastery, but the Nazis were dug in there and the ground troops couldn't advance. It made all of us feel pretty good to know that we were helping out the boys on the ground."

Sergeant Kronenberg was stationed in England when the Nazis started sending their buzz bombs over. "It was amazing to see how calm the Londoners could be," he said. "We'd be in a movie theater, for example, and the alert would be sounded. Nobody would even make a move to leave. They'd just sit there and sweat it out."

Sergeant Kronenberg was a high school student before the war and hopes to take advantage of the GI Bill of Rights and go to college after the shooting's over. His parents live at 635 Spring Street.

Sgt. Kronenberg Makes 41 Raids as Turret Gunner
AN AIR SERVICE COMMAND STATION, Somewhere in England—Technical Sergeant Harold J. Kronenberg, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kronenberg, 635 Spring Street, recently passed through this Air Service Command Station, en route to a well-earned rest, after 41 missions as a ball turret gunner on a Flying Fortress.

Sergeant Kronenberg has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

Staff Sergeant Harold J. Kronenberg, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kronenberg, 635 Spring Street, has arrived at the Army Air Forces Redistribution Station at Miami Beach for reassignment processing, after completing 41 missions as gunner in the European Theater for eight months. He holds the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

Contributed by Harold (Diz) Kronenberg

Honor and Remembrance Book: The Military Heritage of the Chippewa Valley
Leader Telegram article

Harold (Diz--"Red" at the time) Kronenberg's Military Chronology
  • Enlisted in the Army Air Force on October 19, 1942. I took the "490" to Milwaukee, where I was sworn into the service.
  • Took the suburban train to Fort Sheridan, IL, where I was issued my Army equipment.
  • Took a train to Jefferson Barracks, MO, where I received my basic training. I saw Bob Hope there; it must have been one of his first USO shows.
  • Took a train to Las Vegas, Nevada, where I went to gunnery school. I flew in my first airplane there, an AT-6. My roommate there was Eugene Moran, who later fell 21,000 out of an airplane over Germany and lived to tell about it.
  • Took a train to Denver's Lowry Field and graduated from Armorer's School.
  • Took a train to MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL, where I trained in B-26 medium bombers.
  • Transferred to a Heavy Bombardment Group in Pyote, Texas. I traveled by train for two weeks via Wyoming, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and then to Pyote. We were on train for two weeks without bunks.
  • Transferred to Dalhart, Texas, where I was assigned to a crew and continued to train for overseas duty.
  • Went with my crew to Grand Island, Nebraska, where we were given our own airplane and received our orders for overseas duty.
  • Flew to Syracuse, New York; to West Palm Beach; to Trinidad; to Natel, Brazil; to Belem, Brazil; across the Atlantic to Dakar, Africa; north to Marrakech, Morocco; to Casablanca, to Algiers, where we joined the Second Bomb Group. 
  • After two missions in combat, the whole group was sent to Manfredonia, Italy. I remained there, flying 21 missions. These missions were with the 15th Air Force.
  • Flew from Italy back to Casablanca and took an illegal night flight on a C-54 across Spain to Glasgow, Scotland. I took the train to London and then to Framlingham (Parham), England.
  • Flew 20 more missions and finished my tour of duty on June 5, 1944, the day before D-Day.
  • Was flown to Liverpool, England, where I boarded the USS Wakefield and sailed the Atlantic to Boston.
  • Took the train home and had a two-week furlough.
  • Went to the Redistribution Center in Miami Beach.
  • Traveled to Nashville, Tennessee and a rest camp there.
  • Traveled to Fort Logan, Colorado and another rest camp.
  • Went back to the Miami Beach Redistribution Center, where I was initially assigned to pilot training, which was canceled; then to overseas duty in the South Pacific, which was canceled, and eventually went to Tyndall Field, Panama City, Florida, as a gunnery instructor. I did little instructing, as I played on the baseball team and traveled by air all over the country, playing baseball in places, like Pensacola, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Harlingen, Texas plus all air fields in our own league. It was really a great experience for those days.
  • The war was coming to a close and I was discharged on October 9, 1945.
  • Military honors included Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations, and six Battle Stars in the European Theater of Operations

MacDill Field. June 10, 1943. George Dragou, Harold (Red) Kronenberg; Dave Garcia.  All three of these men played baseball on the MacDill Air Force Base Team, The Flyers. Dave Garcia (far right) managed the San Francisco Giants one year and the Cleveland Indians for six years. Later, he became the third-base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. At present, he is a baseball consultant for the Colorado Rockies.

--To see details, click on any image to make it bigger--

Vital Area Pass for MacDill Field., issued March 24, 1943.

At MacDill Field, I trained with a B-26 Bomb Group squadron which had this squadron insignia. I would have sewn such a patch on my leather jacket, if I had not been  transferred to another squadron.



Burlington Train Lines ticket for furlough.

Charles Richards' book
The Second Was First

Mission 157 Official Report
Diz's Last Mission in Italy
March 11, 1944

Flying with the 390th

The 41st mission, which is not listed, was Vienna, Austria. Also the "artist" who drew up "The Lucky Bastard Diploma" erred; Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria, not Italy.

Honorable Discharge (Front)  Honorable Discharge (Back)  
Editor's note: Air Medal should read seven Oak Leaf Clusters, rather than five—
one Air Medal for five missions and one Oak Leaf Cluster for each repeat of five missions.  
Kronenberg flew 41 missions.

Army Institute 
Application for Enrollment 
University Correspondence Course
  Side 1  Side2 

After I was discharged from the Army, I took advantage of the GI Bill and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since I am a veteran and was a social studies teacher for many years, the  reader might note some irony in my History grade.