Last Known Activity
Very little information has been found concerning SSgt Jack Aronowitz's early life. His NARA enlistment record states he was born in Ohio in 1917. He had completed 3 years of high school and had worked in the jeweler and watchmaker occupations. He was residing in Queens, New York when he enlisted in Jamaica, New York on March 12, 1941.
His next appearance in military records show him assigned to the 515th Bomb Squadron of the 376th Bomb Group, stationed at San Panarazio, Italy. Group records indicate he served on the crew headed by Lt. Dale Click, and had flown 31 combat missions.
On September 12, 1944, the crew flew as part of a mission against military targets in the Munich, Germany area. On the return route, the aircraft suffered a loss of rudder control, and went into a wide left turn. The pilot left the cockpit and went to the middle of the aircraft to see if he could find the trouble. Just then, the aircraft rolled over, went into a tight spin, and plunged toward the Adriatic Sea.
All the crew members bailed out, and landed in the sea. An intensive rescue effort was initiated, with a Catalina aircraft and an Air Rescue launch being involved. The launch picked up two survivors; the Cat picked up five. As the Cat attempted a take-off, it crashed and the ARS launch picked up its crew and the survivors. Four of the crew were never recovered.
The missing crew members are memorialized on the Walls of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Florence, Italy.
NARA enlistment records
The aircraft involved in this loss was B-24H # 41-28762, unnamed and with no nose art, assigned to the 515th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 8747 was issued, and identifies the crew as:
1 Lt Dale W. Click p
Cpt Elman J. Beth c-p
1 Lt John K. Hawkins, Jr nav
1 Lt John H. Michel PFF nav
2 Lt Henry W. Florcazk nav
1 Lt Ralph J. Morgenbesser bomb
TSgt Robert N. McLean eng
TSgt J.D. Nicols r/o
SSgt Jack Aronowitz gunner
SSgt Otto Graf gunner
SSgt Willam A. Lange gunner
Because the aircraft flew as lead, two traditional navigators were aboard. The PFF (Pathfinder) navigator directed formation to navigational points, and gave bombing instructions.
Lts Hawkins and Florczak, as well as Sgts Aronowitz and Lange were the crew members killed.