Gartz, Frank, Ebner, 1st Lt

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1034-Navigator
Last AFSC Group
USAAF
Primary Unit
1944-1945, M 1034, 49th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1943 - 1945
First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Illinois
Illinois
Year of Birth
1924
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Linda Gartz-Family to remember Gartz, Frank, Ebner, 1st Lt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Hillside
Last Address
Caserta, Italy

Casualty Date
Oct 12, 1945
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died of Illness, Other Injury
Reason
Other Cause
Location
Italy
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Cemetery Unknown

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 Unit Assignments
15th Air Force2nd Bombardment Group, Heavy49th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1944-1945, M 1034, 15th Air Force
  1944-1945, M 1034, 2nd Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1944-1945, M 1034, 49th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/North Apennines Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1944-1945, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On January 20, 1945, Ebner was assigned his first mission––to bomb the oil storage facility at Regensburg in southern Germany. He would go through the same pre-mission routine twenty-five times during the next three and a half months. In the early morning hours the sergeant called his name, along with those of the pilot, co-pilot, and bombardier. “Gartz, Atkinson, Berryhill, Van Nort.”  I can imagine the pumping adrenaline; my uncle’s straw-lined throat as he forced down his fear along with the daily breakfast of green powdered eggs and fried Spam.
 

All of the young men would have tried to appear confident when they met together in the cool, damp darkness of the briefing room, a cave previously used to store wine, to learn about their assigned target. Of major German strategic interest, Regensburg would be heavily defended, and flak would be intense.
 

At 08:40, twenty-eight B-17s lined up nose to tail on makeshift runways, each plane carrying a typical load: 3000 gallons of fuel, three to four tons of bombs, and hundreds of pounds of ammunition. Any spark from an errant engine failure would end in conflagration. Within seconds of each other, the planes took off, then formed a tight formation over the Adriatic Sea, only fifty feet separating the wing tips of each.
 

After two years of intense, rigorous training, Ebner  was now put to the test in real combat. All told, the B-17s dropped five hundred fifty-one 100-pound bombs that day on the target. Ebner’s plane returned from the mission unscathed, but one B-17, with all ten of its crew members, had been lost.

 

After March 23rd, Ebner flew twelve more sorties to Czechoslovakia, Austria, Yugoslavia, and Italy, for a total of twenty-five from January to May. On all the missions Ebner flew, only six B-17s were lost. On the missions he didn’t fly in that same time period, twenty-one planes were lost––more than three times as many. “Fly with Frank,” could have made a good motto. He truly seemed blessed.
 

On May 8, 1945, the Allies declared the war officially won and named it “Victory over Europe” or VE Day. Overjoyed, the Gartz family couldn’t wait to greet their darling Ebner back in Chicago, safe and whole. He was promoted to first lieutenant on May tenth, just four days before his twenty-first birthday.

 

Right now I’m very confused as to what I’m going to do in the post war era. I want and don’t want to go to school. I want and don’t want to get married. So I really don’t know what I want to do.

He found a way out of his dilemma in June 1945, when he scored a coveted job with the 15th Air Force Headquarters in Caserta, Italy, just north of Naples. Arriving in droves to develop plans for rebuilding war-ravaged countries, American VIPs needed a crack navigator and pilot team to fly them to their appointments throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity––good salary, extra flight pay, and the chance to rub shoulders with congressmen, senators, special envoys, ambassadors, and high-ranking generals. Ebner wrote to my Dad:
 

Take in your welcoming mat, as your little brother is remaining in the Mediterranean Theater as long as he can. The thing that might do me some good is getting to know some of these wheels for future reference. The army is finally paying off for the times I flew over Vienna on a carpet of flak.
 

It was also the perfect excuse to put off those nagging maternal expectations for marriage and school. I can imagine the disappointment back in Chicago. Like a pricked balloon, the family’s  anticipation for a joyous homecoming sighed out into a crumpled melancholy acceptance. But the war was over. Everyone could stop worrying.

The job turned out to be everything Ebner had hoped for.

Combat Missions Flown:

450120, Regensburg GE ,46642
450213, Vienna AU , 46637
450216, Trens AU, 46548
450220, Vienna AU 46530
450228, Verona/Parona IT, 46548

450301, Vienna AU 46642
450304, Sopron HU, 46548
450309, Bruck AU, 46642
450313, Regensburg GE, 46638
450316, Vienna AU, 46635

450319, Landshut GE, 46416
450321, Vienna AU, 46416  
450323, Ruhland GE, 46550
450325, Prague CZ, 338485
450331, Linz AU, 338485

450401, Maribor YU, 46642
450415, Bologna area IT, 46367  
450416, Bologna area IT, 46633
450418 ,Bologna area IT, 46642  
450419, Rattenberg AU, 338485

450421, Rosenheim AU, 46637  
450424, Malborghetto IT, 46635
450425, Linz AU, 46620
450426, Bolzano IT, 338485  
450501, Salzburg AU, 46620

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Comments/Citation
Information Source;
Niece, Linda Gartz
Second Bombardment Association
   
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