October 24, 2012 - William E. Krebs

Flying targeted missions over North Africa and Europe, William E. Krebs of Lake Charles served as a bombardier navigator on board a B-25 in World War Two.  Krebs says his crew narrowly missed an eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

"We had been to North Africa, Sicily and then were just getting into Italy when Vesuvius blew," said Krebs.  "It wiped out all of our airplanes.  We lost 80 airplanes to that mountain."

Krebs says their main objective was to knock out specific targets at  a relatively low altitude of 10 thousand feet.

"We didn't do aerial bombing at all.  Everything we did was pinpoint.  Railroad bridge, highway bridge, ferry landings.  We locked onto the auto pilot system.  So the bombardier flew the airplane and dropped the bombs."

Krebs says he lost some of his original flight squad in the missions.

"The radio man and the tail gunner ended up in a pow camp.  The pilot was killed."

William Krebs survived and later worked with the helicopter industry in Southwest Louisiana after the war.  He's now a member of American Legion Post 1 in Lake Charles.

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