Nicholas S. Alonge Jr.,
U.S. Army Air Corps
44-10 Bombardment Group
Nicholas S. Alonge Jr.,
8th Air Force
385th Bombardment Group
Second Lieutenant - On July 24, 1944, as an enlisted E-3 grade level, Nicholas S. Alonge Jr. service No. 0-783318 was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps. A letter from the Secretary of War to Captain Charles Ricker, assistant adjutant general stated that the president had approved the commission of Alonge to the rank of Second Lieutenant. The letter stated this commission will continue in force during the pleasure of the president of the United States for the time being, and for the duration of the war and six months thereafter unless sooner terminated.
Bombardier B-17 Bomber, World War II
Awards - Air Medal, Oak Leaf Cluster, World War II Victory Medal, Meritorious Achievement Award, Certificate of Proficiency
Aircraft - B-17 Flying Fortress
Married: Norma (Emery) August 15, 1954, at St. James Catholic Church in Westfield.
Children: Janice Metzger, Cynthia Ippolito Andrew Alonge, Nancy Dunbar
Grandchildren: Michael, Alycia, Ryan, Jessica, Austin, Vincent, Lisa, Jason, Jenna
Logged Combat Bombing Missions:
March, 10, 1945: Southeast Germany - 24,000 feet, 42 100 pound, two 500-pound incendiary bombs. Mission length, seven hours, no fighters encountered, P-51 Mustang escort light flack, target hit marshalling yards.
March 12: Swinemunde, Germany - 22,000 feet, five, 1,000 pound general purpose bombs. Mission length, eight hours and 15 minutes, no fighters encountered, P-51 Mustang escort, target hits docks and ships in harbor, battleship Tirpitz believed in harbor.
March 14: Hanover, Germany - 26,000 feet, six 1,000 pound general purpose bombs. Mission length six hours and 25 minutes, no fighters encountered, P-51 escort, intense accurate flack, target hit factories, visual mission, one B-17 down four parachutes seen.
March 15: Oranienburg, Germany - 22,000 feet, 12 500 pound GPS with time delay fuse bombs, booby trap bombs, flying time 7 hours and 1 minute, no fighters, P-51 escort, hit by flack 10 minutes before target, two holes on nose, came home on one engine, dropped bombs on Freisack.
March 18: Berlin - 26,000 feet, 18 100 pound GPS, eight 500-pound general purpose bombs. Flying time, seven hours and 15 minutes, plane hit by flack minor damage, one plane in group on fire, six chutes confirmed, target hit heavy contrails.
April 4: Schleissheim, Germany - north of Munich, 24,000 feet, 12 500-pound general purpose bombs, bandits encountered. Flying time, seven hours and 45 minutes one plane down, one plane disappeared over target, snowcapped Alps in distance, target hit railroad turn table.
April 11: Ingolstadt, Germany - 17,500 feet, four 1,000-pound general purpose bombs, four 500-pound general purpose bombs, P-51 escort. Flying time, six hours and 55 minutes, no flack encountered, target hit, hit marshalling yards.
April 16: Rochefort, France, border areas - 14,000 feet, two 2,000-pound general purpose, two 1,000-pound general purpose, P-51 escort. Flying time, nine hours and 34 minutes target enemy troops in open, 70 percent of target struck.
April 19: Aussig, Czechoslovakia - 19,000 feet, 14 250-pound GPS, four 500-pound GPS, no escort, no flack, encountered enemy fighters, minor damage target hit enemy harbor and ships.
Nicholas S. Alonge Jr. was born Nov. 23, 1924, at his Union Street home in Westfield. He is the son of Nicholas and Pauline (Ferrate) Alonge. The family of eight children included his four brothers; Sam, John, Joseph, and Frank and three sisters; Josephine (Vassallo), Jane (Vassallo) and Frances (Black).
His father worked on the New York Central Railroad in a job involving track maintenance and construction. Alonge attended Westfield Academy to complete his first eight years of school. At Westfield High, he excelled in baseball and basketball. He and his high school friends Vincent Carlarco, Ralph Meyers, and Salvatore Lachsia spent much time at the Welch field playing baseball, volleyball or football.
On hot, summer days the group changed into their swimsuits in the old barn used by the fish boats. The best and most beautiful swimming spot was at the Buttermilk Falls in the Chautauqua Gorge where the group often hung out.
It was hard for Alonge to find a good paying job before he was 18-years-old. He, like many others in the area worked on the farms in Brant picking berries, tomatoes or other vegetables that needed picking. Farmers from Brant would make the drive to Westfield and pick up entire families of brothers and sisters to pick their crops.
While sitting on a park bench in the Westfield Park he was approached and asked if he wanted to work at a bank. His reply was yes, and he worked as a clerk at the Union Trust Company of Jamestown at the Westfield branch. Alonge enjoyed this job but knew someday soon he would have to do his duty for his country. The country although not yet at war had a draft system in place. As days passed, he would see friend after friend leaving Westfield to serve their country. Knowing that he would not be drafted until his 18th birthday had bothered him. His heart was not in his job, and when he was drafted he had no feelings of hesitation. It was popular at that time for men to go to war.
Now property of the U.S. government he was off to Florida for basic training. Later training sent him to Nashville, Tenn., for his military classification. While in Nashville he had the opportunity to attend and receive some college credits. He then decided that he wanted to be in the Army Air Corps and signed up for the Aviation Cadet Accelerated Program. His dream was to become a bombardier on a B-17 flying fortress. After being accepted his next assignment took him to Santa Anna, Calif.
Here he was trained in small arms, rifles, machine guns and military technology. Proficiency in morse code was demanded with a minimum of 30 words per minute. The next training involved plane identification, friendly and enemy. This required a response within 1/10th of a second. Parachute jumping and surveillance training completed his military training. Next came Albuquerque, N.M. for bombing training. The constant simulated bombing runs there done daily (at times dropping sandbags on large letter XS painted on the desert) proved valuable.
The promotion to 2nd Lt. came with the bombadier responsibility. Alonge was sent to Sioux City where he was teamed with an assigned crew of 10 who now were training in a B-17 flying fortress.
The passage to Europe took seven days on the passenger liner 11 de France which finally docked at Glasglow, Scotland. Here Alonge saw the old cities of Scotland exactly as they looked in the books that he had read, cobblestone streets and very green hills. Alonge recalled staying one night in a hotel. When it was cold, he went to light the fireplace but noticed a slot near the fireplace that require shillings to get heat. Each coin heated for two hours. It was very cold the next morning he recalled.
The local customs were not the same as Westfield. The bars were called pubs and were sectioned off. Men sat on one side and women sat on the other side. In most cases chaperones were required at any pubs used by U.S. servicemen.
Alonge liked England. The people for the most part were nice to the American soldiers although many felt they were overpaid.
In England, Alonge reported to the 8th Air Force and performed his job and completed nine confirmed bombing missions over enemy territory. His military records showed major enemy destruction on priority war materials and property.
When the war ended, he returned home to find his bank job was still filled by the person who had replaced him. Knowing the law guaranteed him his job back, Alonge declined, not wanting his replacement to be terminated. He then decided to attend college in the physical education field in Cortland. While in school he found the classes overfilled with so many veterans returning and decided to return back to Westfield.
One day Alonge had a craving for a milkshake so he went to his favorite ice cream parlor named Tony's on Main Street next to the flower shop, a.k.a the Olympia. Behind the counter was a waitress who took his order and made the shake. The waitress, Nora Emery caught his eye which led to a conversation, and then to a ride home. They dated and later walked down the aisle at St. James Church on Aug. 15, 1954, becoming man and wife.
Alonge worked at Alleghany Ludlum Steel in the office. When the steel industry left our area he found employment at Better Baked Foods as the plant manager. A well-earned retirement came in 1982. Alonge loves to watch sports and is a devoted Giants baseball fan. When football season comes, he cheers on the Buffalo Bills.
Alonge served two years and eight months in the Army Air Corps, from the time he was drafted in 1943 until the end of the war in 1945. He was a small-town boy thrown into a war at the age of 18 who ended up with a big country man's responsibility.
Along with his comrades that he grew up with in the service he learned a lot. Through his service to the armed forces Alonge gained maturity, life experience and learned how to get along with a wide variety of people. The best parts of his life were being able to go to college in Nashville, and seeing England and Scotland. He also cherished the meeting of his older brother who actually served in the Air Corps as a radioman and who was stationed 7 miles from him in England.
His worst parts were being away from home, friends and family. Nicholas Alonge is a hero. He was an 18-year-old boy from this small town near the Pennsylvania border who wanted to serve his country. He chose the job of bombadier on a B-17 flying fortress. After reading all I could on this bomber and its purpose, I found the entire plane and crew fly for the mission and the mission only . The entire mission of the B-17 solely depends on its bombs hitting its target and hitting them precisely. If not, another crew of 10 brave men will have to do the same mission another day.
Alonge is another local hero who, when the time came, went and did his job. When he took the short train ride from the municipal building in Mayville to Westfield to get to Buffalo, he had no idea that soon he would be a part of a B-17 flying fortress flying crew conducting bombing missions over Germany. When the world was at war, he did his job, After the war, he came home. He let the person who took his job keep it and just went on. He went on to be a great husband, father and grandfather. His story needed to be told and I am honored to tell it.