Gentlemen . . .
My name is Scott Ross. I am a native son and lifelong resident of Miami, Florida.
As implied by my username, I am the second-born child and only son of USAF 1st Lt. Sidney D. Rosberger, navigator of the Boeing B-17F-70-BO Fortress known as "Little Caesar," and one of only two surviving crew members spared by fate in the July 1943 tragedy which claimed the lives of the crew he so dearly loved.
I am overwhelmed with pride and gratitude, and overcome with emotion that you honor his memory with your recollections herein.
I regret to report that Lt. Rosberger passed away from heart disease in March 1980, at the age 63, after mastering the art of living, giving and loving all with whom he came in contact; and endowing his children with the virtues of kindness, courage, honor and character, reinforced daily by his unflinching example. He was so widely beloved and admired in his community (Miami Beach), where he thrived as a retail merchant of home interior accessories, that the mere mention of his name -- even decades after his passing -- ignited smiles and wildfire superlatives, as if on queue. The love affair to which he committed while a cadet and athlete at Pennsylvania Military College (PMC) -- now, Widener University -- blossomed into an epic, lifelong honeymoon. Sid and Miriam were syncopated lovers, beating to one heart. Perfect bliss, wrapped in honor, respect and duty. What you'd expect of a classic WWII-era officer and gentleman.
Aside from family, faith and friends, he valued and revered nothing more than his service as an Air Force officer and combat navigator, and his education, athletic achievements and military training at PMC. Had his life bridged into the Internet era, he'd have been elbow-deep in this forum conversation long ago. In fact, he'd likely have started it.
You may have already observed, my dad shortened his name from Rosberger to Ross shortly after the war, which likely explains why the rest of his life became an unsolvable puzzle to those of you who expressed interest and/or seached for him on the Web. Ironically, you guys have demonstrated herein EXACTLY why he chose to simplify his last name. If you look at the title and comments which comprise this discussion thread, you'll notice that the name "Rosberger" is twice misspelled (Rosbeiger, Rossberger). These are two of about a half-dozen other common misspellings which repeatedly screwed-up his discharge papers and delayed his transition back to civilian life. Bye-bye Lt. Rosberger. At ease, Mr. Ross.
This should also explain why it's taken me this long to find you guys on the Web. Until yesterday, I had never thought to Google misspellings of Rosberger.
In his absence, I hope you don't mind me inviting myself into your discussion, even if just a lowly, stateside Army reserve scrub during the Vietnam era, whose closest brush with combat was ducking tracer bullets and CS gas grenades at bivouac.
I would be abundantly grateful if those of you who are able would share whatever you may know or recall about my dad, his squadron/bomb group and his WWII adventures. If, per chance, you knew him personally, your recollections will be an unexpected thrill. Related digital photos -- especially any which might include his ill-fated bomber, Little Caesar -- would be a blessing that my sister and I can preserve and share for generations. For some reason, I can't seem to locate the Little Caesar crew photo I recall having seen.
On the flipside, I've dug-up some classic crew photos from the 96th which may help connect you and other war veterans with your own pals and adventures. The crew photos are all date-stamped 1943 and feature flight crews headed, respectively, by: Lt. Siementowski
, Capt. Flagg
, Lt. Moreland
, Lt. Jerger
, Capt. Madson
, Lt. Snyder
, Capt. Hodson
, Lt. Shelton, F/O Collette
and Lt. Harris
, whose crew photo is also hand-captioned with the name, Lt. Dorsey
. Additionally, a photo of Capt. Iverson
's crew ("Mischief-Mker II") includes the corresponding handwritten names of the following airmen: Sgt. E.M. Walker
, Sgt. E.D. Dolan
, Sgt. B.E. Dobson
, Sgt. M.A. Olson
, Sgt. W.B. Driscoll
, Capt. V.L. Iverson
, Capt. R.L. Davidson
, Lt. J.L. Gowly
, Capt, M.A. Arpaio
and Sgt. M.D. Brenno
. The photo of Capt. Madson's crew is hand-captioned with the names: Capt. William Jones
, Lt. William Burdick
, Lt. Lewis Greene
and Capt. Francis "Fran" Madson
Other miscellaneous photos are stamped or hand-captioned with the following names: Major Hayes
, Col. Herb Roark
, Lt. Ehrenkrantz
, Major Schlessinge
r, and Capt. Hodges
Now, here come the pièce de résistance, fellas! I have three photos which appear to have been taken at the same time, but only one of which is inscribed, "Awarding of Silver Stars." Although a total of 15 men are pictured in the series, the following names are handwritten on the backs of two of the photos: Sgt. Budd R. Schmidt
, Capt. Francis Madson
, Lt. Lou Greene
(2) and Lt. Maxwell Barrett
. They are among those who are receiving the award from Col. Curtis Le May
, the storied WWII general who would resurface in 1968 as the hand-picked vice presidential running mate in the ill-fated presidential campaign of George Wallace.
Only Sgt. Schmidt's name is listed at homeofheroes.com as a Silver Star recipient. However, the site's publisher disclaims that the list may be incomplete.
Well, I think I've given you enough to chew on in one sitting. If, perhaps, you can help in my quest for info, insight and photos of my dad, I will be even more in your debt than I am already. If any of the photos described herein can help you or someone you know reconnect the dots of war, I will be honored to scan and upload the digital images.
On behalf of my sister, Barbara Ross Fruitman, and brother-in-law, Paul Fruitman, of Aurora, Colorado, as well as their sons, my sons, and the generations that follow, thank you for sustaining the memory of our remarkable hero, my dad.
I hope this moment finds you well, and well enough to respond. Soon. You will always remain at the forefront of my Memorial Day and Veterans Day thoughts and prayers.
post edited by SidRosbergersKid -