670th BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Capt. Robert John ("Bugs") Rooney

Pilot,  O-026102

Killed In Action - Mar 21, 1945

670th Bombardment Squadron (L)


Return to Table of Contents          Return to Military Service Fatalities Index

Pilot Wings        Missing Man        Purple Heart

      Born: 15-Jun-1921, Louisiana

Entered Military Service: Date: 1-Jul-1940 At: USMA From: Orleans Parish, Louisiana

Buried: Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana, Plot: 6 Cherry Aloe Orange

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry

"On March 15, 1945 Robert J. Rooney was promoted to Captain. He was a West Pointer (class of June, 1943). On 21 March 1945 he made his final mission. In 1945, I was in the 670th BS and shared an eight man tent with Rooney. On 21 March 1945, I was 20 feet behind Rooney's airplane when it was chewed up by Anderson's airplane.  I had to dodge the pieces of both planes as they came at me. Six lives were lost in that event. Back on 18 July 1944, on a mission, Rooney's plane was badly shot up.  He received a piece of flak through his seat that lodged in his body.  He crash landed at Ford, England and was operated on and kept in the hospital for over two months.  He rejoined the squadron after we had moved to France at A-55 and resumed flying missions. Rooney was a very happy and friendly guy.  He was well liked by everyone he came in contact with."

Submitted by Wayne Downing on 13 June 2007.

See also:
Robert J. Rooney Memorial Video
by Wayne Sayles, 2011.

Pilot's Mission: Combat

Nature of Accident: Mid air collision

Cause of Accident: Pilot error, restricted visibility, and other personnel error.

Coming back over friendly territory about 25 miles northeast of St. Trond, Captain Andersen, leading the second flight of the first box, was attempting to regain his position in the first box. He slid his plane over the plane flown by Captain Rooney and chewed off its tail. The two planes collided in mid-air and fell to the ground and burned. Lt Kirk, B-N in Capt Rooney's plane, bailed out safely with only minor injuries. All the others were killed in the crash, which happened without warning. Captain Rooney was completing his 65th mission when the accident occurred. The reason for the crash is unknown. Flying with Captain Andersen were Lt W. Babbage, Lt. L.J. Roman, and S/Sgt S.L. Heitell. Captain Rooney had Capt C.C. Slaughter of the Infantry and Sgt. R.J. Kamischke flying with him.
(416th BG History 1945)

That afternoon another mission took off and bombed the Vreden Road Junction and communication center with excellent results. Fourteen of our crews took part. Captain Rooney was leading his flight homeward into the setting sun at about 12,000 feet, when another flight leader, who was also flying into the sun, collided with him. Apparently Captain Rooney tried to get his airplane under control in an attempt to save his crew, but it went into a spin and crashed near Peers, Belgium. All personnel in both airplanes were killed instantly when the aircraft crashed into the ground, with the exception of 1st Lt Robert L. Kirk, Caption Rooney's bombardier-navigator, who successfully parachuted to the ground. Captain Chester C. Slaughter of the 29th Inf Div, who was riding as an observer with Capt Rooney, and Sgt Robert J. Kamischke, the gunner, were killed. Three officers and one enlisted man in the other airplane were also killed. This was Captain Rooney's 65th mission and constituted his tour of combat duty.
("670th Bombardment Squadron (L) History")

See also AAR 45-3-21-517 and Mission # 246

Photos and Documents
1930 US Census
Cadet Robert Rooney, West Point, 1943
USMA Portrait
US Army Register 1944
Mission Description
A-26 crews of 670 Bomb Sq. at Melun-Villaroche, France, winter 1944/45.

From left to right: Robert L. Kirk (BN), Robert J. Rooney (P), uncertain Johnson, Hugh A. Monroe (P), Unknown, Unknown, Unknown
US Army Register 1945
The Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana) 14 Apr 1945, Sat Page 7
Headstone Application
Headstone Application
Rosters Of WW II Dead
WW II Army and Army Air Force Casualty List
National World War II Memorial Registry

Source information can be viewed at WWII Military Service Fatalities Sources

"Goin' Home" courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band