How Our Radio Operator Received a DFC
By Ralph Hall, Tail Gunner, 601st Squadron
Here is a story not generally known. Its about how David Haight, a radio operator on the McCarty crew of the 398ths 601st Squadron, received a Distinguished Flying Cross. Dave saved his crew from sure disaster by his ingenuity and skills as a radio operator.
The 601st Squadron bombed a German Naval Base on the Baltic Sea near Kiel. As we came off the target area and headed out over the Baltic Sea we were badly hit with flak. One engine went out and another started to smoke and run badly. At 21,00 feet the order was given to prepare to bail out. For some reason our navigator for that mission, Darrell Argubright, must have gotten only half the message over the intercom and he bailed out. He was gone before anyone could stop him. He washed ashore five weeks later and was buried on the Island of Alborne with military honors in a Danish churchyard. I have the official German, Danish and American records on this event.
We were losing altitude from the 21,000 feet with 400 miles to go back to England. While the crew stripped the plane of all excess weight by throwing it overboard, Dave Haight went to work as a radio operator. Dave called and got a fighter to cover us getting out of German territory. As we approached the North Sea he called in Air Sea Rescue and they watched us all the way back. With the ship lightened we lost altitude much slower. Dave lined us up on a Beaufighter base on the North English coast. We landed on a straight in approach, as we did not have enough power to turn or bank. At the English coast we had only about 800 feet of altitude left. As a good radio operator, Dave did a lot to save his crew. He had navigated us by radio using two triangulation stations and had also located an airbase for a straight in approach. He saved the crew by all his radio work.
Major Tracy Peterson, the 601st Commanding Officer, came up to get us. He took one look at the plane and said that we did a good job getting it back to England, but why in the hell didnt we go to Sweden, which was only 60 miles across the Baltic Sea. It had never entered our minds in the excitement and struggle. For this Dave got a DFC. How do I know this happened? I was on that crew and I was there. Dave passed away this past winter.
- McCarty's Crew - 601st Squadron - 1943
- Parachutes are not only for Jumping by Ralph Hall, Tail Gunner
- A True Long Shot
- How Our Radio Operator Received a DFC by Ralph Hall, Tail Gunner
- Roll Call of the McCarty Crew - 1943 to 2005
Personal History Information
- Veteran: Ralph Hall
- Tail Gunner, 601st Squadron
- Date of Personal History: July 2004
- Author: Ralph Hall
- Submitted to 398th Web Pages by: Ralph Hall