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Showing posts from July, 2018

The Cost of Freedom: A True Story, Part Four

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The Conclusion of my Father's Wartime Adventures:  

"I was with other American prisoners of war, but did not feel like talking much.  Once in the prison camp, I slept on a pile of straw with a blanket.  We must have lined up for food distribution, but it was awful—all I remember is weed soup. We were mostly left to ourselves all day: there was no reveille or routine like that.  
I had left my clarinet “Elmer” in the barracks in England.(It was mailed to me years later—I had my name on the case.)But somehow I got a metal clarinet that came from the Red Cross—I still have it!I would go out into a ditch to play it, and had no trouble from the other prisoners.It kept me sane!
We divided up Red Cross boxes from America that included cigarettes.  I swapped mine for food and for a little notebook that was made by Russian POWs.  The Russians were in their own compound enclosed by a barbed wire fence.  It was separated from our compound by a space patrolled by police dogs.  But the Russi…

The Cost of Freedom: A True Story, Part Three

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My father's adventure continues.  "I was in a hotel room in London when I heard a “V-2” hit nearby. The V-2 bomb broke windows and probably killed people; but that was a common evening in London. While at Stone a “V-1” screamed and hit in a ditch near our barracks.  No one was killed, but it frightened us—we ran out and dove into a ditch.


For our first actual mission over enemy territory in September of 1944, we were given a “used” B-17-E: the patched-up veteran of many missions.  The ground crew said it was a lucky one.  Very early that morning we joined up with a big formation of B-17’s.   I recall looking out my Co-Pilot window as we first flew into “flak.”  I saw the B-17 on my right hand get hit by Ack-Ack and explode on the bomb run.  It went down fast —and no parachutes appeared!  Ten men were doomed!  That was a sobering first vision of combat.
Being winter, many missions were called off due to adverse weather or bad vision over the “target.” But we still got up early …

The Cost of Freedom: A True Story, Part Two

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My father continues his story: "After I finished Basic Flight Training in Santa Ana, our group went by bus to the Primary Flight Training in the high desert at 29 Palms, California.  
The primary training aircraft was the Boeing Stearman Kaydet Trainer—a 225 HP two-seater biplane, with a top speed of about 124 mph, and ceiling of 11,200 feet.After 8 hours of flight time with an instructor, I soloed.We learned rolls, loops, spins, and radio jargon.
My friend “Busty” Kearns washed out—he got mixed up and tried to land crossways of the field! Four guys (2 instructors and 2 cadets) had a mid-air collision and died.  Another guy got into a spin and did not pull out.  On Saturdays we had PT, running a desert course that ended in a climb up a rocky mountain with sand dunes.  We had to be careful to avoid resting poisonous toads or rattlesnakes. For relaxation I tooted my clarinet whenever I got the opportunity.
Towards the end of training I had a bad acrobatic ride and I thought I would …

The Cost of Freedom: A True Story

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Freedom has a cost, as we are reminded every Independence Day.  For those engaged in the fight, it can mean Adventure, but it can also mean Catastrophe, two common themes in Noah’s Boys adventures.  My father experienced both by personal experience during World War II.  Here is the first episode of his true story.
“I’ve always wanted to fly.  But my career did not start as a World War II Co-Pilot in a B-17.  My career actually started much earlier, with model airplanes, when I was a little kid.  I always wanted to design them, so I worked out the carvings for the frame and covered them with paper.  My first was a Spad from WWI --Eddie Rickenbacker’s airplane.  I enjoyed pouring over books and magazines like “Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds.” To indulge me a bit as a kid, my Dad had paid for an airplane ride in Milwaukee, and it just whetted my interest.”




After high school, I went to State Teacher’s College as an art major.  In fall of 1940, I met and liked a lovely girl named Libby Mar…

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