By Frederick D. Worthen
In the course of global warfare II ten younger volunteers from everywhere in the usa got here jointly to shape the "Rosacker" staff within the 93rd Bomb crew of the eighth U.S. Air strength, flying B-24 Liberators dependent in England. They flew 24 missions jointly in the course of the final months of the battle. Their final undertaking was once on January 28, 1945. the objective was once in Germany's Ruhr Valley, sometimes called "Flak Alley". approximately midway throughout the bomb run, with heavy flak within the zone, we misplaced the number 1 engine. After repeated makes an attempt neither Glenn nor Otis may possibly get the propeller into the feathered place, that is required to reduce wind resistance at the aircraft. shall we no longer stay alongside of the formation, so we dropped out of place, nonetheless attempting to feather the propeller. one other B-24 subsequent to them was once blown up by means of an immediate hit from the anti-aircraft batteries. A moment engine give up, and a 3rd used to be wasting energy (they basically had 4 engines). the alternative used to be to ditch within the North Sea and die of publicity, or try and make it to an airfield in Antwerp, Belgium, which used to be occupied via Canadian troops. however the aircraft used to be happening quickly. At 1,000 toes they bailed out: "I jumped and counted to 10 in approximately seconds. i do know my 'chute should have come with reference to catching on a tail fin. good, the complete rip wire, deal with, and cable pulls thoroughly free from the 'chute pack. I pulled so difficult my entire arm flew above my head. I knew the 'chute used to be damaged. i used to be attempting to work out the right way to pull the 'chute out of the backpack through hand whilst instantly it opened, with the 'chute and me in a horizontal position." yet that wasn't all. take note the plane, with its useless engines developing drag on one facet, inflicting it to show? "I may pay attention the airplane nonetheless flying within reach; Joe had placed it on autopilot. It sounded as though it was once coming again at me." Then they heard the bullets. lower than them used to be a German military camp in occupied Holland. The enemy bullets and their very own aircraft by some means overlooked them, however the males have been captured, and the slender escapes persisted, one after one other. Their captors took them "out back," the place the americans concept they might be shot, yet weren't; the German civilians desired to lynch the airmen as they have been led on a compelled march via Bavaria from one POW camp to a different. The prisoners have been shot at through their guards, and back by way of the SS on liberation day. Miraculously, all ten fliers survived the warfare. Fifty years later 9 of the 10 airmen comprehensive this booklet, operating jointly to refresh and proper each one other's stories. "This isn't the ordinary hard-core warfare tale. we've got incorporated kinfolk ties, the crew's education and formation, our studies and emotions, facing serious hardships, the humor that was once nonetheless there, and the getting on with our lives." loads of this turns out beautiful "hard-core" to us, but in addition frequently very humorous, deeply clever, and terribly human. those males have been heroes. thanks all, gents, in your flying, and for buying your tale down on paper.