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Time To Bail Out?

When we were in the nose I could see the pilots feet on the rudder Pedals. I used to tell him. "Andy when we are over the target area never take your feet off the rudder pedals, not even to re-arrange your social equipment or we're going to clean out the nose area because when there are no feet on the rudders no one is flying the plane." Our pilot never wore his flak suit. He always sat on it and pulled it up between his legs over his lap. He got married a couple of weeks before we left for overseas. He always said "They may hit me but not in the family jewels." Scared over the target?????? Hell no.!!!!! After "BOMBS AWAY" I learned how get down between the two nose gun Ammo boxes and draw clear up inside my helmet including my knees because I always wanted to join a chinese acrobat team and since I had a little free time I was practicing. One time the navigator thought some one had put a turtle in the nose. Talking about fears. One almost as bad as flak and fighters. We used to have a pilot fly our wing quite often and to be as kind as I can I will say he never learned to master the art of formation flying. He would contantly over jockey the throttles and then he would fall back and slide out next thing he'd come roaring back closing in and you never knew if he was going to back off quick enough keep from hitting us or not. This would happen all the way to the target and back for seven or eight hours. It got so bad that the gunners in the waist would ask the pilot to ask Luxxxxxxxx to back off a little. Sometimes getting over the target was a relief from our wing man. In general I think the army air force did a wonderful job of picking first pilots. All the different ones I flew with seemed to have the temperament and skill to do a good job and most soon learned to be masters at formation flying. By the way have any of you guys ever figured out why they issued 45's to the officers. I wore that thing under my parachute harness for about three or four missions and my ribs were so sore I could hardly breath. Then I had a little talk with myself and ask myself a question. Does some DoDo in the pentagon think that if I get shot down 700 miles inside Germany that I'm going to fight the whole damn German Army by myself??? The 45 went under my bunk and stayed there until I checked it in when I came home. I substituted a small hunting knife I bought at the PX and taped it to my harness. I had often heard of guys bailing out over water and the wind would blow them and they couldn't get out of there harness and would drown. If they could have cut the shroud lines they might have made it.

Everett Frank - 721st Squadron

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