By Steven Zaloga
Publication by means of Zaloga, Steven, Madej, Victor
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Extra resources for The Polish Campaign 1939
I promised Mal that I would see to it that we would talk to the chaplain at the air base, who would get Mal the help he needed and deserved. We were soon given orders to find our assigned plane for training. Told to take my crew to the third plane in line, I led them onto the tarmac, and as we reached the B-17, we stopped dead in our tracks. The words “Memphis Belle” were painted on the nose of the fuselage, along with the Belle of Memphis herself, wearing a light blue, skin-tight bathing suit, with lovely flowing blond hair and a set of killer legs.
As it disappeared into a thin line on the horizon, I turned and walked away, not sure when I would see Sonny again. This was the first goodbye of many as I was soon to leave for training for the war. Three days later, I boarded a train from my home in New Jersey for Atlantic City. I was issued new attire: a brown, drab winter coat that hung inches off the ground, leather boots, several pairs of winter underwear, a woolen hat, and heavy gloves, and khakis. Young privates, like myself, were subject to harsh discipline.
I was in a cold sweat, unable to locate the lights from any direction. ” Watching the instruments with great intensity, I finally landed the plane safely. After the wheels touched down, I gunned the motor, took off down the runway past the dim lights, and left for another go around. At the completion of these maneuvers, I taxied to the perimeter, cut the engine, and leapt out of the plane. I never talked about that experience—it was too frightening at the time. It was only later that I realized the instructors were preparing us for English fog, missions where even in broad daylight one couldn’t see fifty yards on either side.