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Amaxing B-17 crew from WW II
It is simply amazing what this crew faced. Pictures at the bottom. Is there
any wonder why the B-17 was loved by all who flew them?
Subject: FW: This is quite a story from WWII.......B-17
Who says you need an instrument panel to fly and land a bomber!
This is quite a story from WWII.......B-17
By Allen Ostrom
They could hear it before they could see it!
Not all that unusual in those days as the personnel at Station 131
gathered around the tower and scattered hardstands to await the return of the
B-17's sent out earlier that morning.
First comes the far off rumble and drone of the Cyclones. Then a speck on
the East Anglia horizon. Soon a small cluster indicating the lead
squadron. Finally, the group.
Then the counting. 1-2-3-4-5... ..
But that would have been normal. Today was different! It was too early for
the group to return.
"They're 20 minutes early. Can't be the 398th."
They could hear it before they could see it! Something was coming home.
All eyes turned toward the northeast, aligning with the main runway, each
ground guy and stood-down airman straining to make out this "wail of a
Banshee," as one called it.
Not like a single B-17 with its characteristic deep roar of the engines
blended with four thrashing propellers. This was a howl! Like a powerful wind
blowing into a huge whistle.
Then it came into view. It WAS a B-17!
Low and pointing her nose at the 6,000 foot runway, it appeared for all
the world to be crawling toward the earth, screaming in protest.
No need for the red flares. All who saw this Fort knew there was death
"Look at that nose!" they said as all eyes stared in amazement as this
single, shattered remnant of a once beautiful airplane glided in for an
unrealistic "hot" landing. She took all the runway as the "Banshee" noise finally
abated, and came to an inglorious stop in the mud just beyond the concrete
Men and machines raced to the now silent and lonely aircraft. The
ambulance and medical staff were there first. The fire truck....ground and air
personnel... ..jeeps, truck, bikes.....
Out came one of the crew members from the waist door, then another.
Strangely quiet. The scene was almost weird. Men stood by as if in shock, not
knowing whether to sing or cry.
Either would have been acceptable.
The medics quietly made their way to the nose by way of the waist door as
the remainder of the crew began exiting. And to answer the obvious question,
"What happened?" was easy to see. The nose was a scene of utter
destruction. It was as though some giant aerial can opener had peeled the nose like
an orange, relocating shreads of metal, plexiglass, wires and tubes on the
cockpit windshield and even up to the top turret. The left cheek gun hung
limp, like a broken arm.
One man pointed to the crease in chin turret. No mistaking that mark! A
German 88 anti-aircraft shell had exploded in the lap of the togglier.
This would be George Abbott of Mt. Labanon, PA. He had been a waist
gunner before training to take over the bombardier's role.
Still in the cockpit, physically and emotionally exhausted, were pilot
Larry deLancey and co-pilot Phil Stahlman.
Navigator Ray LeDoux finally tapped deLancey on the shoulder and sested
they get out. Engineer turret gunner Ben Ruckel already had made his way
to the waist was exiting along with radio operator Wendell Reed, ball turret
gunner Al Albro, waist gunner Russell Lachman and tail gunner Herbert
Stahlman was flying his last scheduled mission as a replacement for
regular co-pilot, Grady Cumbie. The latter had been hospitalized the day before
with an ear problem. Lachman was also a "sub," filling in for Abbott in the
DeLancey made it as far as the end of the runway, where he sat down with
knees drawn up, arms crossed and head down. The ordeal was over, and now the
drama was beginning a mental re-play.
Then a strange scene took place.
Group CO Col. Frank P. Hunter had arrived after viewing the landing from
the tower and was about to approach deLancey. He was physically restrained
by flight surgeon Dr. Robert Sweet.
"Colonel, that young man doesn't want to talk now. When he is ready you
can talk to him, but for now leave him alone."
Sweet handed pills out to each crew member and told them to go to their
huts and sleep.
No dramatics, no cameras, no interviews. The crew would depart the next
day for "flak leave" to shake off the stress. And then be expected back early
in November. (Just in time to resume "normal" activities on a mission to
Mission No. 98 from Nuthampstead had begun at 0400 that morning of October
15, 1944. It would be Cologne (again), led by CA pilots Robert Templeman
of the 602nd, Frank Schofield of the 601st and Charles Khourie of the
Tragedy and death appe
The Day The Music Died
THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED 50 YEARS AGO TODAY!
On February 3, 1959, a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, United States killed three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson.
The day was later called The Day the Music Died by Don McLean in his 1971 song "American Pie".
EVENTS LEADING TO THE CRASH
"The Winter Dance Party" was a tour that was set to cover 24 Midwestern cities in three weeks. A logistical problem with the tour was the amount of travel, as the distance between venues was not a priority when scheduling each performance. For example, the tour would start at venue A, travel 200 miles (320 km) to venue B, and travel back 170 miles (270 km) to venue C, which was only 30 miles (48 km) from venue A. Adding to the disarray, the tour bus used to carry the musicians was ill-prepared for the weather; its heating system broke shortly after the tour began.
Drummer Carl Bunch developed a severe case of frostbitten feet while on the bus and was taken to a local hospital. As he recovered, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens took turns with the drums.
The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa was never intended to be a stop on the tour, but promoters, hoping to fill an open date, called the manager of the ballroom at the time and offered him the show. He accepted and the date of the show was set for February 2.
By the time Buddy Holly arrived at the ballroom that evening, he was frustrated with the tour bus and told his bandmates that, once the show was over, they should try to charter a plane to get to the next stop on the tour, Moorhead, Minnesota. According to VH-1's Behind the Music: The Day the Music Died, Holly was also upset that he had run out of clean undershirts, socks, and underwear. He needed to do some laundry before the next performance, and the local laundromat in Clear Lake was closed that day.
Flight arrangements were made with Roger Peterson, 21, a local pilot who worked for Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa. A fee of $36 per person was charged for the single engine Beechcraft Bonanza B35 (V-tail), registration N3794N (later reassigned). The Bonanza could seat three passengers in addition to the pilot.
Richardson had developed a case of the flu during the tour and asked one of Holly's bandmates, Waylon Jennings, for his seat on the plane; Jennings agreed to give up the seat. When Holly learned that Jennings wasn't going to fly, he said, "Well, I hope your ol' bus freezes up." Jennings responded, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes." This exchange of words, though made in jest at the time, haunted Jennings for the rest of his life.
Ritchie Valens had never flown in a small plane before, and asked Holly's remaining bandmate on the plane, Tommy Allsup, for the seat. Tommy said "I'll flip ya for the remaining seat." Contrary to what is seen in biographical movies, that coin toss did not happen at the airport shortly before takeoff, nor did Buddy Holly toss it. The toss happened at the ballroom shortly before departure to the airport, and the coin was tossed by a DJ who was working the concert that night. Valens won a seat on the plane.
Dion DiMucci of Dion & The Belmonts, who was the fourth headline performer on the tour, was approached to join the flight as well; however, the price of $36 was too much. Dion had heard his parents argue for years over the $36 rent for their apartment and could not bring himself to pay an entire month's rent for a short plane ride.
At approximately 1:00 AM Central Time on February 3, the plane took off from Mason City Municipal Airport. Around 1:05, Jerry Dwyer, the owner of Dwyer Flying Service, could see the lights of the plane start to descend from the sky to the ground. At the time, he thought it was an optical illusion because of the curvature of the Earth and the horizon.
The pilot, Roger Peterson, was expected to file his flight plan once the plane was airborne, but Peterson never called the tower. Repeated attempts by Dwyer to contact his pilot failed. By 3:30 AM, when the airport at Fargo had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted authorities and reported the aircraft missing.
Around 9:15 in the morning, Dwyer took off in another small plane to fly Peterson's intended route. A short time later Dwyer spotted the wreckage in a cornfield belonging to Albert Juhl, about 5 miles northwest of the airport (43°13?12?N 93°23?0?WCoordinates: 43°13?12?N 93°23?0?W).
The manager of the Surf Ballroom, who drove the performers to the airport and witnessed the plane taking off made the positive identification of the performers.
The Bonanza was at a slight downward angle and banked to the right when it struck the ground at around 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). The plane tumbled and skidded another 570
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