Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Captain Estes Recalls One Particular Mission

(Continuation of Captain Charles Estes's War Memoirs)

"I can recall one mission where we took off from Lecce and
I was lucky enough to pick up all of the necessary things
that I needed to stay in very close formation with this pilot
that was flying lead, and that meant that I had to tuck the
nose of my plane right up underneath the tail of his, and
we had to fly up through the clouds. And there were times
when I could never see him even, it was just clouds flashing
by; but I had his air speed and everything else captured by
the time that we got into this problem, and so it was just
like me flying his plane.

I was flying in exactly the same speed he was, the same
manifold pressure, the same RPM of the props,
and everything else, so all I had to do was keep
my nose right under his tail and we went onto the target,
dropped our bombs and came on back home.

And I remember it was a mission that Colonel Manzo, who
was the CO of the 98th Bomb Group at the time I was over
there, he asked that the pilots report to him and tell him
what we thought we had been able to accomplish with the
mission. Well, it was rather hard for me to determine
because I was flying behind the guy that was leading the
two planes on this mission. I understand that he reported
to Colonel Manzo that he thought that the mission had
been very successful. Of course, I never saw the target,
I never saw the bombs drop or any of that, so I couldn't
really and truly tell him anything about what I thought
except that I was proud that I was able to fly formation
with him through the clouds and reach the target,
and I just hoped that it was successful."

(To Be Continued.)

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