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. ay oukeLs nEaRT. Fy I50L. DAV HENTS CHAR I hed flown ‘240 combat hours, a8 photographer end wist.gunner, This ws my 36th mission «nd my first with ® new crew, It started. with trouble from the beginning, As I reached the plene thet morning T tested my gun and found it unservacenble. I onlied the line chief, »nd we went tc get the parts we needed, After we returned nd-I fixed the gun, we went into ® "pull" seasion About furloughs and "what nots," We Found some cocomnuts wand had @ lot of fun brenking ond eating them. Finelly it wes time for take-off, While ve were taxiing out to the strip one of the mechanics motioned tc us thet our nose wheel was low The jilos texied to the side cf the runwy tnd leter the ground men showed up with the sir compressor. We were late in teking-off put still hed hopes in omtehing up with our’ squadron formtion, We didn't however, so hed to join snothez squadron, Qn approaching the target, I hed trouble getting one cf my chute leg Straps Atisehed, So I left it go and test fired my guns-rgvin, When we stirted our run’on the target, I cculd see the Ack Ack bursting *t our level end meking quice © noises “Bombs away," nnd the next thing I know, "BANG" © direct hit on number three engine, Number three engine started tunning amy, It'mde n terrific romr and the plane mms thrown slightly out of contzcl, We thought we were going dom right there, becsuse several other shells furst close enough to mke some good hits, The erigines setwally gromned rnd number three smoked n while, Pear gtipged the crew and I haa 6 funny thate.in my mouth which must hive been fanz, The other wiist gumer had opened the onmers Itch, Everyone in-thd pack cf the plane wis standing and waiting for the signtl co jump. I couldn't get enyone to help me with my chute leg strip, I could huve jumped without fastening it, Dut I didn't went to. gho sedic opemtor hnd come to the trek of the’ ship wails over the terget and helped me after the ship wis in level flight egain, The co~pilo: cnlled over the inver-phone, "I ro can mike it, put lock sharp for Zeros, they love orippled plenes." ed “God, Af it ve thy will, ges us beck s»fe." The pilot hed just fenthered number two engine. The cd=pilo® oF to throw everything possi’ went except our parachutes ond emergency kits, We ware going tc beach Innding under our own convzol on * y island. The plane losing sltitude 2nst, We All siced in * daze, I lcoked for some more to throw out but there wis nothing left. We were pretty low so we put on emergency kits and the others lsid dewn by the waist windows, I got on the command deck becuse I figured the plene vould brevk there = it did, I was sweating out one thing = if I hed to die, I didn't want it to be A Slow denth, I waited for the first sound of the water touching snd then raced myself for the crash - I felt helpless. My body ws pushed aguinst the wing above the bomb diy; metal was crumbling Around m6 like piper. I was enveloped in flames ~ 2500 gallons of gas wis ignited, When I came to the plane had setbied in the witer, I thought my lungs would burst, snd I hed swallowed © lot of weter, would I ever reach the surtmce? I this how it feels to die? AmI tripped in shefuseinge? I ren into ® onble nnd. pushed it tside. I struggled to the surfuce, gasping for brenth, only tc find myself a few feet from the burning wing wanks, The flimdés were spreading snd my life-vest wis useless, Frantically I swam from the burning tanks, "God help me." Someones enlled from the wreckhge for help in inflating their life-vest - it wis che co-pilot. He we prralized from the hipa down end the ocrd on his vess hed become tangled. The blood wes running over my fnoe rnd into my eyes from two deep wounds in my schlp. I swim over to ihe co-pilot snd, wirning him not to gen on to me »8 Ihed.nc life vest,.I uniengled the cord fad infinved his vest. I es weighted dom vith my useless life-vesc, my jungled kit, 45 ~ulo- matic id canteen. Tistill had on ni eleetrie flying suit, ftigues sna hefvy Gly shoes. AB sooni+s.we were both clenrof the wreckage I attempted sonunburdea-myseif but started tc vomit before I-could do soy ThS Yomi ting made mo. wehk but I mennged: to: veke off evezything wut she'flying suit, fatigues end-hysvy shoes, The co=pilot-onliad ic me thet.A berge wns! on dtlsomyonnd to bengvont 1. saw blind haehad Zgund whioxggenbe tele But” Z ws teo:wenk i¢ svimiever.co himy Towns gaspingifex branchoand priying. The. waves kaos knocking mavdown end I ws nlmoat Fendy: to give upy When ‘the. berge srzsved) they: threw wen Iie veld buy Pt -gela-showt. > One of che,erewa deve overbotrd and pudhed it-over te mes When the efek net srtived sbout. five minutes Isger, chy threwwe Aline «na "beddly" puriea mauon boards I feliite theodeck' with evwhisSered tanks té Gods “Ane tHer dort pickedoup © wiistegunner ebcut * hundred yyras from ws; henging onto «n oxygen bottle. We shree-were the only survivers ‘fztm 1 Grew cf ten: We bed ortshed ton miles from the isiend sind Rai een anoche water twelty minutes. At ‘che hospitalowe were operscadyon inmodinvedy, ‘The eo-siies hed theee deep vounds in his legs, shiapnsd boing taken Thom ene, 4 aesh on his foxehend pnd mdi sloow:ed Yertebrhe’ nnd £radtuzed ribs” Thd-weist gunner hed five broken rivis,.n)friovured ankle, ‘lneerntions cn tha lege book nd heed, Iched » glight brain cencusion irom chy io “vous on my herd, ® bum troe oud minor euts rnd bruises or mv lags, Considoringtivit we hnd extshed sn shack infested -wters ond Plecding ns we were, we were all very lucky te eschpe with our lives, Vy Frigh is in Géa,