THE KID - (submitted by Jeff O'Handley, 318th Sqn)

 

    The Kid (so called because he was the youngest -- and newest -- man on Chief Hanson's ground crew) whistled happily as he began his work.  It looked like this one would be easy as pie.  No damage, not even a scratch!  This was the third time in a week that Eat at Joe’s had come back so clean.

 

    “Boy, this is great!” he said out loud, to anyone who would listen.  No one on Hanson's crew acknowledged him; they had all gotten right to work, but he kept on talking anyway.  “These guys are great," he gushed. “They never come back with damage.  It’s like the Krauts are afraid of them!”

 

    “Yeah?” responded a voice from under the plane.  The Kid looked and saw someone peering out from below the fuselage.  “It may be great for you, but it stinks for me!  I’d like to see these guys fire off a little more ammo so I don’t have to lug it all back to the ordinance tent!  These boxes are practically full, and they’re heavy!” The Kid was about to respond when the Chief came into view.

 

    “What the hell’re you jawing about?” he growled. “Kid, get over and check out that number three engine.”

 

    “Right, Chief!” and away he went. Hanson, chewing on the stump of an unlit cigar, watched the Kid scurry away.
 

    “Kids,” he muttered.


BELLY-ACHING - (submitted by Bob Hamel, 316th Sqn)

 

Over a few beers at the E-Club.

 

    “Sarge, what's the deal about us not getting any credit for enemy kills since about our mission to Florence?”

 

    “Edmond, ya just have to have patience . . . Ya’ll get your blasted credit when the rest of the squadron gets theirs. . .”

 

    “But Sarge, NOBODY on this plane has received C-O-N-F-I-R-M-A-T-I-O-N . . . That’s just not right . . . other guys have.  I’ve
seen one of the guys over on the 399th paint’n a 'SWASTICA' on their plane . . . what gives, did we suddenly get frozen out?”

 

    “Bobby, you are so full of it . . . Now stop causing trouble with some of the younger guys . . . there’ll be plenty of Krauts and Paint for all of us before this is over . . . Now, stop your bellyaching and pass the nuts, ya nut.”


WELCOMING SOME NEW GUYS - (submitted by Jeff O'Handley, 318th Sqn)

 

    Delany walked through the muddy road towards the O-Club, feeling better than he had since they had started flying.  Today’s mission had gone extremely well -- they’d suffered no casualties, and the new bombardier had put 40% of the bombs in the target zone.  First time in 5 missions they’d hit the target!  He’d stopped in at the hospital after dinner to see Straw and Haversham.  While neither man looked particularly good (especially Haversham -- poor guy had tubes sticking out of every part of him), the docs said they should both make full recoveries.

 

    Now he was on his way to the Club, for the first time since after their first mission (was that only a week ago? It felt like forever to Joe).  Barstown and Pike would be there already, hopefully with a cold brew waiting for him.  As he approached the club, he saw two men standing uncertainly outside.  They looked as if they were trying  to decide if they should go in or not.  Delany recognized them from around the base, though he couldn’t remember if he’d been introduced to them or not.

 

    New guys, he thought as he drew closer.  He nearly passed them without stopping, then he remembered how he’d felt when he first got here, before he flew any missions.  Many of the veteran crews kept their distance from the new guys.  Once you got a mission under your belt, it all changed, it was like you were part of the club, and you gained acceptance.  Until then, he and his men had felt somewhat isolated and a little uncomfortable around those guys, but he also remembered there were a couple of guys who welcomed him right away.

 

    He paused at the door, and said, “Hey, you guys gonna stand around in the cold all night?  Why don’t you come in, have a drink with me and my guys? I’m Delany . . . Joe Delany.”

 

    He could almost see relief pass through the two. “Sure, that’d be swell,” said the first man.  He offered Joe his hand. “I'm Wells, this is my copilot, Paul Kingery.”


BACK AT THE TENT - (submitted by Jeff O'Handley, 318th Sqn)

 

    Delany, Barstow, and Pike returned early to their tent after spending some time in the O-club with some of the 'new guys' in the 318th.

 

    “Nice fellas,” said Pike, stripping down into his civvies. “They seem to have their heads on pretty straight, too. They should do all right.”

 

    Sitting on his bunk removing his shoes, Charlie Barstow chuckled suddenly.

 

    “What’s funny?” asked Delany, cocking an eyebrow at the navigator.

 

    “Well,” said Barstow, “I think it’s funny that we’re dispensing advice to 'the kids' like we’re seasoned veterans, when we’ve only been flying for a week ourselves!”


TOWER RECEPTIONS: Mission 27 - (submitted by Mark Yoshikawa, 317th Sqn)

 

Over Villaorba:

 

    “THIS IS COWBOY ONE TO FIREBALL ONE . . . THIS IS COWBOY ONE TO FIREBALL ONE . . . ENGINE #4 SUFFERED DAMAGE FROM FLAK AND IS HEAVILY LEAKING OIL . . . REPEAT, ENGINE #4 SUFFERED DAMAGE FROM FLAK AND IS HEAVILY LEAKING OIL . . . AM GOING TO ATTEMPT TO SHUT DOWN ENGINE AND FEATHER PROP . . . REPEAT AM GOING TO ATTEMPT TO SHUT DOWN ENGINE AND FEATHER PROP.....SHOULD BE ABLE TO STAY IN FORMATION . . . REPEAT SHOULD BE ABLE TO STAY IN FORMATION . . . THIS IS COWBOY ONE . . . OVER AND OUT . . .”