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  • Writer's pictureLoretto Thompson

In the Nose

September 16th, 6:40, Saturday (1944 - Yuma, AZ) Dear Mother, Harry and Mike, Ho! Ho! But today’s tour and the prospect for to-morrow are gloomy indeed. At first we were awakened at 4 AM so that we would be on flight line early for our Orientation Flight this morning. Then we all had to wait, yours truly not going up until 10:30. The flight itself was uneventful but we did see a good bit of Yuma Valley from the air and I rode in the nose of the Flying Fortress most of the way. Can’t say I was thrilled to pieces but they are splendid planes and truly merit the name they have made for themselves. The day has been a long one and I am tired – mostly from waiting. . .

December 16th (1944 - Gulfport, MS) Dear Mother, Harry and Mike,

. . . Well, as it turned out I didn't have to get rough - the Pilot heard the aforementioned conversation and although I was busy at the time and didn't get to hear it - My boy Sundin reamed out the Navigator, told him that I was to have said information. You see if I don't come through at least once an hour, we have to turn back to Base and be assigned some other type of mission. As far as the radio was concerned on this particular trip, I was at a distinct disadvantage for the most effective antenna on the ship was not installed in it and in addition to that my receiver tubes were weak and though I could get through I believe at 400-500 miles away from Gulfport I could not receive answers to my messages, so without receipts for those messages they could be of no particular use to us. Also in order to get Army stations along the way I had to be right on the frequency, but the electric device, "a frequency meter," which I had on the plane, was inoperative due to worn out dry cells. So for 2 1/2 hours I was in a pretty pickle. The pilot was well aware of what I was up against and that the whole crew would only have to repeat the mission if we didn't somehow get straightened out. Then to have the lad in the nose get irate was almost too much for me and apparently too much for ma pilot.

And finally . . .

Monday, April 23 (1945 - Horham, UK) Dear Mother, Harry and Mike,

. . . Well, I was interrupted as I expected. We lost our Bombardier. That is, he was put in a pool I believe for lead crews. Sooo now we have what is called a togglier. Our waist gunner and armorer will be advanced to that position in the nose and I believe we get a new waist gunner. I hate to lose Robinson - he was the only other right hander on the crew and a mighty good boy, but that is the way it goes. He was by far the smoothest operator of the officers and it was a pleasure to watch him work. He was the oldest officer on the crew a year younger than I am. All this leads up to the point that being eager for knowledge and having been assigned nothing else to do for the afternoon I went with Kimpel to be checked out as togglier. Not that I ever expect to do the job but I figure that anything you ever learn [won't] go to waste.

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