By Herbert Brooks Hatch
Memoirs of a WWII Fighter Pilot
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Additional resources for An Ace and His Angel: Memoirs of a WWII Fighter Pilot
S plane. He was standing by his plane with his back to us and when we pulled up he turned and glared at me. " he yelled. J wondered what he was so pissed about and started to answer him when I took a good look. His flight suite was wet from his crotch to his knees. It only took a minute to figure out his problem and [ started to laugh. [t seems that at the moment I called the break he had just commenced relieving himself into the relief tube. He had to turn loose of everything to grab the wheel with predictable results.
He was the epitome of the phlegmatic Swede. He was always, or nearly always, calm, quiet and ready to listen. He was a damned good pilot - smooth, steady and a pleasure to fly formation with. But as a fighter pilot he had one drawback. He couldn't shoot. I don't think he could hit a barn if he was standing inside of it. I'm going to tell a story now that, had it been known at the time, would have resulted in both of us washing out of Cadet training at Williams. One of our last hurdles in Advanced was qualifying in aerial gunnery.
At that point we dropped our belJy tanks and started to climb to the altitude we were supposed to reach to cover the 82nd. As we completed our turn, we flew right over an enemy airfield and in the pattern were four or five Dornier 217 transports. No fighter pilot could turn down a target like that and our Squadron leader, Johnny Shepherd, went after them. I followed my flight leader in the attack and wasted a few rounds of ammunition I needed badly a little later. In all this turning and changing direction, I had fallen back of my Green one and two by about fifty or sixty yards.
An Ace and His Angel: Memoirs of a WWII Fighter Pilot by Herbert Brooks Hatch