This is the second part of a very long letter from Grandpa to his five sons scattered around the world. Lad had a chance to go up in a B-26 and relates the story in a letter to his wife, Marian (my Mom).
Marian Irwin Guion, wife of Lad
I hitched out to the base with Al Vegel, and by inquiry, we found that quite a few ships (B-26’s) were going to go up for practice formations. We made arrangements to go up in one of them, but a few moments later the flight was canceled. We decided to try another squadron, but just as we were asking, all flights were canceled there too. We were persistent and in a third squadron, got lined up again – – just before cancellation.
Across the field we could see a plane warming up so we started for it. By the time we had walked about half the way across (about one third of a mile) the plane taxied off. Al decided to take a picture of it as it went past us on the runway so we hurried a little to get ready before it reached us. We got there O.K. just a few minutes before he started. The wind was still blowing a little and after the plane left the ground the wind lifted it so that it passed directly over us. What a noise!!
Just about then we heard another plane warming up so we continued on across the field toward it. Once more we were late and decided to make one more attempt. By this time, we had been wandering around for about two and half hours. Our last inquiry gave us a lead to a ship which had a new engine just installed and it had to have a trial run. We made the necessary arrangements with the pilot, a captain, and got our chutes. Back at the plane we climbed aboard and after a final power test we taxied about 1 ½ miles to the beginning of the airstrip. Before pulling on the runway, if time permits, one of the crew gets out to check the tires for glass, nails, splinters, steel, etc., to help protect against flat tires. Time permitted, and the navigator got out. In a very few moments he was back again covered with oil spray. After a very short consultation with the second pilot they both got out again. When, after a few seconds, they climbed aboard again, they said it was leaking oil too badly to take a chance. So, we taxied back again.
Apparently the pilot and second pilot had to go up anyway so they called for another plane. Our hopes rose again and we tagged along to the other plane – – the oldest on the field, and it sure looked at; plenty of patches all over. We stood around for about 10 minutes while they made a minor engine repair and we all climbed aboard again. This time there was no hitch and we were airborne about 4 o’clock. The pilot willingly flew over our post so we could see what it looked like from the air (10,000 feet) but it was almost too small to see. We made a big circle and came down again at 5:30 after flying about 300 miles over very picturesque country was little hamlets or towns quite close together all over the place. It was really very pretty. Of course we asked all sorts of questions but the answers in general are probably restricted information so I’ll not repeat any of them.”…
Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of Lad’s letter. On Thursday, I will post Grandpa’s comments and additional news about family and friends. On Friday I’ll post a letter from Lad, written on the same day as grandpa’s, but not received until May 24th.