Frequent commenter Toejam sent this via email, and posted with his permission…
I was shopping at a local(North Carolina) “Harris Teeter” supermarket today. As chance would have it I pulled into a parking space next to a 7 year old Buick sedan. As I walked toward the store I noticed the license plate had: “Recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross” on it. That’s one step below the “Congressional Medal of Honor” for you non-military types.
Suddenly a stooped, Silver-grey haired man approached. He was stooped & old but he had a special sparkle in his eyes.
I asked if this Buick was his. He said “yes sir it is”. Here standing next to me was the WW-II pilot of a B-17 that was shot down over Europe and he called me “Sir”!
3 out of 4 engines of his B-17 were shot totally out by flack at 26,000 feet and the plane was starting to spiral down. He ordered his 9 man crew to bail out, but he decided to stick with the plane to try and keep it fairly level till the men got out. Finally, it was his turn. He jumped at barely 500 feet.
He didn’t say how many of the crew survived and I didn’t ask. The survivors were aided by the “partisans” and, after a long cold trek, they got back to American lines.
Here we were standing in the middle of a busy parking lot, me listening and him telling me this like he was reliving a dream. Cars were backed up but neither of us noticed.
Finally, I thanked him for his service and his heroic deed. He gave me a card with his address and phone number. Then while getting into his car he smiled and said: “come over for a visit some time and we’ll have a longer talk.”
You can bet I’ll take him up on the offer.
The LINK is the abbreviated story of the B-17 Pilot Toejam met today. A humble, polite but very proud member of the “Greatest Generation”.
When Toejam does meet with LT Logan, I’ll post it here.