Mount Pleasant News

Mount Pleasant, IA

27 Mar 1945





By Frank Miles

In the European Theater (IDPA) -- I was one of 13 correspondents to fly on a B-24 out to American bases in England from which one of the biggest attacks of the war had been launched. Our purpose was to interview returning fliers.

Two of the bombers did not return to the base to which I was assigned.

A pilot of a ship that did said his homecoming was a "miracle."

Fog was so heavy near the target he was unable to keep in formation. As he got closer one engine caught fire then things went wrong with two others. Over target he had three engines feathered. The apparatus for unloosing the bombs jammed. The crew dumped them by hand, then expected him to give the signal bell to bail out. Instead he managed to keep the craft aloft. Crewmen did what was necessary to clear the motors. They reached home port okay.

Cpl. Wilbur Garr, Centerville, was his chin gunner.

I flew from the base to London in a plane whose pilot couldn't find the port for which he was destined for almost an hour.

In the British capital, I met an old Iowa National Guard friend. Lt. Col. William Ward, Des Moines, who was on the United Kingdom base staff and had been overseas two and a half years. He joined the guard in 1926, was in the engineering department at the city hall before going on active duty, was at Camp Claiborne, for a time, then came across in the fifth corps.

Lt. Allan Pickett, Des Moines, is one of the colonel's younger officers.

Flc. Charles D Howard, Des Moines, who works on Negro public relations, and I ran across each other in one of the army buildings.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, March 27, 1945

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