THEATER OF OPERATIONSElmer Buley's Bailout from the Chicken Charlie 11th Bomb plane
|" What Was Your Scariest Time In China ? "
|Art Fredricksen - 425th BS:
"When accumulation of ice on our wings turned our B-24 over while flying over the Hump."
|George Gates - 78th FS:
"The time I tried to bail out of my P-51 and the canopy wouldn't open!"
|Art Gretchman 11th BS:
"When Doc told me I had a rare venereal disease and there was no cure."
|Ray Crowell - 118th TRS:
"The time I flew a P-40 from Chengkung to Kunming... all of 19 miles or so. On March 12 1945, the Engineering Officer from Chengkung asked me if I would take a flight of 4 P-40s over over to Kunming for maintenance. It sounded like a good idea for something to do."
"So I rounded up three other guys also with time on their hands. The airplane I took was written up as having no left magneto, so I didn,t check it, also engine oil was found in two or three cylinders, but the crew cheif had it up to full power and found it O.K."
"She started fine so the four of us taxied out to the runway heading approximately southeast. Iran it up full tilt and held it. All was fine, so away I went. Took off O.K., but about 50 feet off the ground a terrible bang and a sheet of flame ran down the side of the plane and she started to detonate."
"I dropped my belly tank then and there on the runway. With airspeed at approximately 110mph, I struggled to stay in the air heading directly at a series of rice paddys with their many dikes and started a very slow turn to the right (large hill on the left). Now only 100ft. and no more, I decided I had no choice but to try a 180 degree turn. Approached the runway about a third of the way down at a 60 degree angle and right over the 449th's P-38s , put the gear handle down, pumped the emergency hand pump, pulled the nose up, banked sharp left and she was on the ground."
"Couldn't taxi, no engine, it died !" Combat was scary enough, but this episode almost did me in !"