The Collins Foundation  22            April 2011

Right after you climb the short ladder it goes from nice and calm outside to a lot going on inside. This is looking towards the rear of the aircraft and you can see the tail turret at the end of that walk way. It was blocked off so this was as far back as I was able to go.



Turning to my left are boxes of ammo for the tail turret gun. Holes in the side of the box made it easy to see how many rounds were left.



Here is what I saw when I took a few more steps towards the front. The older gentleman with the cane is a World War II vet that flew in one of these aircraft during the war. I didn't get his name because he was talking to these two guys and once I had listened to him for a minute, there were three guys now listening. He was a radioman and flew 22 missions in this great aircraft. Here are a couple of stories that he talked about while I was there.



"We were on a training mission learning to shoot the guns. When the waist gunner came around shooting at his target, he accidentally shot the tail of the aircraft and put a bunch of holes in it. We knew that the crew was in trouble for this but when we told our flight mechanic about it, he told us not to worry". The mechanic said "I’ll tell them I need to change the oil or something and repair the holes while it’s in the big deal". He also said they added some kind of stops to the gun so it wouldn't swing so far because when he looked at the gun he didn't remember it looking the way it did.



Five minutes have passed by now and a few people wanted to make there way past us but this guy just kept on talking. And the rest of us just kept on listening.

His other story, " As we were landing, the plane was in the mud because it was splashing in on the right side window and that’s when I knew we were in trouble. Then the mud started coming in on the left side, which is when I panicked. Not long after that one of my buddies said “oh the hell with this” and jumped out of the plane. I thought to myself…he’s going to die…but when I looked at the door that he jumped out (the place where the ladder was placed), he was just standing there. Little did I know that the plane was stopped but with the engines still running I just didn’t know".

I don't know how many stories I had missed but those two were great to hear.



Here you can see some of the many oxygen tanks which were for the crew to breath. Notice the guy leaving the plane because I think he got tired of listening to the stories. His loss that's for sure.


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