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From the Journal of a B-17 Top Turret Gunner

  • 2019 2018

    Several years ago, I had the great honor and privilege of meeting Chief Master Sergeant Ted Hood (USAF, Retired). He served in the Air Force for 31 years, a career stretching from World War II to Vietnam. During WWII, Hood was the top turret gunner/engineer of a B-17 in the 306th Bomb Group. He flew 35 missions over occupied Europe, the first of which was on 6 June 1944.

    CMSGT Hood (who passed away two years ago this month) was kind enough to let me read the journal he kept during WWII, as well as copy a passage or two. I stumbled upon this in my files and thought the folks here could appreciate it. Hood described the following to me as “an interesting day.”

    “7 OCT 1944 – Today I learned that a man can resign himself to death without being panicky.  Went to Ruhland, south of Big “B” (Berlin).  Lost #1 before we hit the target.  Salvoed bombs.  Had to drop back from formation.  Made 4 runs on 4 targets.  Flak was heavy at each target.  All wings reported fighters at I.P. and rally point.  Ran low on gas.  #2 quit.  Robbed gas from #4, restarted #2.  Threw all guns, ammo, flak suits, spare radio equipment out.  Prepared to ditch.  Sighted land.  Prepared to crash on beach.  Made 90 degree turn saw a runway, let down on it.  #4 quit as we hit runway and #3 caught on fire as we stopped.  Had 15 gals of gas left in #2.  Rest of tanks dry…3 Boeing people from London checked ship, said no way we should have made the last 300 miles.”
    “8 OCT 1944 – Went to Mass.”

  • That’s the scary thing about being part of a bomber wing, if the enemy’s AA guns or Fighters don’t get you, the lack of fuel surely would

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