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.”