Whee! I got wings!
Monday, April 30, 1945
Here is my answer for not writing the past 2 days- Sat. nite I was on emergency duty(nothing happened, I wasn’t called) and I didn’t think of anything to write about as nothing happened-or have I said that before? That was the nite of the “Peace scare” or whatever you call it. We listened to the radio continuously so we could hear the news when it came in, but all there was, were the reports, interrupting the programs, saying that it was entirely unconfirmed. It got so bad down here, that passes were revoked, rifles locked up and tap rooms etc. closed in town, all in order to prevent as much a disturbance as possible. Obviously the passes were OK’d by Sunday because another fellow and I took off early for Austin.
We made a bus and got off at the Austin road. After waiting some time we caught a ride with 2 Lts. The one that was driving was telling his buddy a bout his home in Colorado, Denver, and my friend said, “why I come from there!” So they had a nice chat all about home and even some distant mutual friends. The Lt. then said jokingly to the other Lt., “Now Denver’s my idea of a city. It’s better than any other city,” then he emphasized with a smile, “even better than Philadelphia.”
“Phila.” I yelped, “that’s my home.” “That’s too much,” was all the Lt. could say. So there we were, two Lt’s and 2 privates from the same cities. It was a lot of fun!
We arrived at Austin, ate and took a bus to Bergstrom Field. Went to Phase 1 operations room where after a wait saw that nice Sgt. I met there 2 weeks ago. He told us to hang around, then when the pilots come in, he arranged for a sweet pilot, Lt. Adams, to take us up. Lt. Adams was an instructor and the so called “student” was a Flight-Lt.
We all signed out for parachutes (I rate a small size), hopped in a lorry and set out for our plane-a C-46-twin motor transport type. Just for the hell of it, I put the ‘chute on all the way snapping all the snaps until I looked like a flyer. Up the ladder and into the plane, we climbed. That ship is enormous, just like a box-car on the inside. Along the sides are these bucket-seats which fit your seat-type ‘chute, but we took off the bulky affirs and showed them. Most of the time, I had a choice seat up front directly behind the pilots in the observers or flight-engineers’ seat. The cockpit (where the pilots sit) is one terrific image of wheels, levers, dials, buttons, switches and equipment, but due to my aeronautics course and lots of observing I understood practically all of them.
We taxied to the runway, revved up the engines, then started down the strip with a hellova racket. Faster and faster we went then suddenly I noticed the ground was falling away and in a surprisingly short time we were ‘way up in the air. It’s sort of hard to describe my first impressions of being up and looking down, but it’s really something out of this world. We flew at about 5000 got and at that altitude, cars look like specks crawling along a slightly broader white line. Everything is so colorful just like looking at the Technicolor movie. Bright red roofs on houses about the size of a postage stamp, woods are beautiful clumps of green, and fields are so “perfect” in alignment with each other and along with cities and towns are so geometrically perfect. The river was beautiful, like sparkling glass in the sunlight. At one time we flew right over Austin, over the football stadium and university, the state capital and business district. It was almost breath-taking to see these familiar things from above. It reminded me so much of something in miniature-like Norman Bel Geddes General Motors’ exhibit at the World’s Fair.
We stayed up about 3 ½ hours, during which the student, practiced one motor flying, touch and go landings and instrument flying. I enjoyed it most when the plane would dip a little and you get that feeling in your stomach like on the Jack Rabbit. When we came in for the few landings, we would practically stand on our nose (so it seemed at least), I’d feel that sensation in my stomach and the ground would rush up to meet us. Then we’d level off and in, with the flaps down, floating lazily for a breath-taking moment, then regaining speed and hit the handing strip with a little bounce and screech from the tires. The pilot would immediately throttle forward, and we’d take off again without stopping. When the plane would turn and bank, you have the impression of sitting level and seeing the horizon tip and twist until you look down and see what you’re actually doing. If you look out the opposite window, all you see is sky and some of the most beautiful cloud formations I’ve ever seen. Even tho, it seemed clear on the ground, the horizon was vague and usually just a pink haze in the distance. I guess I could rave on forever. We landed, caught a bus back to town, ate and set out for home. We caught a ride with 2 nice looking girls from U. of Texas and their chaperone (I guess) who was driving. We sang together all the way to Belton where we got a camp Hood bus.
So ends that!
Sat. morning I went to sick-call to complain of mostly imaginary aches in my leg. I just wanted to see what would be done. I got an appointment for the orthopedic clinic for this afternoon- I went, and in typical army style waited an hour until the doctor saw me. He looked me over and instead of recommending no hikes and drills like I thought he would, he said the little drilling I get here would be beneficial in regaining the functioning of my leg. He then gave me a slip for an x-ray (which I had taken afterwards) and an appointment for physio. Again I have physio. This time 3 days a week, in the morning so it won’t interfere with my work. They have more equipment for exercises here so it might be helpful.
Both boxes of candy and cookies (with socks) arrived today. All I can say is “Boy!” That’s perfect just what I like and want, including the socks.
I’m going to see “The Affairs of Susan” tonite.
That’s all, I guess, Id’ like Betty and Herb to hear about my “solo” flight, but I doubt if I could write so much again. So, let them read it whenever they come, or over the phone if necessary. Oh yes, have you any more pictures taken? And again when would (be) the best time for my furlough?