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THE CO-PILOT (page 2)

He knew it would do no good to complain. Ray Roush would not change the assignment and Major Tappan would back Ray all the way, and he and Grimes was flying Tap's right wing. That's it, Tap or Ray decided that there should be four experienced people in the two aircraft flying formation with the Commodore and some of the other pilots had newly assigned pilots who had less experience and no combat. Maybe Ray was looking after the Co-pilot as well and wanted to make sure that he had good people together at critical positions. Sure, that's why P.J. Warren is flying with Tap. One of the best, that PJ. Same thinking went into the assignments on the lead element. Col. Stiles has Downhill and Poling -- suppose Flight Leaders are expendable; they have one experienced pilot per wing while leading an element. What the hell, if the Co-pilot has to fly with someone, it might as well be G. (Boliver) Grimes.

Nothing to do now but wait. The airborne has not yet arrived; we get the 82nd again. Dropped the 505th and the 504th in Sicily and Italy; wonder who we will have on this trip. Kind of funny - the Air Force gets paid extra for flying, paratroops get paid extra for jumping - they don't like airplanes but have to use them to do their job. The crew members want no part of jumping out of airplanes if there is any chance of a safe landing. Takes all kinds of people and everyone thinks he has the best deal.

The word is that the mission is on for tomorrow night - take off late on June 4th. That will make D-Day on the 5th. Might as well hit the sack, long day tomorrow and a longer night.

The Co-pilot could sleep in any day of the week. The best days were when the weather was bad and no flying. The other days started with Paul Cook opening the door, calling out names and announcing breakfast at six, flight line at seven. So what was the Co-pilot doing awake at the crack of dawn with no place to go. Of all the days that he could use a little extra sack time, he's wide awake. Might as well get dressed and go to the mess hall.

The mess hall, shared with the 50th Squadron was not only full and buzzing with conversation but there was a long line. The line moved a bit slower today, fresh eggs any way you wanted them, sunny side up, over easy or burn ’em. ,The Co-pilot observed that rations improved when mission; were scheduled. Was it the fresh eggs that brought everyone to the mess hall or the excitement of D-Day?

The 62nd Operations was full. The pilots were checking the board for changes in personnel or flight position. All the same as yesterday. Some of the pilots were giving Capt. Roush a hard time for not scheduling himself. They just wanted to make him explain again that when Major Tappan was on a mission, he had to remain behind - can't take a chance of losing all the good men at once._ We understand that, Ray, but how come you are not going on the mission?"

1st Lt. Richard D. Stevens had been a Flight Leader since 1 June. He was not scheduled to fly while the other two newly appointed Flight Leaders Don Broaddus and Ed Bohnsack were leading elements. How come you're not going Steve"? "Because that damn Roush won't change the schedule -- Doc put me In the hospital for nothing and they set up the flights while I was gone. All I had was an ingrown hair in the wrong place".

Out on the flight line, Master Sergeant Jessie Russell was checking with the crew chiefs to make certain that all aircraft was ready and that the invasion stripes were well covered.  Commo Chief Bill Watson was also on the job, making sure those radios work. Even if we had "radio silence", they have to be in working order.  Most important is the navigation systems.

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