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THE CO-PILOT (page 3)

June 4th is dragging on. The weather is not the best. Possible postponement of the invasion. Eighteen 62nd Glider pilots have been sent to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing based m the group of fields west of London. Ramsbury, Membury, Welford Greenham Common and Adermaster.  Flight Officer Louis H. Zeidenschneider, about 5 6 , 120 pounds when wet, was in this group. No one called him Louis or Lou.  Few or any knew what the H" stood for; he was just Zeidenschneider - a friendly
guy looking for a poker or a crap game.

The Co-pilot was relieved, but only for a moment, when word was passed that the invasion was postponed 24 hours, another long day and evening, he would just as soon get it over with and if all went well the restriction would be lifted and he could head for Notts. Those girls are wondering where all the Yanks are.

For the first part, June 5th, 1944, was much the same as yesterday and the day before that, except that the sun was shining.  The hours slipped by and the Co-pilot found himself again at Operations hoping that someone might have been removed from flying for any reason and he would be thrust into that left seat. No such luck and-time was flying by. Glenn Grimes and all the crew members were checking the aircraft an watching the 508th PIR get their equipment on Must be a hundred or more pounds on each one; some have a spare chute, some don't.

June 5 was 23 hours and 20 minutes old when Col. Clayton Stiles released the brakes and started rolling The two wingmen on either side rolled with him as the other element leaders followed with their three aircraft. Nine aircraft would be rolling or airborne by the time Col. Stiles cleared the taxi way 6,000 feet on the other side of the Saltby Army Air Base. Without interrupting the timing or spacing, Major Arthur Tappan followed with the second nine aircraft of the 62nd.

The Co-pilot watched the airspeed, pulled the wheels, adjusted the cowl flaps and milked the wing flaps while keeping a lookout for other aircraft. All Grimes had to do was fly formation; Palumbo unfolded his charts; Hensley paid heed to the engines and Wodinsky tuned in to the static.

Col. Stiles was checking with Lt. Col. Thomas Shanley, 2nd/508th, as Fred Evans made a wide slow turn to allow the other elements of the 314th to catch the first nine. The pilots had done this so often that it took no more than ten minutes from take off till they were a tight group of 60 Gooneybirds. Easy with all the lights on - navigation, formation and the amber recognition. Fred fell in five minutes behind the 315th Group and maintained 133 miles per hour ground speed and 1,500 feet altitude to the estuary of the Severn River.

Not much for the Co-pilot to do; keep his eye on the gauges and dials, watch the formation ahead and an occasional light on the ground.  He tightened the parachute straps and watched the English Channel approach as the formation descended to 500 feet. The Co-pilot decided it was a good time to walk to the back and use the biffy; might not have time a bit later; told Grimes and made his way to the tail. It was a nice smooth ride and the 508th troopers were relaxed, talking and for once, not airsick. On the way back to the cockpit the Co-pilot climbed up and looked out the astrodome. What a view in the moonlight! C-47's as far as he could see to the front and rear. Hundreds of them and this is just from the 52nd Wing. Strapped himself in again and reminded Grimes that it was time to turn off the navigation lights. Grimes nodded in the affirmative.
 

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