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THE CO-PILOT (page 5)

All the Co-pilot wanted now was to cross that beach and get out over the water. One problem suddenly appeared - a large dark dome - a pill box on the coast and Grimes kicked rudder and flew around it. "Got it made" thought the Co-pilot - when a sudden bright flash filled the cockpit.

Capt. Charles S. Cartwright had a problem too - when the troops from the lead element jumped, he gave the green light and nothing happened. Checked his instruments, 700 feet indicated, 105 airspeed, but before he could ask what the problem was, word was relayed from Crew Chief S/Sgt. Raymond Farris to Navigator Edward Osborne that the Jump Master said the plane was too low. With no time to argue the point that he was at the same altitude as the rest of the formation, Charlie Cartwright, leading the right element of the first nine over DZ "N", checked for his wingmen and started a right turn to place himself once more over the DZ. With other aircraft approaching the drop zone, Charlie turned on his navigation lights, the better to be seen by the other pilots. This also attracted the gunners on the ground and they concentrated on this lone bird that had left the flock.

Ground fire was finding the range as Charlie, once again over the DZ and a hundred feet higher, gave the green light a second time with the same results_- then discovered the Captain Jump Master at the cockpit wanting to discuss the problem. Charlie ended the discussion with "Get the hell out, everyone except your stick has jumped. I'll make one more pass". The statement and the turn for the third run was interrupted by direct hits from explosive shells that opened up a hole the size of a bushel basket next to Sgt. Farris and wounding a paratrooper.  Ed Osborne expressed his opinion to the Jump Master that the plane was going down and the Jump Master made the decision "high or low - it's time to leave" and led all but the wounded paratrooper out the door.

Still receiving concentrated fire, Charlie found himself just south of the DZ and heading west where he had come from when both engines quit and caught fire. Making a one-eighty he discovered the coast was too far away and made another ninety to the right and looked for a field as the crew members took crash positions - Ed Osborne against the bulkhead behind the pilot compartment and Ray Farris and Radio Operator Frank DeLuca in the main cabin against the front bulkhead.

Two crew members, who by chance had little envolvement [sic] due to their assigned positions were flight Officer Alma Magleby,  Co-pilot - all he could do was grip the seat and wait in the event Charlie needed help.  The other, Radio Operator Frank DeLuca, oldest member of the crew, five years more than the pilot and ten years older than the crew chief, was in tie best spot to see and hear all that happened. Yet he could do nothing to change the events that were threatening his life.

Wheels up, Charlie Cartwright was about to test the skills that had been drummed into him from the early days of Primary Flight training, and ahead were no large open spaces - only small fields with the hedgerows of Normandy. He picked one and it was too close; the next was too far but the best choice as Charlie stretched the glide, hit the hedge, and dropped gently on the other side in a ball of fire.

Before Charlie had started the third pass at the DZ, Grimes and the Co-pilot had lost their night vision. The Co-pilot, not knowing the condition of Grimes, grabbed the controls and pulled for altitude. As their vision returned, Grimes and the Co-pilot looked at each other and asked if the other was alright. Satisfied that Grimes was not injured, the Co-pilot relaxed his grip on the controls, placed his hands in his lap and found a small knob. He wondered what this was from and then realized that it was off the altimeter. Looked to his left at the hole in front of Grimes and discovered there was no altimeter. Checking the rest of the instruments, he found only that one tackometer [sic] was out and that all engine instruments were indicating normal operation. No problem, half the fuel remained and a shorter route to Saltby and lots of airfields in between if any tank is leaking.
 

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