Segment14

Annotation

When Anderson returned from R&R [Annotator's Note: rest and relaxation/recuperation] he was ordered to see a shrink and told that he did not have to go back into combat.During Anderson's second tour, he and Chuck Yeager became friends. Anderson was promoted to Major and madeOperations Officer and Yeager was a flight leader.In the fall, Anderson saw that they would complete their tours in January. Yeager told Anderson that it would be something if they were shot down on one of their last missions. Yeager came up with the idea to go on their last mission as alternates. Since Anderson was the Operations Officer, he made the flight schedules. If they went out as alternates and weren't needed they could go on their own sight seeing tour of Germany. They could then return to base and count the flight as a mission. Anderson liked the idea and thought he could do it.In January there were many missions where no German fighters would be seen. There were also days when they would come across several hundred of them.On the 15th of January 1945 Anderson and Yeager went out on their final mission. As planned they went as alternates. They weren't needed so they peeled off and headed in the direction of Switzerland. After they were separated by a couple of hundred miles they could talk to each other without the group hearing them.At the time, Anderson was a 22 year old Major.They decided that they would drop their wing tanks and the other would try to shoot them and light them on fire.When they finally returned to base, they were the last planes to return. Anderson saw a lot of people standing on his hard stand. When he pulled onto it his crew chief jumped up on his wing and told him that the group had shot down 57 German airplanes and asked how many he had gotten. Anderson and Yeager had missed the greatest air battle of all time.Anderson named his plane 'Old Crow' after the Kentucky whiskey but he tells his non-drinking friends that he named it after the bird. His wife Ellie used to kid him because he didn't name the plane after her.Anderson says that the pilots did a lot of drinking. During the war everyone smoked and drank. They were even issued whiskey after missions. Anderson drank but never smoked. The smoke bothered his eyes and he was concerned about his eyes. Anderson discusses Gunther Rall.

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