Segment 4

Annotation

Herbert Heilbrun did not care which theater he fought in as long as he was a part of the war. He got into training late and instead of forming a group the men were sent wherever they were needed. He flew from Lincoln, Nebraska to Bangor, Maine to Gander, Newfoundland to Terceira in the Azores to French West Africa to Tunis and Italy. He flew 7075 miles. Heilbrun met Cary Grant and Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Dempsey and Primo Carnera. Heilbrun’s crew was assigned to Italy as a replacement crew. Two men were replacements. In 1944 his commander told him to fly and bring his assigned airplane to Germany 35 times and if completed, he could go home. Heilbrun read about the heavy air losses that included 127774 casualties in both theaters including wounded, missing, and killed in action. Heilbrun was told it was impossible to complete 25 missions from England as a pilot. Heilbrun was concerned, more than scared, about survival. Czechoslovakia had 850 flak guns and Heilbrun’s plane was hit 89 times. Heilbrun did not turn onto the target and instead turned onto the bomb run where the men put on their flak suits. On the bomb run the whole sky turned black and the important part was to do the job. Over Linz, Austria, Heilbrun called his navigator to discuss coming home but he did not answer. His navigator could not handle it and almost jumped out of the plane. Another pilot got scared and began screaming and wanted to drop the bombs early, but Heilbrun told him not to.

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