February 25, 2024


sights and trips

Planet War II pilot in Tennessee recollects missions, shares faith journey

R.A. Mathews

  • The Rev. Mathews is a faith columnist and the writer of “Reaching to God.”

“No a single at any time slept prior to a mission,” Nashville’s 99-12 months-old Jerome Neal states, a  World War II bomber pilot.

Missions could be 10-12 hours lengthy and the B-24 would fall to a temperature of minus 70 degrees by the time it reached 30,000 toes.

“Your oxygen line could freeze, and then you’d suffocate,” Neal states. Males endured from frostbite and had to have a hand or foot amputated.

Much worse was enemy gunfire. Tasked with flying deep into Germany to hit targets like railroads and ball-bearing crops, the bombers faced German anti-aircraft hearth.

“Those guns were being powerful,” Neal says. After his to start with mission, his plane had been hit so numerous periods it could no for a longer period fly. The second mission was the same.

“Flying in the Eighth Air Force was like keeping a ticket to a funeral – your very own.” That was a typical declaring at the time according to the Countrywide WWII Museum, which claims that most 1943 bomber crews did not survive earlier their fifth mission.