INTRODUCTION TO THE BOMBARDIER
BOQ rooms had 4 steel cots for the crew’s officers. Three
officers for my crew hadn’t yet been assigned. My bunk
was made up but the other three only had mattress and
pillow. I really was not prepared for what I saw when I
walked into my room. There, lying on my made up bed,
was a tall skinny kid, staring at the ceiling and smoking a
cigarette. His bedding was piled in the middle of the floor.
His first remark without taking his eyes off the ceiling was
“Well, I guess you’re Harper.” “You’re sure as hell right
about that,” I shot at him. Without changing his ceiling
stare he demanded to know my date of rank. I said “it’s
really none of your business but for the sake of seeing where
this conversation is going, it’s 22 April, 1943. At that, he
stood up, ground out the cigarette butt on my floor,
yawned, stretched and announced that since I outranked
him I could have my bed back. He went over and picked
himself a cot and started unrolling the mattress when I
asked “Just who in hell are you?” His reply was that his
name was Cox and that he was my bombardier.
I made a bee-line to the adjutant’s office. I blurted out that I
didn’t want any part of that bombardier he had just issued
me. The adjutant told me that a whole graduating class of
them had been sent to us that day and they were all assigned
but if any of the other pilots got their drawers in wad over
their bombardier we could swap. I told him to put me at the
top of the list.
He also advised me that Cox was top man in his class and
that I might want to think it over before letting someone
else get their hooks on him....
Next...The Crew Of The Buffalo Gal
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