I work hard . I slave to keep them clean . They are for my customers . You , Yank ,
better bloody well learn not to put your foot on my table ! We ' re civilized here . In
this country we don ' t tolerate manners like yours . 150 JANE R . EDWARDS.
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Author: Jane R. Edwards
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
With John Olson´s plane in a spin of descent, John McKee in Rose O´Day was now miles behind the protection of the formation. He was vulnerable and he knew it. He pushed the throttles forward, unleashing the power of all 4,000 horses, in the attempt to join the homeward-bound Fortresses. Just a few minutes, that´s all he would need. An ailing B-24 gave McKee the time. The damaged aircraft, limping below the B-17, became the next choice, an easy "kill" for the German fighters. The FW 190s closed in on the Liberator as McKee closed towards the 306th . . . The German fighters, trying to determine the vulnerability of this new aircraft, continued to survey the B-17s and intermittently attacked. A Focke Wulf 190 attempting to attain a diving range, pulled up, but did not have enough speed and stalled out right in front of John McKee. He was so close that anyone could have "leaned over and hit him with a monkey wrench." The gunners didn´t move. They gaped at the German, spellbound. Ahead, McKee could see the coast and the approaching Spitfires. The Spits, having refueled, were returning to cover the withdrawing American aircraft and engage the pursuing German fighters. From one of the "Spitties" being chased by a Focke Wulf, the gutsy English pilot radioed over VHF frequency to McKee: "Aye say, Yank, would you lead that son-of-a-bitch? I´m catching all of it." The Fortresses needed the protection of the RAF. The mission had exposed the weakness of the Flying Fort. She was not a racehorse. Maneuverable and dependable, the B-17 was no match for the fast FW 190 or the Messerschmitt 109. McKee had seen the FW 190 stand on a prop and go up right past him. He recalled Wendover Field and the conversation he had with the representative from Boeing Aircraft. "Being that I´m 11/10ths coward," John mused, "what if I get into trouble?" "If you get into trouble in the B-17," the factory rep answered, "just hit those turbo superchargers and climb. No fighter can keep up with you." Christ, McKee thought, now there´s an intelligent son-of-a-bitch. I wish he´d been there. Over the Channel, the tautness eased from the body of McKee. He was nearly back to the safety of the base, to the Key Club, to scotch, to women. Yes, the maiden mission was nearly over. But the pain of war was just beginning. McKee thought back to the morning, back to a few minutes after the pilots´ briefing, less than three hours ago. Oley had pulled him aside and, in a voice filled with resignation, said, "Honest John, I have a premonition, this feeling. I´m going to get it. Today is the day." "Ah, hell, Swede," McKee protested, "you and I are too tough, too ornery. Why shit, you´re crazy. They´ll never get us." At Thurleigh, ship after ship landed. Ferrying down the flight line, they pulled onto their pads. All the crews of the 306th returned except for John Olson´s. The empty revetment of Snoozy II wounded the sight. John McKee described the reaction to the loss. "Everyone felt it. Nobody said anything. Nobody wanted to say anything. They were gone. We knew it. We kept it inside."