Europe, December 1944
Our last 4 missions were in late December to support the Battle of the Bulge. We flew December 24th, 25th, 27th, and my last mission was on the 28th. I had completed 36 missions.
The official communication on December 31, 1944. In part, it read:
“…completed an operational tour of 36 missions …air medal with 3 oak leaf clusters…performance has been excellent and is recommended as a pilot instructor.”
Although “official records” indicated 35 missions, I logged 36 missions in my Pilot’s Log. My 29th mission on November 9th was not listed on the “index card” maintained at the office. But who cared, I was done!
What a relief for me and my family. I was going home on furlough. Before flying home, we turned in our gear – sunglasses, watch, boots, helmet, and goggles. It sure seemed like we were leaving the Air Force for good.
But the question was, what was next? You usually didn’t get reassigned to the same theater of operation unless you enlisted for another tour there. I wanted out of Europe so I didn’t enlist for another tour in the ETO. I had two options: fly B-29s in the Pacific or become an instructor. I was leaning towards the B-29s but as it turned out I never flew again.