Skip to main content

View Diary: P-51 Mustang - the ultimate thoroughbred (193 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  These words (24+ / 0-)
    now it is too late. He was a modest man, and getting him to talk about the war was like pulling teeth. He would talk about flying and Mustangs all day, but not about killing.
    ...are very powerful, to me.

    My dad, who flew in WWII in China, went through an evolution. When I was young, he'd talk about flying, but not about killing.

    He had a ceremonial samarai sword he'd picked up in the war, and a "1911" 22 pistol he'd traded his .45 for, when he returned.

    He took me pheasant and antelope hunting together, when I was a teenager.

    After I moved out of the  house, he sold all of his guns, and the sword. He never went hunting again, and wouldn't talk about the war at all, any more.

    I think not wanting to talk about fighting a war is a survival instinct, learned when you realize that NO ONE understands what you saw, and had to do, to your fellow man. Other schmucks, who didn't start the war, either.

    I assumed it was because he wanted to raise me as a "normal" teenager in SD, and lost interest in it after I grew up, but I never directly fucking asked him why, and it's been too late for over a decade.

    But, I take one thing to heart; going to war changes men (and women). They don't come back the same.

    Sorry for this anti-climactic final sentence, but that's the core reason I was so outraged, to the core of my soul, when that bastard Cheney and his minion Bush lied us into going to war in Iraq; all those lives changed, forever.

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:47:46 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  My father-in-law actually talked a bit (11+ / 0-)

      He was a RAF pilot, and finished the war flying Beaufighters.  During the final months of the war his squadron was on anti-shipping patrol in the Med and then the Aegean.  At that stage of the war the pilots were not keen on killing German sailors, and most of the craft that were encountered were former civilian vessels that were pressed into service as patrol craft.  They were lightly armed, certainly no match for a Beaufighter, and the crews knew it.  Procedure was to do a low altitude fly-by, both to positively identify the vessel and to alert the crew that they were on to them.  Then, the Beau pilot would orbit away to give the sailors ample time to take to the life rafts, which they would invariably do.  After the crew had abandoned, the pilots would return and sink the craft with rocket and cannon fire.  Whether the RAF command knew what was going on, he didn't say, but he thought that it was the noble and humane thing to do, and that is what his squadron did.

    •  Agree. My dad flew P-38's in North Africa and then (10+ / 0-)

      Britain. He often spoke of how %$&*@ cold the P-38 cockpit was compared to single-engine planes. He loved to talk about the time he pulled up late and bent a prop on the ground. He didn't mind talking about living in a tent in the desert and hiding in a ditch when the Germans bombed his airfield.

      But the only answer he ever gave to my questions about air-to-air combat was that he "always aimed for the other craft's wings and engine... never the cockpit."

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:07:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site