FROM 2-3. Dutch Harbor (Aleutians)

More trivia

What makes it all the more unreal and generates the trepidates is that we still have to get the gearbox back on and ourselves and Berri way further north and across the top if this gig is to proceed according to plan.

Comparisons are invidious but these pauses are a sort of soft version of the short leave between tours that the WW2 aircrew used to get. I visited the WW2 memorial here yesterday, in the mud and rain – the imagination – even mine! – strains to get around what it must have been like here for both the Americans and the Japanese in winter and, as an ex aviator, my mind almost cannot grasp the difficulty faced by kids as young as 17, with 8 hours flying experience, sent up here in winter to fly out over the sea, alone, DR, no navaids, no landmarks, cloudbase 200 feet, freezing cold (-85 degtrees outside the cockpit at altitude) and experienced Japanese pilots looking for them. We used to navigate over the sea at sea level in shocking weather, mostly by DR, but it just doesn’t compute. I dips me lid – I couldn’t have done it.

Of the entire Japanese force of about 6000 in the islands only 28 surrendered. And they tied down massive US resources for nearly 2
years. An American trained Japanese doctor, coopted into the Japanese Army, grenaded his patients in strict accordance with protocol, before taking part in the final hopeless Banzai assault where he was killed with most of his companions. The doctor’s diary still exists, with the final entry the night before he died. You might not accept the ideology but it’s awesome nevertheless.

Back to the present – no word yet on the gearbox. To do list will start with posting USB’s with pics to Speeds and H.

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