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What were you doing in your 21st year???

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  • What were you doing in your 21st year???

    Pilot Charlie Brown---- trying to return to England after bombing run over Germany, December of 1943. Painting shows his B17 bomber, helpless and dying but still flying and shadowed by ME109 with German pilot refusing to finish him off.

    21 year old bomber pilot Brown refused to land, was escorted to English Chanel, exchanged salutes with the German and flew on to eventually land in England. Brown and ME109 pilot became good friends in later life.

    What were you doing in your 21st year???

    True story, see Charlie Brown B17 in Snopes.


  • #2
    Men sure seemed to have more brass back then.


    • #3
      If he is 21 years old he is in his 22nd year.

      Men sure seemed to have more brass back then.
      What choice did they have? Bomber air crew had the highest death rate of just about any in WWII. 30 missions required with only a 29% chance of making it alive.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


      • #4
        I had the honor and pleasure of working with a retired Air force officer who had been a B-17 pilot in WWII. He had an uncanny ability to pick the right course of action when faced with conflicting information.

        I often wondered if that was a result of his war experience, or the reason he survived it.

        Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


        • #5
          Hmm ... The day I turned 21 I spent driving to a physics conference. Since then, I have led an entirely ordinary life as a physics student and spent the last several days feezing my bum off and scraping shape parts

          Fantastic story. Thanks for sharing.

          <edit> My Grandfather was a B17 pilot in the Pacific.


          • #6
            21?? Ummm.. I guess I was in the gulf. Persian gulf. I was on a ship doing escorts for tankers cause the Iranian small boats were trying to stop the flow of oil out of the gulf. Then we got the order to secure (destroy) all of their off shore oil rigs and anything that moved off the Iranian shore including aircraft.

            For me that was the start of the Gulf war because we were siding with Iraq in an undisclosed manner against their long time battle partners, Iran.

            So when we took Iran out of the picture that let Iraq, our at the time allies, move freely throughout the area and on into Kuwait. We know what happened after that.

            I think it is ok to let waring parties keep to their own affairs. They tend to occupy themselves...

            I think we got played by the Iraq gov. and look where it got us some 20 years later.

            Trying to play the role that the Russians did 23 years ago in Afganistan.. They had to pull out after years of nothing. I imagine we will pull out after years of nothing in Afghanistan like Russia did.

            Maybe we should employ some of the Russian Generals from back then to let us know you cant fight that battle. But yeah, 21 years old seems like yesterday.. JR
            My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group



            • #7
              21 yrs old- I was not doing anything so commendable as putting my life on the line for my country. I was nursing my '53 chevy along through drive-ins and riverside lanes, frequenting bars, inhaling a substance with a latin name, testing chemicals- working in an electronics shop where I was to remain for the next 20 odd years. Building amplifiers, speaker boxes, lots of camping and mountain climbing, saving money to buy a van. Building forts out of wooden matches and setting them on fire in a rented apartment, drinking a lot of coke and going to three day parties.
              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


              • #8
                21 - I had already been overseas and finished a 3 yr hitch in the army by then


                • #9
                  21 hmmm, Stationed in Germany..

                  Working my ass off... 80 to 120 hrs a week sometimes...

                  Occasional Red Army Faction Bomb going off, Nuke Protesters at gate..

                  Last terrorist bombing for me, was my last day in Army at Rhein Main airbase AUG 1985 waiting for plane to load...

                  Got to watch Medevacs fly in (3 Killed) and spend an extra night until they checked out plane for bombs...

                  Cold War..... yea right...

                  Had an elementry school teacher... B17 Door Gunner, did not make it to 30 missions. Had a plate in skull,and still wore his issue wristwatch.. 1976 or so..

                  He was older of course, but us kids never pushed him.. just a quiet guy, who earned his respect from us...

                  Terrible losses in those things...
                  Last edited by Bguns; 01-02-2010, 05:31 AM.


                  • #10
                    I was burying both my parents and trying to decide where my life was going.
                    Eventually decided on leaving work and going back to full time education at Uni.



                    • #11
                      If you look at cockpit photos of B-17s both from the era and of current restorations nearly all of them are missing one item. In the centre of each control yoke there should be a circular maker's badge. They were all pried off almost immediately by the pilots as a souvenir.

                      It looks like this one.

                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                      • #12
                        I know exactly what I was doing the day I turned 21. I was in Vietnam being consoled by some buddies as I had received a wedding invitation for my girl friend from her sister. I told her we should break up before I shipped out because I might not be coming home. She would have no part of it and kept me on the line until she found someone else. As I recall, the song Young girl get out of my life came out about that time from Gary Pucket and the Union Gap. I drank enough San Miguel to float a battle ship.

                        Remember Jodi, the guy we sang about in basic training cadence? Well the prick was alive and well in 1967.

                        Here's the tune if you aren't familiar with it!
                        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                        Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                        It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


                        • #13
                          I think me and Darryl must have had a lot in common............LOL

                          I was doin a 4 yr stint in Jasper then, nice place when you have zero responsibilities...........

                          I can recall checking out a WW2 site years ago and in particular just how tough those B17's and 24s were, many came back less half the men and airframe and still held together to land safely............
                          Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....


                          • #14

                            My grand uncle George brought back his B-17 with a hole the size and placement of the FO and insignia in the side of the fuselage.

                            At age 21 I was repairing and launching RA5-C Vigilantes off the flight deck of the America, then later the Enterprise.
                            Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                            ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                            • #15
                              I turned 21 in Phu Loi VietNam repairing UH-1 helicopters. I wish now I had stayed in for 20 or 30 years, but lifer was a 4 letter word back then. Most fun I had was flying recovery going after downed helicopters. Man what a trip. But, back then I was bullet proof.