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Two Pilots, Two Daughters, One Bond

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Title: Two Pilots, Two Daughters, One Bond
Author(s): Getz, Lowell L.
Subject(s): 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force World War II 8th Air Force United States Air Force B-17
Abstract: During World War II, the ten-men crews of heavy bombers trained together for several weeks in the States before being sent overseas and into combat. When in combat the lives of the crew depended on all crewmen performing their duties correctly. Because of this, the crewmen became bonded as a close-knit “band of brothers.” In many cases, while the crews trained in the States, wives of married crewmen were allowed to live nearby. The crewmen and wives socialized during off-duty hours and became essentially an extended family. When these crews were deployed overseas, their families kept in touch, sharing the stresses their husbands were experiencing. When crews were shot down, family members exchanged any information they received regarding their husbands with family members of other crewmen. Because of the contingencies of combat operations, crews of some bombers on given missions were made up of men from different crews who were not scheduled to fly that day. In these situations, the crewmen often did not meet until the briefing session for the mission, or all too often, not until they arrived at the aircraft. In most cases they did not know each other. When such crews were shot down, the families of the crewmen did not know those of any of the other crewmen on the aircraft. There was no ability for families to exchange of information or to share in their grief. This story, “Two Pilots, Two Daughters, One Bond”, details the attempt of a daughter of the copilot of a B-17 heavy bomber to locate the daughter of the pilot 57 years after the two fathers were killed in action while flying together. The bomber, from the 324th Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), was shot down 22 March 1943, with the loss of all ten crewmen. This was a made up crew, with men from several crews. The pilot was the Squadron Operations Officer. The copilot was from the 92nd Bomb Group on temporary duty with the 91st Group to obtain combat experience; this was his first mission with the 91st Bomb Group. The pilot and copilot met for the first time as they boarded the aircraft. The daughter of the copilot had been told as a child by her grandfather that the pilot also had a small daughter, but nothing else. She wanted to find the other daughter to exchange information and compare their lives without their fathers.
Issue Date: 2007
Citation Info: Originally published on: http://www.91stbombgroup.com/2daughters.html
Genre: Essay
Type: ImageText
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/2441
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Full copyright retained by Lowell L. Getz. All rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-10-29
 

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