An Ace and His Angel: Memoirs of a WWII Fighter Pilot by Herbert Brooks Hatch

By Herbert Brooks Hatch

Memoirs of a WWII Fighter Pilot

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His flight suite was wet from his crotch to his knees. It only took a minute to figure out his problem and [ started to laugh. [t seems that at the moment I called the break he had just commenced relieving himself into the relief tube. He had to turn loose of everything to grab the wheel with predictable results. He was mad at me for a week. E. His steadiness was a great counter to my sometimes wild and excitable nature. He remains in my heart as a true friend, a fine man and pilot I was proud to fly with.

The 15th started its campaign of de truction on April 5, 1944, and continued until August 19th. 1 %. I do not have the totals for fighter losses during those months but they too were considerable. My Group went to Ploesti sixteen times over that period. There was one part of the facility that the heavies seemingly could not hit. It was The Romano-Americano Oil Company's cracking towers that produced gasoline. In an effort to finish the job, some bright desk-bound planner conceived the idea of sending in some P38s to dive-bomb the target.

56 Hatch poses for Stars and Stripes after the Ploesti air battle. I parked my ship and found Kinman waiting. We went up to operations where I met his pilot and we headed out to their plane on the flight line, met their flight engineer who was to accompany us, and climbed aboard. I have to give the pilot credit. He put that big bird through its paces and wound up trying to shear a herd of sheep he found in a big pasture. He 57 missed the sheep but he worried the hell out of one fighter pilot! Finally we got some altitude and he turned the controls over to me.

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