Friday, July 25, 2008

A Final View from the Section 8

Mission N0. 26.
May 28th, 1944
Went to Magnebourg Germany and bombed the railway marshalling yards. We were hit by flak in the Dumar Lake Area, but not much damage was done. Made it onto the target where we were hit again by flak and knocked a hole in No 1 engine oil cooler draining all the oil from the tank. Was unable to feather the prop leaving it to windmill, and were unable to stay up with formation and hold altitude so we had to jettison all armor plating, guns and ball turret. Thought for a while we wouldn’t be able to make it back to the enemy coast but the old ship just kept on flying. So we made it back to our base. Here we are ready for another smashing good raid.

This week marks the 64th anniversary for George and Martha Pruitt, barely weeks following George’s death. I’ve made several pitiful attempts to bring honor to an honorable man and his family, and I can’t help but surrender to the fact that some people’s lives can’t be reduced to a few paragraphs in an article. Who George was, and who he became, begat an entire legacy of Christian values and noble patriotism which leaves indelible marks upon many generations—both those present and those to come. I’m thankful that my children had the opportunity to sit in his lap and share his kind, gentle smile. It is with a heavy heart that I announce this will by my last post about a war hero turned family man. If you haven't seen the other stories of the Section 8 and its crew, I invite you to glance through them in my previous posts in this month and last month. I now offer you two of his journal entries that must be shared with freedom loving people throughout our nation. For without him, freedom wouldn’t be possible. For if everyone held the belief that protecting our country belongs to “other people’s children,” then no one would have stood up to defeat the evil Axis powers. He knowingly and deliberately stood to his feet and drew a line in the sand indicating that Americans would not bow, nor would they slumber in the face of tyranny.

So many others stood with him and made that same declaration. My own grandfathers fought with him in that great war. Unfortunately, they were reluctant to discuss their lives during the war, and we have no record of what they faced and overcame. PFC Travis Boyd Inman served in the 303rd of the 97th Infantry Division during their Pacific Theater action and the subsequent occupation of Japan. Guy Bairrington, who served with both the 82nd Airborne, and the 101st Airborne, was one of those who parachuted into France on D-Day. He also returned with a purple heart. I’m proud to think that George and Guy were both in the same air at the same time, fighting the same enemy. Now, all three of these noble warriors have gone into eternity, leaving their families to follow in their examples. I pray that we don’t fail them or dishonor their contributions.

Mission No 30.
June 6, 1944
Completion of my last tour of duty. Didn’t get any sleep last night. Briefing at 10:30 pm. Take off at 2:10 am. Bombed beach head 8 minutes before invasion troops landed. Never saw such perfect timing and teamwork as was displayed by our air and ground forces this morning. Everything worked perfect. We bombed at 7:22 am and troops landed at 7:30 am. We landed back at our base at 9:45 am. Every available airplane in the 8th and 9th Air Force were flying. Here’s hoping those boys over there the best of luck in seizing and establishing their stronghold. God only knows they're apt to need it.

And with those words, I leave you to contemplate such great men. I pray their lives will influence my children to be as convicted as were they.


Sarah said...

Thank you for posting these wonderful comments about my Papaw. I loved him dearly and he is greatly missed.

Alison said...

This is such an important thing you've done...paying tribute to him and his legacy. Of course, that wouldn't be possible without the man himself. I give God glory for raising up such a person and many others with the same convictions.

shopkins said...

Such a wonderful tribute to my great uncle. Not only did he do his country proud, but also showed us how we should be proud of our country. He is and was an inspiration to all of his family. Uncle George will be and is greatly missed.