has been a day I'll not forget for a long while. We
flew this morning, that is for a while we were flying.
Airplane Commander is home on leave so I flew with another
crew taking the place of their radar operator who is
on D.N. I. F. .
took off at ten twenty-eight and about a quarter till
eleven our number two engine began smoking and caught
on fire. A few minutes later our number four engine
began throwing oil like a real gusher; in a moments
it was running away.
fire on number two began to get serious so we tried
both extinguishers without success. At this time I turned
the Radar set off and the bombardier 'salvoed' the bombs
and bomb bay tank. At eleven zero one the order to bailout
came over the interphone as we were heading NW at 190
mph at our indicated altitude of 3,500 feet. The ground
beneath was about 2000 feet above sea level so we were
5,500 feet above the ground.
our position I was suppose to go first but the tail
gunner a kid of 18 years old was getting a little excited
so I sent him out followed by a A.F.C.E. man who was
our passenger. After they had jumped and I could see
that that rear of the plane was empty I left the plane
to the fire.
stood in the door and fell out as though falling off
a diving board. The slipstream turned me over on my
back and I lay there feeling as though I were floating
around in space watching the plane fly out of sight.
I pulled the ripcord; had an anxious moment while waiting
for the chute to open. Finally I heard a sigh of relief,
sincere relief as that beautiful white canopy of silk
blossomed out above me.
the chute opened the risers were twisted. I had enough
time to straighten then out and take a quick look below
me and the next thing I know I was on the ground. When
I hit I did a deep knee bend, stood up and found myself
in the midst of a Kansas cow field.
of the time a fellow hits pretty hard when jumping,
but we lucky; there only was a slight breeze three to
five mph which didn't bother us at all.
CFC gunner landed near me so we got together, bundled
up our chutes "very tenderly" and walked the mile or
so to the nearest farm house.
I phoned the Air Base and reported the accident our
location and that we were uninjured.
little later we learned that the entire crew was down
ok. About an hour and half later the trucks or rather
the "meat wagons" came to pick us up and take us back.
were taken to the Base Hospital where we got a quick
once over for injuries and were confined for observation
laying in bed now writing this document; a very humble,
we're joking but the affair wasn't a bit funny a few
hours ago. The sensation of falling through the air
is indeed an unusual one but its not at all unpleasant;
of course it much nicer to have both feet on the ground.
tell Mother or Dad of this as they would be worried.
None of us were hurt, I'm flying again new years day
so don't mention this to them at all.
you return this letter to me I want to save it, it's
a new one for me.
attachment - we were in a B-29 on Dec. 29 the crew is
#29 and there were 13 men on board
note from Francis Cronin added to the letter when
he returned it to his brother Thomas .. "This was
a real thriller" & I'm glad you came through OK"