Friday, April 5, 2013

Veteran Recalls Memories of B-24 Liberator Missions in Pacific Theater

Kenneth Baeth flew in 40 missions as a nose gunner on a B-24 Liberator on the Pacific front.  Prior to being flown to Washington, D.C. as one of 90 veterans on the Big Sky Honor flight, he recalls (sometimes vividly) some of the missions :
One of his other most vivid memories is the night he spent midair over Wake Island. The B-24 Madame Pele was struck by anti-aircraft fire just ahead of Baeth’s nose turret. Ten of his comrades perished.
May 17, 1944: Mission No. 4. 1st raid to Wake Islands — ask-ack pretty dense. Saw a B-24 go down in flames. Hit target OK. Evasive action OK. Pretty scared.”
“Their bunk was right across from us,” he recalled with precision. “We had to clean out their belongings. That made it reality. It shows you what a bomb can do to an airplane. One bomb just shattered it to nothing. There were just pieces of bodies and men and airplane wings, motors, everything. It was just one big mess. And you realize you’re capable of getting hit, too.”

 Thank you for your service, Mr. Baeth.  Without the actions of men like him, the war could have taken a much darker turn for the worse.

Read the entire article : http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/world-war-ii-veteran-there-were-just-pieces-of-bodies/article_a901af80-841c-5aa1-8b75-f532868250fc.html#ixzz2PadKLohG