Stories from the Pilots and Men of the 475th Fighter Group
By Harry Brown
The world seemed covered with dripping mist
With walls of dismal gray.
Even the plane seemed to resist
When pulled from the hangar that day.
But everything was soon on board
And my walk-around begun.
Then I fired it up and taxied toward
My rendezvous with fun.
The mags were checked, prop in low pitch
My full run-up was done.
Controls were free-the mixture rich.
I began my take-off run.
I lifted the nose and became airborne
Into the overcast.
When that eerie mist was suddenly torn
And I found myself in the past.
And I was flying a P-38
Stacked in an echelon right.
Hades Squadron was tempting fate
And looking for a fight.
We were at angels twenty and my Blue Flight
Was lined-up covering the rear.
So I knew that things would be alright
And I had no sense of fear.
I saw some faces I hadn't seen
For forty years or so.
Including some that departed this scene
A long, long time ago.
There was old Nick to lead the way
And then Houseworth appeared.
Then Hedrick and Allen and Wenige
With his blonde mustache and red beard.
And then Kirby, Willie Haning and Johnny Hood
Each man a real hero
Who fought with all the strength he could
Against a vicious foe.
Those wondrous warriors that I knew
Like Harris and Tom McGuire
Champlin and Monk-Czarnecki too
Verle Jeff and Gronemeyer.
And those who lead my element
Each one a friend of mine
Red Herman and Mankin and Francis Lent
And Lewis and Pappy Cline.
But the mist soon began to thin
And my friends to fade away
And I found out that I had been
But an instant along the way.
And then I broke completely clear.
In the brilliance of the dawn
All those scenes of yesteryear
And all my friends were gone.
And so I felt a moment's pain
When returned to reality.
And I hoped I'd see them all again
And that they'd fly with me.
For the bonds of friendship that were wrought
On an anvil of adversity
Were forged forever as we fought
In the skies so valiantly.
Hark! Do you hear it?-the thundering roar
of engines in the sky?
Someday I want forevermore
To be where those brave men fly.