1943 — North Africa
Major Howard A Sessler; Doolittle Raider, Bombardier/Navigator on Don Smith's CREW 15 off the USS Hornet.
QUOTE; "As the navigator and bombardier on Don Smiths aircraft we attacked targets in Kobe. When the raid was completed we flew on and eventually ditched our aircraft in the sea off the coast of China. We swam to an island where Chinese guerrillas took us through enemy lines into China. We got to Chungking from where we were sent home through India and across the South Atlantic. I later flew all through Africa after the invasion until the war was over, a total of 103 missions, all in B-25s."
FROM the Book "Jr. Birdmen of Corsica" by Robt. Zulauf
Page 90 One of the old Brigade Robert Zulauf
Text written by Robert Zulauf
There was one character who stands out in my memory. He was a navigator in the 310th BG, 381st Squadron. He moved in with four of us junior birdmen. He was a big guy and he had a lot more combat flying experience. We were
(Page 91 1st Column (Kid goes…. Continue))
We were a little in awe of this Captain (Howard Sessler) who had flown missions in North Africa, had returned to the States, and now was back to fly again. What we learned later about the Captain was even more surprising – we learned that he had been part of Jimmy Doolittle’s group on the raid of Tokyo! This unassuming navigator was a no-frills sort of guy who led a very simple life overseas. He moved into our room, set up his cot and placed one duffle bag containing all his belongings beneath the cot. His clean cloths were stored in one end of the bag and his dirty clothes in the other end. When the bag was filled with dirty clothes he would take the bag to the native women who did our laundry down at a nearby stream. They beat the clothes against the rocks to get them clean.
I also recall that this same Captain once “procured” from our mess hall a large cut of fresh beef which he hung up in a corner of our room and carved steaks from the quarter carcass for late night feasts after his return from the Happy Hills Officer’s Club. He was also fond of basketball and he was the only player who could travel 20 feet with the ball and dribble only once or twice. Yes, the Captain made his own court rules, and he was big enough to enforce his rules.
This same fun-loving Captain was later court-martialed for tearing down some crepe paper party decorations at the Red Cross Club; this court-martial cost him $200 per month for three months, as I recall. Bob Zulauf wrote the "Jr Birdmen of Corsica"