1941 — Boston MASS
FRED Lawrence was an Army Air Corps' Master Mechanic. . a Crew Chief to a B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber. . . . . an accurate, complex and amazingly durable War-bird. They were shot at, shot up and shot down. America produced "everyday" Heroes. Men who could climb in and head off for a Combat Mission knowing they might not come back. Some did not. Fred said he never prayed so hard as when his Crew and his Ship was away. Combat . . .enemy flak, enemy Fighters. . the UNKNOWN, would the next ship over be hit and could his get out of the way??? . . Please come back.
Next was the fervent prayer that they were ALL back. After landing, he would look them over, especially his ship but not until he inspected all of HIS Crew. Combat Missions were hard, very hard and not all injuries were on the outside. Then and only then could he concentrate on how to best get those flak holes repaired. For some it was simply not possible and they were used to repair other Combat ships.
Coming out of the Depression produced young men that practically invented "American Ingenuity". . . they saved tin can lids for the smaller flak holes. "Over-there" items needed did not just appear, they had to be fashioned from what you had available. Fred was a great Crew Chief, he told stories of "checking out the new engine".... with more than a few hot-shot pilots who hedge hopped. Fred LOVED hedge-hopping until one day they landed with telephone wires stringing from the wings like spaghetti. . . that never happened again.
These "American Heroes" were everyday men who most of 'never even owned a radio'... back yard mechanics became magicians at putting their beloved B-25's back together. "Together" ..... sitting under her wings, they laughed and they cried.
No... we will not forget.
Fred wrote 2 books about WWII in the MTO, "Mediterranean Mitchells" and "Untold and Unsung ..... the Unknown".
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 321st Bomb Group historian in the 57th Bomb Wing.