Not much to report for this interval. My head has been aching for the past week. It’s always aching and makes itself evident with each physical effort. My chest feels constricted, my breathing rather hoarse. A slight stab of pain is felt in my kidneys every once in awhile. Whether or not this is all the result of nerves, I do not know. Even my old nervous indigestion is reappearing which isn’t nice, either.
Went out to fly yesterday, but we didn’t take off. #126 had a gas tank leak. The only other available ship was radar equipped and the 75th had borrowed it for the day. So, we didn’t take off.
Went down to the strip to sweat the boys out instead and was thoroughly frightened. The planes would roar all the way to take off. Slipstream buffeted them and one’s engine cut out, but came back. Each ship that went by caused me to retreat and break out in a cold sweat. Was jumpy as an old hen.
Went in to the medic to have my ear checked and told the doctor I couldn’t stand it. He told me to come back after sick call and talk it over. Went back; but was too unhinged to enter the place. Don’t know why. Guess because I was afraid the doc might ground me. I hated that because I want to fly all my missions as others do.
Can’t see that they’re any better balanced than I myself, even though my mind was rather unbalanced back in 19371 when I felt as though bombs were exploding in it and my attitude was altogether depressive. Used to consider committing suicide by the hour. Have had the impulse in my dreams lately, which are pretty horrible, filled with snakes, fungus and the smell of death.
So far it hasn’t occurred to me of late in the day time, but on a recent flight, we came back after dark. Got horribly lonely and went back to sit beside the open escape hatch, where I watched the stars above and gazed through my eyes at the semi twilight that is above in the night. Had the strangest funny urge to drop over board. Wondered about death and had no fear of it until the thought crossed my mind that the ocean below was filled of sharks, then I had a fit of fearsome trembling.
I can’t figure out what is wrong with me. I have the sweetest wife in the world and the thought of death never crossed my mind when we were together. She was, and still is a ray of light in all the darkness of the world. Just to be with her again would be heaven, and Bonnie, I cry out for you a dozen times a day.
Think I better go see Dr. Avakian2 this afternoon and give him some sort of an explanation for my actions yesterday. It wasn’t very nice of me not to go back and speak to him.
Notes & Commentary
1 In 1937, Wayne was 18 and had recently graduated from high school.
2 Capt. Vaughn A. Aviakian, Flight Surgeon, 100th Bombardment Squadron
Poor guy. Sounds like he’s having a miserable time over there now. Wonder how many of his crew were feeling the same way at the time
The whole story is building and building to some kind of climax. We know so much more now but I wonder if we treat our vets any better.
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He wasn’t the only one feeling this way.
Remarkable post Allan.
What insight he gives us to the horrors of every day war.
He endured both physical and emotional pain, but still insisted on going up on his missions. Remarkable man.
AWW, I really feel for him. Only 25 with thoughts of suicide. While it’s sad, I enjoy the posts where we can feel what Wayne’s feeling. He had so much experience under his belt by 25. Great post, Allen.
The environment is taking it’s toll and the stress is beginning to show. I suppose his emotions reflect those of many men during this time and it shows that war is not a pleasant place to be.
What a most honestly written entry, sir. Still, only he himself knows exactly what was inside him in spite of all his eloquently written words… and to realize he wrote them under the most wretched conditions. As all who endured combat day after day – then or today – they know its a matter of time. Of odds.
He also writes about being up there and his thoughts that plagued him. It reminded me of what Old Man Jack kidded about. Sometimes volunteered as “engineer” on some PBy patrols at night. He said he was stupid to do so but it was the only cool place around (up there).