April 25, 1945

Wednesday

Today, the heavy bombers, the B-17s and B-24s, of the 8th Air Force of the United States Army Air Force flew their last combat mission.1

Notes & Commentary

1 http://www.B24.net (http://www.b24.net/missions/MM042545.htm : accessed 05 April 1945).

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6 Responses to April 25, 1945

  1. gpcox says:

    What mixed emotions must have been felt on this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • a gray says:

      Today, we know that the heavy bombers of the 8th Air Force flew their last combat mission on April 25. At the time, it was just another day with the prospect of another mission tomorrow — just as it had always been.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A historic day in the making.

    Like

  3. Mustang.Koji says:

    As you wrote, they themselves did not know it would have been the last flight… but when they did find out, I wonder how their minds, both conscious and unconscious, would have handled it.

    Like

    • a gray says:

      Those in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) had the cloud of the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) always hanging over their heads. Some troops would remain behind as occupation forces, but others knew, especially air crews, that they would be transferred to the Pacific. They knew, as someone once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

      Those like Wayne who had completed their tours of duty and were returning home knew that they were subject to recall. They could be called back in at any time. They didn’t know what their future held.

      I can only remember having conversations of substance with two veterans who talked about what they felt when war was finally over. Most with whom I spoke only said something to the effect that one day it was over and I knew I could go home. One of the two with whom I spoke at some length was preparing to ship out to the PTO from an airbase on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. He told me that when he and his fellow airmen learned that the war was over they went absolutely crazy. When I asked him why, he responded, We finally knew we weren’t going to have to die.

      The second man who spoke at length had been a member of a medical unit which had served in France, Germany and Austria. When the war ended, he and the members of his unit were on a ship returning to the States from the ETO. He told me they knew they were going to be transferred immediately to the PTO. When their ship was midway across the Atlantic, a radio report was received that the war was over, and it was announced over the speaker system. He said that everyone was excited, cheering and hurrahing, and patting each other on the back. Everyone was very, very happy. He told me that a little later after all the celebration he found a quiet corner, sat down on the deck and cried. It was finally over for him.

      Liked by 1 person

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