By Thomas B. Applewhite
Bombardier, 385th Bomb Group (Heavy)
Great Ashfield, England, 1943
It’s tense inside at 5:00 A.M. When the briefing table’s lit. It’s foggy out at 6:00 A.M. Out where the bombers sit. .
It’s cramped inside at 7:00 A.M. When you close the bomb bay doors. It’s noisy out at 8:00 A.M. Over smiling English moors. .
It’s quiet inside at 9:00 A.M. When you cross the channel ports. It’s tough inside at 10:00 A.M. When the ship in front aborts. .
It’s flacky out at 11:00 A.M. When on the bombing leg. It’s bad downstairs at 11:15 When the bombers lay their eggs. .
It’s brisk inside at 1:00 P.M. And also brisk at 2:00. One ship’s down and one lags back; The escort’s over due. .
It’s tired inside at 3:00 P.M., It’s tired and sore and stiff, It’s glad within at 4:00 P.M. Over chalky Dover’s Cliffs. .
It’s quiet inside at 5:00 P.M. When your bunkmate’s puppy whines; It’s tired inside at 6:00 P.M. Where the combat crews all dine. .
It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s tense, it’s brisk, It’s tired all through and through; It’s quiet, it’s loud, it’s war, it’s risk, And we’re up tomorrow, too.
Published in The Air Forces Escape and Evasion Society Fall 2001 Communications, vol. 15, no. 4, Sept. 21, 2001.