The WW2 era was a heady time for young men who were ready to serve in "The Great Effort." Despite the danger involved, the excitement and camaraderie involved in heading out to serve in Europe shines through in this brief except from "Letters From Bud," as Bud and the young crew, fresh from training in the US, head to Europe, circling the Statue of Liberty for a quick wave good bye on their way.
“We Circled The Tarnished Green Figure
a Few Times at About 1000 Feet”
In April of 1944 we finished crew training at Westover field, Massachusetts and went to Mitchell field, Long Island, where we obtained a new B-24 and any missing equipment.
During the test flight after I had finished checking the compass by “swinging it on the gun” (finding its error by means of a sun-compass) the pilot took us over Brooklyn and buzzed his home at about 500 feet. He flew down one street and up another until he found his house with his mother on the front step, waving a sheet, as we whooshed by.
One bright morning our processing was completed and we took off, singly, as parts of a large flight heading north destined for the 8th AAF in England. Our Flight was the first to attempt the northern crossing that year.
Just after taking off, the pilot asked for the compass heading to Bangor, Maine, our first stop, but I gave him one that took us over the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
We circled the tarnished green figure a few times at about 1000 feet. The crew wasn’t very talkative and Bryan, the nose gunner, made the only comment I remembered when he warned us to “take a good look.”
Two days later we flew away into the dusk from snow-covered Goose Bay, Labrador, headed across the North Atlantic for Iceland.