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The Flying Prostitute

The Flying Prostitute

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The Flying Prostitute

évaluations:
5/5 (1 évaluation)
Longueur:
269 pages
4 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 27, 2000
ISBN:
9781462091386
Format:
Livre

Description

The Flying Prostitute was one of many pseudonyms given the B-26 Martin Marauder bomber in WWII by those who flew them. This plane cremated so many crewmen that newscasters were afraid to write or talk about it for fear this might cause a morale problem with our men who were told to fly them. The author recites his cadet life at Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas, THE WEST POINT OF THE AIR, where he became the top-ranking cadet officer. He then earned his wings at Ellington Field, Texas and, along with others of his class, was assigned to be an Instructor Pilot of this aircraft for seventeen months. So many men were being killed in horrible crashes that each wore their Air Force Wings as bracelets on their wrists so their bodies could be identified, just in case. Combat in the skies over Europe followed, and so did the crashes. Pilots did not know the mammoth tail could, and had separated from this airplane while in flight. Pilots knew the propellers could runaway and cremate their entire crew in disastrous, fiery crashes. Pilots did not know the manufacturers of parts of this airplane were falsifying reports and Congress knew it. They did know that they could be killed every time they took one up. This dramatic, true story is shocking in its detail and documentation. The refusal to write about this airplane remains an enigma for writers even to this day.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 27, 2000
ISBN:
9781462091386
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Lawrence Jack Hunter, Iowa farm boy, migrated to Texas. On outbreak of World War II, he was appointed an aviation cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He earned his wings and was appointed an Instructor Pilot for the B-26 Martin Marauder. He flew combat in Europe, documenting the myriad of problems with his "MAN-KILLER" aircraft.


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The Flying Prostitute - Lawrence Hunter

Prostitute

Copyright © 2000 by Lawrence Jack Hunter

This book may not be reproduced or distributed, in whole or in part, in print or by any other means without the written permission of the author.

ISBN: 0-595-00048-7

ISBN: 978-1-462-09138-6 (eBook)

Published by Writers Club Press, an imprint of iUniverse.com, Inc.

For information address:

iUniverse.com, Inc.

620 North 48th Street

Suite 201

Lincoln, NE 68504-3467

www.iuniverse.com

URL: http://www.writersclub.com

Contents

Dedication

The Flying Prostitute

A Word of Caution

Prologue

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

DON’T BLOW IT!

About the Author

Bibliography

Dedication

This book is dedicated to every one of the millions of Americans, both in the military and as civilians who sacrificed everything to forge the first team which fought and won WWII. All of us had a certain job to do and we did it from, Rosie the Riveter the private, the commanding generals, and all those in between. No one person did this alone. It was a team effort.

Also, to those who lost their lives on or under the sea, on land, or in the air above for they gave it all to protect our freedom and our way of life.

Also, to those who were wounded and suffered from those wounds. Some still suffer. They, more than anyone, can tell us, War Is Hell, The United States hates war but if it takes war to uphold our freedom and all that we love, cry out, Here I am, take me.

Also to those whose footsteps we followed, to those who followed us and to those who now walk where we once trod or jet through the ocean of air above us.

The Flying Prostitute

An intriguing, true love story of WWII between a beautiful young Texas woman and a U.S. pilot, a most hazardous and perilous airplane, and an exposé of a blatantly crude cover-up by our military, Congress, and manufacturers.

Come walk in the footsteps of one young American aviation cadet at THE WEST POINT OF THE AIR, Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas and, after he had earned his wings, ride in the cockpit with him as he piloted the most dangerous airplane ever built, the B-26 Martin Marauder twin-engine bomber.

Lawrence Jack Hunter USAF Reserve (Retired)

A Word of Caution

The story you are about to read sounds implausible, impossible, and one which could not possibly have happened in the United States. A fairy story.

But it did!

I advise the reader not to skip through the book expecting to read parts of it and understand what the story is about for, like a fine leather glove, it must be pulled together in its entirety for it to fit properly. Incidents are recited which seem incongruous and innocuous when you first read them but, by the time you finish, the jigsaw puzzle falls into place like a fine tapestry.

The United States was on its way into space and this book tells of the very first step, a previously untold and mighty dangerous period of time which killed several thousands of young men in the prime of their lives. In addition it explains why we, as a nation, have taller citizens with a vigorous population of businessmen and women creating an economy that gets things done.

You will also discover why you will never find one of these aircraft flying today.

The Author

Prologue

As the 20th century drew to a close, we took it for granted that each space shuttle that had been rocketed into orbit by NASA and had been circumnavigating Earth many times, would return safely to land at Edwards Air Force Base in California or at Cape Canaveral in Florida. As each one prepared to land, they appeared as ghosts of the Martin Marauder coming in with no power and no possible chance to go around for another attempt in case the pilots had miscalculated the approach. They had so little wingspan each had to approach extremely fast to avoid stalling and crashing. This was a Martin Marauder B-26 approach and landing.

This is the story of the most feared and dangerous airplane ever developed by man. Pilots and copilots assigned to fly this plane looked cocky and wore their officers’ hat with no regard to the official look, their hats slouched in a devil-may-care attitude. Pilots of other combat aircraft looked with awe at all B-26 pilots as they seemed to wear halos over their heads. Pilots, copilots, bombardiers, navigators, engineers, radio operators and tail gunners flew in this plane because they had been assigned this task, not because they volunteered or wanted to. This was a beast that could, and did upon crashing, create instant cremation of all six crewmembers on board. This was an accident waiting to happen and they occurred with amazing frequency. No one ever asked to take a ride in one when there was space available for this was an eighteen ton bomb with two, two thousand horsepower engines and it was loaded with nearly 1,000 gallons of 100 octane, highly flammable gasoline. This bomber took off and landed at speeds just short of when the tires could explode. It was not designed to fly on only one of its two engines. It cruised at only 200 miles per hour but was the hottest bomber in the then United States Army Air Force. Only 60 miles per hour separated the take-off and cruising speed of this aircraft. When fully loaded with two, two thousand pound bombs, or the equivalent in smaller ones, it was even less. Countless wives and children were made widows and orphans when these planes crashed on training missions and in combat.

This story is dedicated to those widows and orphans, also to the dedicated heroes who maintained and flew this aircraft, and to the thousands of men killed in it. Yes, there were many deaths-cremations-that occurred when one of these airplanes crashed.

This story is also dedicated to those in Washington, D.C., the President, Congress and our highest ranking military leaders who, when they sensed our country did not have sufficient types or numbers of aircraft to carry on a two-front war, ordered industry leaders to produce a very fast bomber. We were in a country club atmosphere and not prepared for what was going to happen. We must start to progress on purpose for our very existence as a nation depended upon it! The result was the B-26 Martin Marauder which proceeded from specifications and drawings directly into production without a prototype ever having been built. B-26s were built, several thousands of them, and pilots were trained to fly this untested, dangerous twin-engine bomber, a bomber which was not designed to fly on only one engine. That was impossible. There were a multitude of problems but we had two wars to fight and as problems arose they were fixed, repaired, modified or ignored.

We, along with our allies, won the War! The Martin Marauder passed into oblivion. Yet we, as pilots and crewmembers of the B-26 Martin Marauder, had been in 5,000 plane raids in Europe along with B-24s, B17s, A-20s and other types of aircraft. After WWII was over the Douglas A-26 was renamed the B-26 which still flies today. The original B-26s were all melted back into aluminum. It was as though someone, somewhere, was ashamed and afraid of the B-26 Martin Marauder with all its problems and they wanted to cover-up mistakes which had been made and the multitude of deaths-cremations-this plane had caused. It was as though the Martin Marauder B-26 had never existed and it remains that way to this day.

There were so many problems with this airplane that for half a century after its demise at the end of WWII, historians, aviation writers, book publishers and movie producers have completely ignored this planes place in history. For example, The American Heritage Picture History of World War II published in 1966, supposedly the largest and most authentic, complete and correct pictorial and historical book chronicling that event, has pictures of almost all of the bombers and fighters of the United States and its allies, as well as those of its adversaries. The Martin Marauder B26, The Flying Prostitute, is neither pictured nor even mentioned anywhere in the 640-page volume. How do the thousands of crew members who flew this bomber feel when they search this glossy complete story of that war and don’t find its picture nor any mention of it? And how do the widows and children of men killed in this plane feel about it? This is not the only complete story of WWII which omits this airplane entirely. Why is this so? Was the plane so dangerous that even mentioning it and its troubles and the thousands of men killed when flying in it might expose the author, the manufacturers or Congress to legal action? Or were they afraid that it might? Was it left out of history completely because it had been a secret airplane with so many bugs writers were afraid to write about it? Or, as one Air Force man asked, Were all of those who could have written this story killed in crashes in this airplane? Were there so many crewmembers killed in it that writers were afraid to write about it? Who knows? As one with as much flying time as an Instructor and Combat Pilot as anyone alive today in this now extinct airplane, I give you answers in my narrative which follows. I was fortunate enough to have lived through this and have lived with this story for many years expecting someone else to write it. No one else has. No one else can.

The B-26 Martin Marauder was called among other epithets, The Flying Coffin, The Flying Cigar, The Flying Buzz Bomb, The Widow Maker, The Murdering Marauder, Martin’s Murderer, Martin’s Miss Carriage, and because it had only a short, stubby 65-foot wingspan, The Flying Prostitute with no visible means of support. This sobriquet originated in Congressional comments in a special report of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program Part 10, 7/12/43, on page 349 which states, The B-26 Martin Marauder had no visible means of support-A Flying Prostitute.

I was but one of the many millions of young American men and women called upon to help our country by using our God-given talents to defeat the Axis powers. We came from farms and ranches, businesses, the ranks of the day laborers, musicians, truck drivers, bulldozer operators, and the myriad of occupations we have in the United States. The mobilization occurred swiftly and spontaneously, speeded by the nondiscriminatory draft system wherein everyone had a number and a classification. Some of us had participated in the Civilian Pilot Training Program known as CPT. I had been taught to fly and had received my pilot’s license through that U.S. Government sponsored program. The fine print in the agreement I signed which enabled me to participate, called for each of us to volunteer for flight duty with our Armed Forces in case our government ever needed us. On December 7, 1941, the United States suddenly needed us—immediately!

Chronologically interspersed are events that shook the world from its lethargy and are now preserved forever in THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL OF THE HOLOCAUST in Washington, D.C.

An invisible shroud also lurks as a memorial in the darkness of history honoring the millions of those, other than Jews, who were tortured and killed when a maniac and his henchmen ran amuck. These untold millions were from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, the United States, England, Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Libya, Egypt, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, China and a myriad of other countries.

I

British Bristols, French Spads, and Red Baron were dogfighting in the air just above the ground over France in World War I. Deadly German army tanks clumsily and noisily clambered over Allied trenches. Germany’s Big Bertha, a monstrous cannon, lobbed screaming shells onto the rear echelon supplies of the Allies. The Reims Cathedral, built in 1100 AD and where French Kings had been crowned, had systematically been blown into mortar and dust. For four bloody years opposing armies had slaughtered the elite youth of Germany, France, England and now the United States. Exactly six months before the Armistice was signed on May 11, 1918, in a farm home six miles south of Scranton, Iowa, Inez Hunter presented her husband, Charles, with their fifth son, Lawrence Jack. Flu epidemics killed thousands of people that year in the United States and in Europe. There were no medicines to combat the disease. Doctors and nurses contracted the affliction, too, exacerbating the problem. Medicine was in its infancy. If diphtheria, smallpox, or some other equally contagious disease was discovered in a home it would immediately be quarantined, signs posted, and no one would be allowed to enter or leave for a period specified by that quarantine sign.

Farm life was peaceful with mooing cattle, the oink oink of hogs, the braying of a lone donkey until the snort of a horse when bitten by a horse fly disrupted the quiet countryside. We had a flag of the United States—not much of a flag only 8 by 10 inches—but a flag, a much-revered one too. The Stars and Stripes came out each Fourth of July along with dad’s twelve-gauge shotgun. Before sunup he would blast away with at least three fast shots to hear it answered by neighboring farmers in the distance, also celebrating. We had sparklers for the last event that night after exploding firecrackers during the day, playing ball in the afternoon, and blasting a few skyrockets high into the sky after dark to celebrate the grand and glorious Fourth of July. We were celebrating our country’s freedom! What a country! What a life!

Before mother met dad, she had been teaching school in a rural one-room schoolhouse. She had no formal college education but taught common sense and the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic, and remained a dedicated teacher for her children. She insisted we brought books home from school and that we studied them. Through the grapevine of our small community, mother learned that there was a Carnegie Free Library in Jefferson, 10 miles east of Scranton, and we learned, along with her, to use that archive whenever anyone traveled there.

When nearly 6 years old and starting school, I carried a pillow with me on the school bus and slept part of the way. In 1924, those six miles on dirt roads were a long way to travel. My brothers Donald, George, Robert, Jim and sisters, Ruth and Mary and I were the first children to be picked up by the bus in the very early morning and the last to be dropped off at night. We learned to communicate with our friends, a mixture of Catholic and other religious denominations, by talking and playing games with them. Mother had a Quaker background but the only minister that could travel to our one-room country church, a converted school, was a Protestant. So the Hunters became Protestants, Methodists to be exact. All of us would walk the one mile to church each Sunday morning and attend special services on holidays. Unbeknownst to us, this was all a part of our broad education.

One day at school, when I was about eight years old, all of us were out in the schoolyard playing when we saw a strange sight coming down the street east of our school. A team of coal-black horses was pulling a flatbed wagon carrying a coffin. Draped over this casket was the most beautiful and largest flag I had ever seen. Silent men in old and misfitting uniforms walked solemnly and slowly behind this cortege with one veteran keeping cadence on a covered drum. The team and wagon turned slowly to go along the south side of our school. We had all stopped playing and yelling by then, standing tall and quiet. One of our group raised his hand over his heart as he had seen his parents do when the flag, our flag, passed by in parades. Now we all stood silent with our little hands over our hearts. A tear here and there became evident, I knew, as my eyes filled. The entourage plodded by our school to the church in the next block. Suddenly the school bell rang, marking the end of recess, and we reluctantly returned to our classes. This picture remains to this day of a revered soldier being escorted by his peers to his final resting place.

Dad had an Avery tractor and a threshing machine to harvest the oats we farmers grew. In the hot summer, when the oats were golden brown and dead ripe, the farmers would cut their grain with an oats binder which cut and bundled the grain and tossed it out to one side in large heaps. Farm hands would then come by, pick up two bundles at a time and fashion a shock out of nine bundles. The grain would then go through a sweat period of about two weeks for ripening after which the threshing crew would come by and harvest it. Now this threshing crew (or threshing run) was no little chore. Farmers would come from miles around to help a farmer harvest his grain. Likewise, the wives and daughters brought food to the farmer’s home where the crew was working. At noon all work ceased and the workers would come by the windmill tank of water to wash up and proceed into the house to eat. Such wonderful times and food! As each farmer’s field was finished the crew would move on to the next farmer, as would the wives and daughters and the food until the entire threshing run was finished. Our threshing run extended deep into a German community. In Iowa there were Russian, German, Polish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and numerous other communities. Each had their own threshing runs, community celebrations, and churches—yet no one was an outsider.

The country roads were of dirt and when they were dry, were rough but useable. During and after a rain wagons, and later cars, dug deep ruts in the black mud, making the routes impassable when they dried out. To pay their poll taxes the farmers with their teams of horses started hauling gravel from gravel pits discovered nearby in the moraine of ancient glaciers, until all of the roads were graveled. What a joy that was—no more mud!

A monstrous new road grader crawled down our road. This was the largest piece of equipment I’d ever seen. It dug deep into the rich black soil as it formed ditches and pushed the load up on to the roadbed. Following the machine on my small black Shetland pony, I spotted a white shiny object and jerked the reins so quickly that Dimple almost turned over as he slid to a halt. Quickly I ran to this object as I thought I had spotted an Indian arrowhead recently dug from its ancient grave by this dirt mover. And it was! It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! That night I wondered just how long that object had been there in the dirt, just when it was made and by whom. Perhaps it was hundreds, thousands or millions of years old! Of one thing I was certain. I had found it! It was mine! Then I wondered how long it had taken the Indians to design and make such an instrument. It must have taken thousands of years for them to crawl from their dark caves, design, and make a bow and arrow with which they could hunt, or kill adversaries. Wow! I really was proud of that little piece of stone. What a story it could tell. Then I realized that it was made of flint and I knew of none in Iowa. Where had it come from? I knew that dad had a shotgun with which to kill game or predators instead of a bow and arrow. Just how long did it take to develop gunpowder and then utilize it in

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