He had a big voice. And when he was in high school, he got a job as a radio announcer. Then he took some further radio training, so when he enlisted in the Army Air Forces, they immediately sent him for more training, and he became a radio operator on a C-45, a trip and surveillance plane. So that’s what he did during the war, in China, Burma, and India. He was shot down. The plane was flying very low and zipped along the top of the trees, and finally, gravity brought it all the way down. And John found himself sitting outside the plane. He didn’t know whether he had taken himself out or been thrown out of the plane, but he and the two other men who had been in the front of the plane survived and the five men in the back died. That fact haunted him all his life. How come I lived and they died? When I first knew him, he had nightmares, he had recurrences of malaria, and that was fifteen years after the war. The nightmares subsided with time, but he still had occasional ones. It never went away. Two and a half years of killing, killing, and killing. It never went away.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
… Mrs. ‘Stoner’ Speaks: An Interview with Nancy Gardner Williams. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)