Seven hours, covering 1300NM over open ocean, limited fuel, one engine, enemy fighters; there were few missions more relentlessly hazardous, nor with so many different hazards to face.
The little told story of the USAAF's 5th ASR and how they rescued war weary P-47's and in turn, rescued almost a thousand downed airmen in the North Sea and English Channel.
What to do with a spare Spitfire?
The men of the 348th, 349th and 6th Night Fighter Squadrons were more than the nose art on their P-61's.
The 13th Air Force did not fight the most glamorous of wars, theirs' was a war of ground attack, relentlessly destroying Japanese ground forces and infrastructure. They fought, not from centralized bases closely tied together, but from island bases, spread hundreds of miles apart.
Early on the morning of 7 April the 15th and 21st Groups were poised ready for the signal to start engines. The briefings of the day before and that morning had everyone eager to get the operation underway...
"A short time later 2nd Lt. Weese reported that his engine was out and that he thought he could put his aircraft down behind friendly lines in the shallow water a little offshore Juno Beach. 1st Lt. Beaudrault reported that nothing more was heard from Wesse."