First, the bomb bay, where we entered the plane. These bombs are fake, but the real ones weighed 500 pounds each, and the plane could carry 40 of them. This technical knowledge is interesting, but I can’t help but think of the death and destruction they caused. Which of course was the point.
Second, the nose from the inside.
Third, where the navigator sat, behind the pilot but facing the back of the pilot’s seat. The map on the table is a map of the Pacific as it would have appeared in 1945. Target: Japan. The U.S. took all these seemingly insignificant islands (like Guam and Tinian) for the sole purpose of getting close enough to Japan for the B-29’s to fly there and return without running out of fuel. (We didn’t do suicide missions–much.) I can’t help but think, again, of the men who took those islands, whom I’m quite sure had no idea why, because the strategy was super-secret.. The famous photo of the Marines raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima has new meaning for me since reading the book Unbroken.
Last is the seat of the flight engineer, who sat behind the co-pilot’s seat, facing the rear of the plane (to avoid distraction?) The guy on the left is the Tall Guy who was my compadre.
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