Joseph J. Bitzer, Mission February 23, 1945

From Part I

On Feb. 23, 1945, Joe Bitzer flew his first mission to Verona-Porto Nuova Trackage, as a co-pilot with another crew - to get accustomed-to enemy fighters and flak before taking his own crew on a mission.

From Part II

So I told the crew to wait for me while I took a seven-hour ride to drop bombs on the Porto Nuova rail yards at Verona in Northern Italy. There is no way to describe the feeling when one looks out the window and sees what appears to be ink bottles exploding at your altitude. This is flak - metal flying through the air trying to keep you from doing what you’re doing. You pray - someone said "There are no atheists in foxholes". I guarantee you, when the going gets tough, EVERYONE prays.