I remember my first mission. This was on the night of June 21-22, 1942. The target was the shipping in the harbor at Benghazi. We were to bomb in the middle of the night and return to our base at Fayid – a ten hour mission.
Spotting the target at night would have been difficult if only the enemy had doused the search lights and held their fire. In some cases, we would never have found the target at all. You could depend on them turning on the lights and start shooting at something.
There was someone ahead of us. Turning onto the target was no problem. All hell was breaking loose up ahead. I don’t remember being afraid but I can remember my feet shaking a little on the rudders as we made the turn onto the inferno above the target. Nothing happened to us. The anti-aircraft fire continued to follow the poor souls ahead of us. We essentially got a free pass. Getting caught in the search lights isn’t fun but the lights don’t hurt you. The only help the anti-aircraft gunners improve their accuracy.