Grover Buxton mission of September 20, 1943

Grover Buxton notes on the mission of September 20, 1943

Pescara Sept 20, 1943

Before this mission I lacked exactly 13 hours and 5 minutes of my required combat time. According to squadron custom, on the last mission, each person was allowed to choose where he wanted to go, that is, he could attend the briefing and then if he didn’t like the looks of it could wait for the next one.  Since Jim was going to finish in 5 hours and this was reported to be a 14 hour mission I decided to go along and finish too, no matter what the target.  Almost immediately I started regretting this decision.  The target was a little town on the other side of Venice, with heavy concentrations both of ack-ack and fighters.  And to top it all, we were flying with another squadron in a ship we knew nothing about.

It was dark the next morning when we went out to the ships, but even so one could see that this was the most decrepit old airplane on the field. For a fact, it was the oldest B-24 in the Middle East, and had over 800 hours of combat. We put on the 87th mission.

We flew up the Adriatic over some very beautiful Greek and Yugoslav islands and were nearing Venice at 20,000 ft. when we ran into a strong front. The leader tried for almost an hour to find an opening but finally had to give up and head for an alternate target. Our #1 engine was throwing a lot of oil and the instruments indicated trouble ahead, but we eventually made it home on all four. The alternate target chosen was Pescara, where we again bombed the RR yards and airport. On the way home I flew as slow as possible because our trip had been cut short by that front and I was afraid I wouldn't get that 13 hours logged. When we sighted the field I was still 20 minutes short of time, but by the time we landed and taxied back to the parking place I had completed my total combat hours and was set to come home.