Homer Drakoulas, Mission June 24, 1943

"… Let me tell you about the time I went on the mission to Salonika. War Correspondent, Frank Gervasi of Collier and Liberty Magazines had asked to go on the next mission. It was to Salonika, Greece. The 512th led the mission and my plane piloted by Captain Jim Miller, was lead ship. Our Co-Pilot, Lt. Ronsberg remained home and Colonel K.K. Compton took his place. We arrived over the target in fine shape and proceeded on the bomb run. Incidentally, I forgot to mention that I was the Bombardier. We made the run and all bombs fell true except mine. My bomb-bay doors stuck and we were headed back home with a full load of bombs. But we certainly couldn't do this with a fresh war correspondent from the States aboard, so Jim made a one-eighty and headed back over the target. That's when the ME 109's hit us. Our flight Engineer cranked the doors open and I got on the bombsight and dropped our load. Jim turned for home and dove for the safety of the Sea. We arrived back at Benghazi none the worse for wear. Gervasi left and soon the mission was forgotten.

"Then one day, about a month or two later, Colonel Compton came into my tent looking for me. He handed me a copy of Liberty Magazine.

Frank Gervasi had devoted the entire magazine to the Salonika bombing. Colonel K.K. Compton, the Commander of the 376th received honorable mention. Also Jim Miller, the Ship's Commander. Then who was the story all about? You guessed it. Little ole me the bombardier. I was short and skinny back then and certainly nothing to write about but I am of Greek descent so the author used me as the human interest since we bombed Greece.

"But the story isn't over yet. I was sent home in late 1943 and I landed in the Air Force Hospital in Palm Beach, Florida, which used to be and is now the Breakers Hotel. One day in the Officers Mess, I spied a cute Nurse and I immediately fell in love. I called a florist and had two dozen yellow roses sent to her. I then called her for a date. This was on a Tuesday. We went out that night and the following night too, and on Thursday afternoon we were married. We rented a room in a second story in a private home and one day the landlady's son came rushing up the stairs and wanted to know if my first name was 'Homer'. I said that it was, and he ran down the stairs screaming to his mother, "It's him, It's him". I followed and the landlady showed me the reason for all this excitement. It was a comic book entitled "True Aviation" and the entire comic book was about the mission to Salonika. And there I was. On every page. Big broad shoulders, tall and extremely handsome and you could tell by the eyes that I was unafraid. I was continually jumping from by bombsight to the two 50's shooting down enemy aircraft by the dozens. And I saved the day for America and everybody slept well that night. How about that."

P.S. "In case you may have wondered if the marriage lasted, it did.