My most memorable mission was my third one, Nov. 2nd, 1943. After an early chow and briefing, we took off at 0630 hours for "Weiner-Neustadt" with P-38's for cover to within an hour of the target. Where we encountered very heavy ACK ACK and about 50 to 75 Fighters - ME110's, ME 109's, FW 190's, and JU 88's. Our P-38's picked us up shortly after the target which we were always happy to see. I feel sure the P-38's and their pilots saved our lives as well as the Flame. Our plane was very badly shot-up, so we had to make a forced landing at a fighter field in Bari, Italy.
Only an excellent pilot such as LT. Konsynski could bring that plane in without crashing. The hydraulic system was shot out, and the electrical system was in bad condition, among other things that were shot up. When he stopped the plane, we were about ten feet from a 4 foot thick rock wall; we all piled out and some of us kissed the ground, and we all thanked God and our pilot to be alive. We then counted the 188 jagged holes in the plane. Miraculously, not one crew member was injured on that mission.
For those of you who don’t know The Flame was shot down on her 76th