Memories of those days play in the cobwebs of my mind. It is the only source of information I have, not being one to seriously document those historic events of our times, regretfully so. Names and numbers are lost to me now, but as a radio operator, I remember one aircraft calling "A/C #XXXXX Your bombay is on fire", and then the coolest "---Roger----" I have ever heard, followed by an explosive silence, and my eyes searched for the trail of death. Even now the tragedy ever repeats.
----The early morning of August 15, 1944----
This was a long expected event, and now was that moment of action: the invasion of southern France. The mission itself was uneventful, but take off had brought disaster to one of our crews. We were on the left half of runway, second on take off position. The plane on right had started its run, and we were ready, and then the ltalian skies ignited with the reflection of one massive explosion ... planes came to sudden struggling stops and crews evacuated the aircraft for shelter. I can't remember the time span, but soon we were in flight, and my thoughts were heavy on those lost friends. These were not the great reflections of my combat tour, but to me, they were most impressive. A cool "----ROGER----", a tragic light in the night, and twenty young men reaching for the hand of ---GOD---.
Editor's note - The takeoff explosion was the Rimerman plane.