Richard G. Miller Mission July 23, 1942

July 24

Got back on the old grind - went to Bengasi. Nine ships left Fayid to bomb in formation. One of our "experienced leaders" fixed up the raid and it was a disgraceful mess. We were to go over at 25,000', when we got to Bg's front yard, we had to circle about climbing another 1,000' Some of the ships couldn't get up that high and as a consequence, we had to run on the target individually. The Ak-Ak was pretty intense - all is quiet till you get just in range and then Jerry unwinds, and he is damned accurate. There were so many bursts close to us, that it looked like we were flying in heavy dark clouds. We didn't do too much good - hit the dock and started a a small fir. Headed back home without anticipation of much trouble, but things began happening a hundred miles out. We started running low on gas; first words were to cuss - and thoroughly - our incompetent operations officers. They had sent us out with a ship that had one less gas cell than the other planes. We wanted to go to an alternate base, but the Majors insisted we could make it easily. We sweated the gas out and landed only after the engineer did a yeoman's job of rapid and frequent fuel transferring. When we hit the runway, we had less than ten minutes of gas left - too close. But the story is incomplete yet one of the ships (B24) had been sent out with a crew from the 17 outfit. They came in bad trouble getting a wheel down; flew till they were low on gas and then when they couldn't get radio contact with the tower, so bailed out. One ship lost, one man fouled his 'chute on way out and was killed; one man broke his leg. Guess it was to a certain extent, the engineers' fault, but operations shouldn't have sent a man out as pilot with so few hours in a 24.