Thomas C. Badger was a pilot. He and his crew were in the 513 squadron.
Tom kept a diary, which was donated via the sons of John Woodruff. Click on the section to read about it.
The first week was spent in training flights - formation and compass swinging. One night we had an air raid alert which lasted about 15 minutes. You could hear the plane overhead but I guess he was just taking pictures. Finally on Sunday a week since we arrived at the squadron Grady went on his first mission - no fighters and no flak. That night we went to chapel and I introduced him to Paterick. Paterick had been at Boise and I hadn't known him but used to see him everywhere.
Finally came the fateful Ploesti raid. It was frightening because we heard so much about it and on the first mission you could see it in the distance with all its flak. We had already been briefed for it twice and it seemed somehow that we'd just never really have to go. Before the mission we all just waited for those red flares. But none came and we started for PLOESTI.
[ ***** Transcriber note: The typed version generally follows the original hand written diary, using original language, grammar, punctuation and abbreviations, except that "&" in the original was usually changed to "and" in the transcript. Other added words are in [brackets]. ]