Ray and Doris While Courting

Ray and Doris while courting


The inspiration for the preparation and publication of this memoir was born in 1988 when,under strong persuasion from an old friend who was also an 8th Air Force veteran of World War II, I joined the 8th's Historical Association. Subsequently, I also joined the 305th Bomb Group Memorial Association, the group I had served with in England and flown 35 missions as a B-17 heavy bomber pilot with them. After attending a couple of reunions and renewing friendships, the memories of those times crowded in on me, leading to a revival of interest in the box of old correspondence between my wife and myself covering our experiences during that period.We met shortly before I was called for Air Corps flight training. We corresponded afterward, married and traveled together, when possible, during flight training and preparation for a combat assignment overseas.

As is to be expected, the correspondence was particularly heavy during the overseas preparation period. After reviewing these letters, it became obvious that they were a source of strength for both of us during the pressures of those days. While we were both affected, I was particularly humbled by the recall of the missions, the fears, the discomforts , the pain and the youthfulness of those who flew them. In addition, my wife's courage and dedication to my family made it possible for me to get through my missions with greater peace of mind.

It seemed a shame to let the letters gather dust, so I embarked on this storytelling odyssey to tell how it was for two youngsters enmeshed in the uncertainty of living through a bloody, life-consuming war. Our story is undoubtedly a redundant one, only varying in detail from many others, yet unique because of the uniqueness of us all. It is sad that the emotional content of the story had to be wrung from the hearts and minds of the people concerned by the stress and havoc of war. For us, the bond formed during those trying days has remained steadfast for over 55 years.

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