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Waist Gunner

release date: Jan 01, 2000
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Waist Gunner
This book tells the story of William Davis Parker, a Radio Operator/Waist-Gunner on a B-24 heavy bomber in World War II. Stationed in the Southwest Pacific, his story is told through an almost day to day diary that he kept in the period March 1943 to February 1945. The early pages in the diary sketch in some detail the training phase during which Parker evolved from a young cadet in pilot training to a disciplined and skilled Radio Operator/Gunner. Here we experience with Parker his daily frustrations and disappointments, his ups and downs, the environment in which this training took place -- as well as the few simple pleasures that airmen-trainees enjoyed in the early 1940s. The major portion of the diary is devoted to a nine-month period from May 1944 to February 1945. In that time span, Parker was assigned to a B-24 crew in the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bomb Group, in the 13th Air Force. He was stationed at various times throughout the Southwest Pacific. His combat missions were flown from such places as Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands, Wakde and Noemfoor in New Guinea, and Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies. Targets bombed included such Japanese airfields and installations as those on Truk, Yap, Woleai, and others in New Guinea, Borneo and the Philippines. Waste Gunner also includes three papers by Ulmer, which flush out some of the stories in Parker's diary. " The Cisco Kid in World War II" focuses on one 5th Group B-24, the crew that flew it overseas, and the adventures of that crew during their combat tour. This paper provides a detailed understanding of the conditions of life in the Pacific during World War II. But it also reveals the spirit of airmen under very harsh conditions--a spirit that never wavered and had much to do with the success of our forces in that theater of war. The second paper, "A Tough Month for the 5th Group, November, 1944" briefly summarizes all the missions flown by the 5th group in November but focuses specifically on two that Ulmer flew, one on November 7th and one on November 16th. Parker also flew the November 7th strike. This paper provides considerable detail on that mission from official Mission Reports that were not available to Parker as he composed his diary. The third paper,"Balikpapan, The 5th Group's Shining Hour", is devoted to a single mission, one flown against Japanese oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo on September 30,1944. That strike is generally viewed as the most important mission flown by the 5th Group during World War II.It significantly reduced the ability of the Japanese to produce refined petroleum products for use in their Philippines campaign. It is thought to have saved many lives later and was of great assistance to MacArthur in his campaign to recapture the Philippines. Parker flew this mission but in his diary, he does not adequately describe the mission and its consequences for his crew. The deficiency may be due to the fact that returning from the target his plane crash-landed on an island 400 miles from base, earning him a purple heart and delaying his return for a week. The Balikpapan paper provides many more details about the planning and execution of this mission. A strong feature of the diary is the detailed account Parker gives for each of the 28 missions he flew during his combat period. These accounts provide an excellent picture of just what was taking place in Parker's plane while subject to intense flak and Japanese fighter attack. He tells us about the fear, joy, hubris, and other characteristics of the men in his crew (and other crews) under combat conditions. He also keeps us well-informed about life on the ground -- the frequent Japanese bombing raids on his bases, how air crewmen spent their time when not on a mission, and the interaction of

The Determination of the Existence and Value of Good Will for Income Tax Purposes

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