Friday, July 16, 2010

Recent Response to the Photo of Raymond Benedict

Yes, that is a photo of my father Raymond Benedict when he was in the Army air core (380th bomber group) in world war II. I am not sure why my brother Joel did not recognize the photo because he and my father looked so much a like. My father's air group was originally was suppose to fly in the European theater where they were expecting to last about six months before being shot down. However just before the group was shipped over seas to Europe the Japanese were threatening to to invade Australia so the Bomber group was sent there instead.

My father told me he thought he was the luckiest man on earth when they handed him a summer uniform instead of a winter one, because he knew he was going to be shipped to Asia and not Europe. He said that when they handed him the summer uniform he thought "well maybe Mrs Benedict's little boy will make it through this war after all". The first uniform my father had after joining the Army air core was a WWI left over uniform with leggings and a mess kit with a picture of a WWI battle craved into it because there were not enough new uniforms to go around. The position on the air crew my father had was the ball turret gunner on B-24, I asked him once why did he take the most dangerous position on the flight crew ( any mechanical problems or battle damage on the plane could cause the turret gunner to become trapped in the ball preventing him from bailing out or be crashed by the plane during a crash landing) he said it had the best view.

The picture shows my father in his flying helmet, goggles and high altitude jacket, since the B-24's were not pressurized the crews flew in subzero temperatures inside the planes during missions even thou they were in the tropics. The crews had a lot of problems with their equipment freezing up from the topical moisture in the planes interior condensing and freeze while they were climbing to altitude. At times fog banks would form inside the planes making it difficult to see inside the plane. The one fear my father had was being wounded during a mission and freezing to death because his blood would reduce the insulation properties of his flight suit.

I think the photo you have was taken by the Army to be sent back home to the papers and was probably given to the VFW by the paper or my family to be posted in their hall to show the Veterans the people who were in the service.

Thank you for saving my father's photo and I hope this e-mail gives you a little more information about it.


James Raymond Benedict

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