While stationed at Lackland Air Base, San Antonio, Tex., in the late ‘40s, I got to leave to go home to Jenkins.
I got a flight to Barksdale Air Field, La., from Kelly Field, Tex., in a C-47. When we landed at Barksdale, the only plane leaving going toward Kentucky was an old B-18 bomber that was being retired and would be put in a museum in Nashville, Tenn.
A lot of old crewmembers would be taking the old plane to Sewart Field in Nashville on its last flight. This was the oldest bomber, and was built in the 1920s. The only seat left was the turret in the belly of the bomber. We took off late at night and from where I was sitting it felt like the turret was a foot from the ground. The old plane creaked and moaned like it would fall apart at any moment.
After we got airborne, we ran into the worst electrical storm I have ever been in, all the way to Sewart Field, Tenn. Thunderbolts and lightning got so bad it scared this old boy. Then my radio went dead, the rotating seat went out and the small light went out.
I flew that way for the next three hours. The old plane was very slow and could not be flying much over 100 miles an hour. At last I saw the lights at Sewart Field, but we kept circling the base and with me not in contact with anyone on the plane, I was worried.
I found out after we landed that they had trouble with the landing gear and they had to hand-crank it down.
I flew in all types of aircraft over most of the world during my military career, but this flight was the scariest I ever had. I kissed the ground after we landed and I could walk again after sitting in that cramped space for so long.