originally written 12/16/1976
'a b-25 mitchell bomber'
in 1944, i was working at the lake charles air base--a b-25 billy mitchell twin engine bomber had to land at lafayette, la. airport with one engine dead--its crew had flow it from europe--lafayette airport had practically no activity at this time--just empty barrack type buildings and concrete runways--
a crew of about 8 men from lake charles army airport -with a spare engine and all equipment to install it -were sent to lafayette to repair the b-25--i was one of the men--j.b.watson was one of the men--trucks and and a trailer float were used to transport--
we were moved into an old huge barracks to live for a week--this building could probably house 50 men--
the propeller and bad engine were removed--all accessories were transferred to the new engine--this included items like carburetor-oil pump-generator-starter-and hoses and tubing--
after installing the engine and propeller--installing new engine oil-the engine was started and run for about a total of one hour--the oil was drained and changed--all 50 gallons of it--
lt. ralph bown-a pilot -(now deceased)-was flown in from lake charles to ferry the plane to lake charles army air base--i managed to get on this flight with j.b.watson-he rode co-pilot and i just held on between the seats--lt. bown was a good pilot and seemed to be able to fly any kind--on take off he wandered a bit from side to side on the wide runway-but he was not really making any great effort to stay straight-since it was not necessary--he was doing other things--take off was great--j.b. helped with the flaps and landing gear-- in 20 minutes we were circling lake charles-what a thrill--
i recall on landing-lt. bown had to really use muscle to pull the control wheel back--using the trim tab wheel really helped -but shear strength was needed on these heavy bombers at times-
this was an experience i cannot forget----
a true story by otis english--
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