With the Possum and the Eagle
The Memoir of a Navigator's War over Germany and Japan
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of North Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright
This book relates my recollection of events that happened more than fifty-five years ago. I have examined many of the official orders, memoranda, flight data, and log sheets prepared during the years 1942 to 1945. They have been an invaluable assistance in verifying many of the events I have described...
Preface to the First Edition
I was a navigator on B-1 7 Flying Fortresses and B-29 Superfortresses for Generals Haywood Hansell and Curtis LeMay in the air war against Germany andJapan from 1942 to 1945. The title of this book is derived from the nicknames of those two general officers. Hansell was called "Possum" by...
Preface to the Paperback Edition
Mter publication of the original edition of this book, I received many letters and comments about Generals LeMay and Hansell, noting that General Hansell never received the recognition nor the notoriety of General LeMay. Mter Hansell retired, he spoke at many meetings and proceedings of air force groups, about air force history and his experiences as a staff...
Part I: The Air War against Germany
1. A Second Lieutenant Meets Colonel LeMay
I t was seven o'clock on Sunday evening, 7 December 1941. I was studying in the dormitory of Perkins Hall at Harvard Law School. I heard the sound of tramping feet in the hall and the voice of my classmate Sander Johnson, yelling in a military cadence, "hut, two, three, four; hut, two,..
2. Across the North Atlantic
For so many white men in the twentieth century, “the tyranny of the mirror” was memory. For a significant number of these twentieth-century southerners (most of them male), having been racist is a memory so anguished as to call for amnesia. Jimmy Carter, a good example of the wiles of amnesia and memory, remembers growing...
3. Training for Combat
Even by Walt’s own hand, a civil war did get into “the books,” a war to be sure of gruesomely maimed male bodies, but also one of “fascinating sights” of battlefield carnage (Whitman 577) and of warriors who glowed in the bardic poet’s imagination as “fine specimen[s] of youthful physical manliness” even as they...
4. Group Navigator for Colonel LeMay
In 1935, a year after the United States terminated its occupation of Haiti (1915–1934), Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced through a version of the sturdy “American in Paris” fable in the RKO movie version of the Broadway musical Roberta. One of the numbers has become a classic in the repertoire of the American popular...
5. The Possum Becomes Our Commanding General
The spring of 2001 seems like a barely rememberable past, almost a year of “magical thinking” pushed beyond recovery by the historytransforming events of the following September 11: the trauma that “changed everything.”1 In March of that obliterated...
6. Casablanca - The Air Force Rejects Area Bombing
Charlie is Charlie Croker, the Atlanta developer and “man in full” of Tom Wolfe’s brazenly satirical novel of the simulated post-South where nothing is genuine and everything can be bought. What takes Charlie’s breath away is the view of his plantation from his G-5 as his pilot brings it in for a landing on his private landing strip...
Part II: The Air War against Japan
Glossary of Aviation Terms
Note on Sources