16 June, 2008

Profile 9 - SOCKY flown by James White

James White, a pilot with the 352nd FG, got a chance to climb inside a P-51 Mustang again, some six decades later.  Only this time, he's riding in a decidedly post-war "2nd seat" modification. "No stick time for you, pal!"  

Before he got in the plane, I handed him my camera and asked that he take some pictures. When he landed, he could have spent the whole day talking about how much "fun" it was to be back in a P-51.  Strange that a weapon of war be regarded as "fun."

Studs Terkel wrote that WWII was a "Good War." When you think about it, the enemy was straight out of The Book of Evil, the weapons were gorgeous, the stakes were high and so many people loved their nation...

Hmmm.  I asked James if he'd 'do it again,' and this is what he stated: 

"If I were 18 (again) I do not think I would like years of technical study to become a fighter pilot.  Contemporary technical aspects of flight would turn me into a human robot who could respond only to technical demands.  I joined the AAF when I was 18 for the pleasure of flying in a free uninhibited manner, with a vigorous application of enthusiasm....in WWII, fighter pilots were the happiest of all warriors."