02 April, 2010

Profile 41: "OLD CROW" as flown by Bud Anderson

The relationship between pilot and crew is oft-told.  You can't read an aviator's biography or watch a History Channel presentation without the pilot saying something honorable about his crew.   Not to be crass or anything, but it's so common, the sentiments seem pat and cliched any more.

But - those sentiments are real.

I remember Bud getting choked up talking about the service of his Crew Chief, Sgt. Heino and Armorer Sgt. Zimmerman.  It was a little uncomfortable for me, because up to that point, I'd had this impression that these guys lived compartmentalized, clenched jaw lives.  Like John Wayne.  To hear devotion and unashamed reliance...that was new.

Since then, I haven't met a pilot who didn't express a substantial measure of gratitude and humility towards their support people.   Don Bryan, an ace with the 352nd, recalls thinking of his Crew, in combat, while firing his guns and blessing them for somehow imbuing "Little One III" with a magical engine.  Mac McWhorter described the way his Hellcat always seemed so perfect that he would hate to even get it dirty...honestly, I could go on and on.

Anyway, I hope when you look at my rendering of OLD CROW you see - not just the 10 victory markings on the side of the plane - but also the airplane itself, a representation of a herculean effort.  And though this may, on my part, sound cliched, I also hope your Crew (we all have one) comes to mind with the same spirit of gratitude.