06 October, 2013

Profile 82 - BEGINNING: "???" as flown by Raymond Plank, 43rd BG, 64th BS

He stated it three times in expressing the one thought.  Each time, he spoke the word in that old-school fashion of putting the emphasis on the last syllable.  Like a command.  Like a privilege.

"They gave me responsibility.   I was 22 and had responsibility.   The responsibility of 9 men and of killing thousands of Japanese."

But I didn't hear the word at first.  I was still stuck on the "9 men" and "Killing thousands of Japanese."

He held eye contact for another brief moment—crisp blue eyes in a face of delicate features, chiseled and smoothed from 92 years of life—then returned to buttering his pancakes, allowing my mind catch up to what my ears had brought.  It was then that I understood what he was saying.  Responsibility is not a thing or a task.

Responsibility is power.  And if you have responsibility for something, it's a big deal.

Ok.  Have a look at the B-24 above.  It's going to change a lot as I'm not quite sure on the particular serial numbers, nose art and model.  Drawing the oddly shaped B-24 is an additional challenge because the type had so many different variations...

I'm not complaining.  The B-24 that I settle upon will be one flown by Lt. Raymond Plank of the 64th Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bombardment Group during the final but shockingly vicious months of war against Imperial Japan.  This morning's breakfast with Raymond generated six pages of notes including one particular story that I'll share in the next post.

However, the most fascinating aspect to this story is not the moments of terror and hours of anxiety over ocean and enemy but Raymond's whole life of...

... responsibility.

Stay tuned.