1st Lt. Hewitt Youtz, flew 21 missions with the 27th Squadron, 1st Fighter Group during WWII.

“The first time Hewitt Youtz crash landed, he hit the ground belly up and skidded into a grape vineyard.

Certain the plane was going to explode, he jumped out and ran. Youtz felt like he ran 100 yards in 10 seconds, parachute between his legs, inflatable dingy on his back, dressed in layers that, although meant to keep him warm and safe, felt cumbersome when escaping a craft that might burst into flames: wool socks, high-top shoes, a flight suit, sheepskin pants and jacket, oxygen mask, life preserver, 45 shoulder holster gun.

He was dive bombing rail yards in Munich when the bombs on his P-38 wouldn’t come off. On the third pass, they released, but heavy flak shot out Youtz’s right engine.

He bent the throttle forward to keep up with the squadron, running on one engine.

“And it blew up over the coast of Yugoslavia and left me in a very, very quiet airplane,” Youtz said.”


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