Magazine article America in WWII

Just Five More

Magazine article America in WWII

Just Five More

Article excerpt

"To START WITH, you had to fly 30 misI sions, and then you could come back home," recalls William J. Teague. The former staff sergeant flew aboard a B-24 Liberator in the Pacific as an armorer/gunner with the 27th Bomb Squadron, in the 30th and 494th Bomb Groups. "We had about 20 missions when they changed 30 to 35."

Bill's job was to activate the bombs after takeoff and then help drive off Japanese fighters trying to shoot down his plane. Every mission was a flirtation with death.

"We sweated it out until we got to 35 missions," said Teague, "and they changed it to 40. From the time we started flying until we made it to 40 missions, it was 11 months. When you finished your 40th mission, that was a happy moment."

On one mission to Iwo Jima, Bill remembers, the sun was on the Americans' side: "We left Saipan as it was just getting dark. …

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