Yesterday, I started to tell the true story about my dad’s experience with The Devil’s Messenger as one of his crew members called it.
Here is Part 2 of The Devil’s Messenger:
The Devil’s Messenger, Part 2
by Terry Spear
“Briefing mission, now!” the first sergeant bellowed as he stepped into the barracks.
Walter picked up the Ouija board and set it back on the table as one of the men playing poker griped, “Gee, Sarge, I was winning.”
Walter glanced back at the Ouija board as the superstitious crewman slapped his shoulder. “Get rid of it, Wilde. It’s bad luck.”
* * *
Following the briefing, Walter hurried into the barracks and grabbed his brown-leather flight jacket, then glanced over at the Ouija board. Was it truly evil? Would it harm the mission? Walter slipped the board into its wooden box and closed the lid.
“Hey, Walter!” an airman shouted into the barracks. “Mess sarge’s got a Spam sandwich for you to go!”
“Sure thing.” Walter tossed the box onto the bunk and strode to the mess hall. After grabbing his meal, Walter and the rest of the crew headed for the armament shack. Soon after, he and the other crewmen hauled their loaded guns onto their Flying Fortress. But before they took off, he grabbed the Ouija board, intending to dump it in the ocean on their mission. Just in case the man knew what he was talking about when he said the board wasn’t anything to mess around with. Then they waited in their assigned positions in breathless anticipation as the engines roared to life.
It was Walter’s seventh mission, despite still only being sixteen. He’d lied about his age to get in, anxious the war would end before he’d have a chance to fight the good fight along with all the other war heroes he’d watched on the big movie screen back home.
While enroute to Germany, heavy anti-aircraft fire flew into the cloudless sky, popping and cracking in black puffs of smoke as it missed the B-17. Walter manned his guns as left waist gunner and soon hit a Focke-Wulf FW-190, highly regarded as one of Germany’s best fighter planes–certainly a match for the spitfire. He reached down to grab more ammunition, then saw the box containing the Ouija board shaking with the vibration of the plane as it rested on his parachute covering the hole where the last gunner had died. He pulled the chute aside and slipped the box through the hole where it plummeted into the sea.
As he turned to ready his guns once more, splinters of metal from high explosive shells ripped through the plane. Tearing through Walter’s oxygen and communication lines, the still-hot shrapnel cut through his flight jacket and lodged in his left arm. The seven-inch piece of jagged metal severed muscle, splintered bone and sliced blood vessels that caused the blood to pour out into a steady stream as Walter fought for air.
Seeing he was losing consciousness, the right waist gunner leaned down to him and offered his oxygen before Walter passed out.
Part 3 and the conclusion tomorrow!
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com