Voices of the WW2 Veterans

Fighter pilots, crew chiefs, bombardiers, and factory workers: All had tales to tell.

A B-17 crew in England finishes its last mission. (USAF)
Air & Space Magazine

Alexander Vraciu
Navy fighter pilot and triple ace, Pacific Theater

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(Alex Vraciu after downing six enemy airplanes on June 19, 1944. Photo: NASM)

While I was at Majuro [in the Marshall Islands], before going for Saipan, I volunteered my division to do some practice bombing.  Of course, I had another motive too. One of the Padres out there, he used to say that in the outer atolls, the girls would be just in their grass skirts, no muumuus or anything like that. I kept it kind of quiet. I would take my division there after doing our combat air patrol. As we were coming in to land back at the field, we’d go down and wave at the girls. And they’d just all line up and wave back, you know, and wobble a few things in the process.

Aboard ship I had them make a little parachute that I took, filled up with sweet-smelling soap and whatever other little goodies that I could.  And on our last time out of there [Majuro], I’d open the canopy and there the girls would be on the beach, you know, waving. I’d come down real low, with wheels and flaps down. I dropped it and I got the funniest feeling when the little parachute landed on the beach, right near them. They opened it up and they all lined up and went into a little salaam, a little thank you. You have to have a little excitement. (Source: NMPW)

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