Sunday, February 4, 2007

Safe Flight Home

My father has always been my hero; at an age when most young men are trying to decide what to do when they grow up, he was in England serving as the pilot of a B17 bomber. One of his fellow pilots, Jim Bradford, recently wrote me this letter.


Dear Bob –

- You’re at 22,000 feet and the flak is very heavy – bullets are flying –
But you must keep flying! If you take flak on your starboard wing – trim your port side and fly straight ahead!
If you lose an engine – or even two – you can stay afloat, as your Dad can attest! You may lose some altitude to keep air speed.
- But you’ve got to keep flying! Your 300 degree course is headed for home! You have a great, dedicated crew of family and friends on board; a terrific ground crew at MDA!
Keep you glide angle above stall speed – keep flying! In the distance up ahead you’ll soon spot the welcome sight of the white cliffs of Dover! It may take a while to reach them since your air speed has slowed down – but you’ll reach them. And just beyond is Woodbridge Emergency Landing Field! No matter the winds of change or chance, there’s safe haven there! You’re home!
Keep your wings level – your glide consistent – your airspeed up – you’ll make it.

Safe Landings! God Speed!
His Blessing Always,
Love, Jim and Jeanette Bradford


Wayne Thompson said...

Dear Cousin Bob,
I've reread your dad's book since I saw you and Verva at Johnny's service last year. I love hearing the story of the strength and endurance he had to get through that. I'm feeling pretty strong: I've got a new job that I like, remotely managing wind turbines (we have hundreds of the big 1.5 MegaWatt ones in Texas!), and I am committed to helping Robyn's and my friend Paul as he goes through his particularly nasty battle with his GBM. My job is 12 hour shifts, 3 or 4 times a week. And then 3 or 4 day weekends! 4 days off is an ok time to fly to Texas or New York or California's San Juaquin Valley to visit family.

I love you; I am so proud of all my family.
Cousin Wayne

rindy said... everyone in your family extraordinary, eloquent and inspired. my comments pale...i think i'll just stick to personal emails from now on.....or i might have to go back to college....but know, in my lesser way, i am always thinking of you!

your less than inspiring, but still caring one..... :)