HOW THE "PAPER WARRIOR" CAME BY ITS NAME
NOTE FROM FRANK BERND:
Enclosed is a copy of the Paper Warrior Correspondence. It's nothing
fantastic, but sort of a nice little story and perhaps some of the fellows
will get a kick out of it. I had a chance to check out the details with the
crew at the reunion, so the story is true.
A group of World War II veterans give lectures or group discussions to the
Jr. high school students at a local school on what we did in World War II.
Our group consists of Air Force, Marines, Army, Army Nurses, etc. In talking
to these young people, I emphasize that nothing is really new, such as
protesting. I then show them a picture of the "Paper Warrior" and describe
how it was named. This was a new B-17G.
Lead crews such as ours had to fly up to a miserable little island somewhere
off the west coast of Scotland, regardless of the English weather, and
practice bombing. It was a good distance away and we usually flew at
approximately 25,000 feet. The record keeping, or paper work, was great
since every bomb had to be recorded as to circular error, plus heading,
temperature, bombsight settings, etc. We usually carried 20 practice bombs
of about 20 lbs. Of course, the pilot and navigator had their own problems.
One night we diluted what my dear mother sent me tucked in the middle of a
loaf of bread with some canned grapefruit juice. Our excessive amount of
paperwork duty soon evolved into a rather boisterous discussion as the
grapefruit juice with the Early Times kicker disappeared. It was agreed, our
newly assigned B-17G needed a name. We picked a name as a protest. This is
how the €œPaper Warrior €¾ was born. The next morning we were not flying, so I
had time to paint this fantastic name in about 12" high bright red letters on
the nose of our new ship. PAPER WARRIOR is listed with all the official 8th
AAF names of combat B-17 planes.
Things to think about---
A. Neither group nor squadron brass ever said a word!
B. Our ground crew would not talk to me for at least a week!
C. If we had been shot down, the Germans would have had a lot of fun
with this name. They may even have had a little sympathy for us.
D. Our pilot, Captain Burningham, never drank but went along with our idea
E. After several trips to Scotland I did learn to drop 20 bombs at one time
--- and then back into the clouds. When there were no clouds, time
went very slowly, one bomb at a time.
F. The commendation from General Lacy for the December 29th mission
mentions especially the high squadron -- us! Perhaps the practice flights
did pay off.