As a small child, I remember sitting down with my father leafing through a scrapbook of pictures that he had taken in North Africa during WWII. While the scrapbook was sadly lost in a fire, I vividly recall that many photos of his fellow B-26 Martin Marauder pilots and crewmen had crosses inked-in beside them. My dad patiently explained that these brave men had lost their lives in the war and this was his way of honoring their memory.
While he rarely talked about his combat experiences, I do recall him telling me that 60 of the 200 aircraft that had made the trip across the Atlantic to North Africa had been lost at sea due to mechanical failure, lack of fuel or some other non-combat related cause. While my dad passed away many years ago, I still recall his sadness that these brave young men had unnecessarily perished because their equipment was not tested properly.
Now some 60 years later, it is difficult to believe that our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan still don’t have adequate protective gear. When will our military leadership wake-up to insure that our troops have the proper equipment to have a fighting chance to come home alive and in one piece?
Richard W. May