July 5, 1945
Dear Mom & Dad,
Another short one before I go to bed. Have to get up at 5:15 & that comes pretty early.
I looked all over that town Dad for a birthday card for you & I couldn’t find a darn one that seemed right. Happy Birthday anyway Dad! I sure hope we can spend your next one together. You know I’m slowly but surely catching up to you. Next year I’ll be just half your age.
Got three letters from you when I returned from my 48. 7 letters all together, the most mail I’ve seen in a long time.
I didn’t see a darn soul I know while I was in Iceland Dad. I still have the first one to see that I know from home.
I hadn’t forgotten that I had 1 year or that gold bar. Am saving up for a real celebration after I get two years on it.
I don’t know where either Anderson or Van are. Haven’t seen Van since Savannah. I heard he got over here o.k. but thats all.
I think Johnnie was a darned fool myself for not taking a discharge while he could.
Wade & I keep our stuff(clothes) on a long iron pole held up by a couple of straps at each end. Incidently it hangs directly over my bed. Only my head really has any clearance. Then I have two drawers, a trunk & millions other items scattered & hung up over the room. Have a hard time closing drawers & I can’t the trunk.
Still no ride with the Major. I’m getting ready to tell him to (stick it)sorry but thats what I mean.
Sure wish I could have been with you on that weiner roast Dad. Ummm We get hot dogs occasionally but you can just barely eat them. I’m afraid deer hunting is going to be out this year unless its done in Germany. They tell me theres quite a few where we’re going. I’ll have a try at it. You can bet on that.
Think I’d better close for tonite for we have another try at #3 tomorrow, but early.
Nite for now.
Lots of love,
Excerpt From Richard Warren’s Autobiography
The Commanding General, over our Bomb Group, in his “inestimable” judgment, “volunteered” our Group for a Top Secret Mission (Project Casey Jones)–to photograph all of Europe–up to the “Iron Curtain”– all lands bordering on the Mediterranean Sea –and Africa, where it bordered the Atlantic, down to Liberia. They stripped all the guns and gun turrets off of the planes and mounted an aerial camera in the belly of the ship. At least, with the guns and turrets off, the plane flew faster—not the 150 mph that had been combat speed. I believe we tried to maintain about 185mph while taking pictures and in some of the planes you could get 210/215 mph flying straight and level. All aerial flights were at 25,000 ft or better–for example, I think that when photographing the Alps, we flew at 32,000 ft. Each flight line was about 1 1/2 miles apart—up to 150 miles long—there couldn’t be over 10% cloud coverage. In addition, when taking pictures, we couldn’t deviate over 50 ft in altitude, or make a heading correction of over 3 degrees at a time. As can be seen, we were always on oxygen and for all practical purposes, were doing instrument flying most of the time. We’d fly on the automatic pilot as much as we could, but often they wouldn’t hold to the tight tolerances that we had to maintain. (They weren’t made or maintained quite as “good” in those days). I know that very few of you that read this will ever fly using oxygen nor pilot a plane on instruments–but believe me, it takes intense concentration to hold within those limits and as a consequence, is very tiring. I know, there were many times, when I’d get back from a flight–decide to take a nap and never wake up until the next morning!
With the restriction on cloud coverage, you never knew, from day to day where you might be sent next in Europe to photograph–one day it might be Norway or Denmark and the next day–Switzerland or southern France. The weather men did their best to send us to an area that they thought should be clear—it didn’t always work, and even though you might have an alternate area–it too, sometimes ,would be too cloudy to photograph! Of course, there were many days that the weather, all over, was just too messed up to fly–period! There was one other problem, besides weather that we had–that was the “Iron Curtain”. I never experienced this myself, but I heard that others, that flew beyond the “Iron Curtain” were fired at by Russian fighter planes or tried to be forced down in Russian territory. As a consequence, if our flight line, took us up to the “Curtain”, we were under orders not to cross it but instead make a 180 degree turn–fly to the west end of the next line and fly that one. As you can see, normally, when we had finished a flight line, we would continue on for another few minutes, make a 180, of a mile and a half, and take pictures on the way back on the next one! I didn’t always obey those orders, but instead, would fly into Russian territory at the end of the first flight line and take pictures on the adjacent one on the way back—my reasoning??–first of all, we were at 25,000 ft or higher and the old piston (propellor) planes couldn’t climb like the jets of today–so I figured I could get in and out before they could get to my altitude. The third flight line, I would turn back at the “curtain”, for having been in and out of the territory, an hour or less before, I thought they might be waiting for me that time. Anyhow, it worked, and I never had a problem!