“Might as well relax and take her slow, Frank,” Bennie used to say to me as he’d light another Lucky Strike. “It’s gonna be a long damned war.”
Last time I saw Bennie he was packing up for basic training, and now here we are, four years and miles of film later. His postcards still trickle in with the same message “Might as well relax.” Hard enough to relax when you’re cramped into this tiny spot on a rickety old two-engine leaking death trap while the butterbar lieutenant whistles Vera Lynn tunes… off key. A special kind of torture, but it’s all for Uncle Sam. This morning’s run is Vera Lynn country – we fly directly over the White Cliffs of Dover but I’ll be damned if I could see a single bluebird at altitude. It’s enough to smell the sea and cross the Channel… the Allies have been hounding the Germans for months and the end is finally in sight. I’d like to light a Lucky Strike of my own, but out here it’s just not possible. “Might as well relax.” And take her slow, a beautiful, haunting glide over Dover to Calais, and beyond. Vera, sing it to me, won’t you? I’d really like to just go home.