|My father is at far right, standing.|
Blaine Corbin, the waist gunner, had just been killed by flak,
so the crew of nine is now eight.
A Veterans Day post in memory of a 17-year-old Georgia sharecropper's boy who joined up with the Army Air Corps 91st Bomb Group and fought as tail gunner on the Incendiary Blonde during World War II...
Requiescat in pace, Hubert L. Youmans. You traveled a long way, up from the Minnie farm. Major Youmans. Professor Youmans. My father.
by Randall Jarrell
Fog over the base: the beams ranging
From the five towers pull home from the night
The crews cold in fur, the bombers banging
Like lost trucks down the levels of the ice.
A glow drifts in like mist (how many tons of it?),
Bounces to a roll, turns suddenly to steel
And tyres and turrets, huge in the trembling light.
The next is high, and pulls up with a wail,
Comes round again - no use. And no use for the rest
In drifting circles out along the range;
Holding no longer, changed to a kinder course,
The flights drone southward through the steady rain.
The base is closed...But one voice keeps on calling,
The lowering pattern of the engines grows;
The roar gropes downward in its shaky orbit
For the lives the season quenches. Here below
They beg, order, are not heard; and hear the darker
Voice rising: Can't you hear me? Over. Over -
All the air quivers, and the east sky glows.
One of the many things that I want to do (too many!) is to transcribe my father's mission notes. Maybe I'll get to that in the coming year.