380th Bomb Group Association
NEWSLETTER #40 -- Fall 2009
MIRROR MAN FLIES ON DARING RAID
I've been going through my mother's memorabilia and turned up this news release from The Daily Mirror of Sydney, Australia. Jim Smyth, war correspondent, flew with me to the Celebes where the Japanese were preparing for the invasion of Australia. I flew more missions (daylight) to Timor on the Celebes where my navigator (Barney Apfel) was credited with sinking two troop carrier transports. ... Dexter Baker (528th)
The Daily Mirror, Thursday, June 17, 1943
Jim Smyth, Australian War Correspondent
MIRROR MAN FLIES ON DARING RAID
FIRST TIME OUT
The mission marked the first occasion which Australian war correspondents have been allowed to accompany allied crews on combat missions. The briefing of this mission took nearly an hour. It included weather, assigned altitude, the target, and where the ack-ack and zeros could be expected. Our target is a big Japanese supply base on the east cost of the Celebes. It will take us more than twelve hours to and from the target and we will be over enemy occupied territory and enemy patrolled seas most of the time. We used all the available runway for take off. There are twelve of us aboard this liberator which bears the name "Golden Goose." The skipper is 23 year old Lt. Dexter Baker of Salt Lake City, Utah. These liberators are massive ships and one of the biggest heavy bombers in the world. The ship bristles with guns. There are more liberators to our right and behind us.
The sound like a jack hammer blows up in front and gets my attention, the smell of gun powder follows. The waist gunners have swung their guns out of waist windows. Could there be zero guns about? Each fires a short burst downwards and the tail gunner and the top turret join in, and the whole ship shakes and vibrates. Now it is all quiet aboard and I am wishing the target wasn't so far away. I'm not scared, just anxious. We are going in over the target singly and at intervals. We still have a long way to go yet. I came aboard the Golden Goose with a parachute with a one man life raft attached. Lights are out in the cabin, but the moon is shining in through the windows. A great bomber's moon. The gunners are getting ready for action at their guns. The tension is terrific as we wait. Over on our left we see flares dropped by our formation leader and almost immediately there are bursts of ack-ack. We are banking to the left now, for the target. My pulse is quickening faster. Up forward, our bombardier is at work on our bombsight. It shouldn't be long now. The bombardier, Lt. Barney Apfel, has taken over. He advises the skipper that we are locked on target.
The order "open bomb doors" comes through. The ship is flying steadily and we are not a mile off the target.
After what seems an hour, the bombardier releases the bombs. We dropped nine thousand-pound bombs in a few seconds.
Then out goes a flare for the following B-24. The Golden Goose has laid its eggs. We look back to assess our bomb damage. Several fires are observed and search lights are frantically crisscrossing the sky. Japanese radio chatter indicates they are trying to get their zeros in the air. There is no relaxation in the watch for zeros until we fly into heavy blind rain and sleet. Despite the weather, the Golden Goose is riding as smooth as a Rolls Royce.
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Last updated: 07/08/2012 08:24 PM