The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

My Dad At War

March 2nd, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

My father worked many different jobs in his life. He fought in a war and traveled all over the world and our country. All of this before I ever knew him. I talked to him many times about his life but in retrospect, I should have asked more about his experiences. Gerald D. Fisher

He would talk about his adventures in World War Two when the subject was brought up.  Many kids had fathers that had been in Korea or had missed both conflicts. His was a generation that sacrificed enormously for us all. Truly the greatest generation of our time. I was always very proud of his service to our country in World War Two.

My dad would tell me stories about the war but more often than not I was asking the questions. Many were inspired by the TV shows in the late sixties and early seventies that glorified American soldiers in Europe and Asia in the 1940’s. My dad’s all time favorite war themed TV program was called Bah Bah Blacksheep. It was based on a real WW2 fighter pilot, Pappy Boyington, in the South Pacific conflict. He would watch Combat!, which was about the American infantry in Europe , but being an Army Air Corps veteran, he preferred TV shows about fighter’s and bombers. There was a program on in the 1960’s about bombers called Twelve O’clock High that he liked. But he always complained that the featured B-17 bombers on the show, got all the publicity, but that B-24’s did all of the work.

America had been attacked and the U.S. government did a terrific job getting recruits for the war. My father was a little older at 28, than most recruits when he joined in the Army in 1942. He was trained in several parts of the country at being a soldier, repairing airplanes, and shooting large caliber machine guns. Because of that Army experience, when employed at a prison during the riots that followed the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, he was given a position on a large machine gun pointed at the prison door and told to kill anyone that came through it.

My dad was a right wing gunner on a B-24D Liberator and rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant in the Army Air Corps, which later became the Air Force. He was a tall man, so service in any of the confining turret spaces was right out. That was probably lucky for him. He was trained as an airplane mechanic. I know he had some mechanical experience from his jobs previous to joining the Army. I am not sure what help it was being a mechanic once you were on a bombing mission. He mentioned that the pilot allowed him to fly the B-24, but wouldn’t let him land it.

My father’s military service during World War Two

Gerald D. Fisher
Technical Sergeant, Aerial Engineer
B-24D Liberator bomber, right wing gunner
329th Bombardment Squadron 93rd Bombardment Group

date event
6/2/1942 Entry Into Active Service
11/24/1942 Airplane Mechanics school
12/26/1942 B-24 Familiarization school
3/18/1943 Wendover Aerial Gunnery and Fire Control School
7/15/1943 Destination-Europe Theater Operations (ETO)
  8th Airforce Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun School
  Northern France
  Central Europe
  Air Offensive Europe
  Air Medal w/ Oak Leak Cluster
2/28/1944 Oak Leaf Cluster (5 missions)
  Eur, Afr, Mid East Theater Ribbon w/9 bronze stars
6/15/1945 Destination-US
9/15/1945 Honorable Discharge


I asked him if he had shot down any German planes. He said that he thought he got one, but it was never verified. Being in the formation gave him some protection, because of the sheer numbers of bombers in the air. Flak bombardments no doubt created a major hazard to these aircraft in large formations. He said the scariest moment was in a crippled aircraft on the way back from a mission. The plane was heavily damaged and the airplane began to go down. The pilot fought the controls and was able to pull out of the dive and managed to get everyone back safely.

Dad participated in battles mostly over Europe but had been stationed in England and Africa. He received theater ribbons for Europe, Africa, and The Middle East. On the day that later became his final mission he was scrubbed from the bombing raid because of ill health. The bomber crew that he had flown with for the war was sent off with a replacement on the right wing gun position. That aircraft was shot down possibly over the Black Sea, and no one survived. He was not placed with a new crew. He was very shaken that he had lost his friends and had certainly had a brush with death. At the end of the war he was sent home and was under notice of recall to Asia until the Japanese surrendered soon after.

It was a little over ten years and a third marriage before I was born. All I ever knew my father as was a prison guard. I did enjoy listening to his war stories. He was never boastful but never shied away from relating his experiences. I think he knew the sacrifice he had made was the right thing to have done. There was never any question in his mind. I’m sure the terror of war can be mitigated by justness of the cause. I am sure that was a common sentiment among his generation about what had happened to them during World War Two.

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