Wednesday, April 06, 2005

YOU MUST READ THIS

Piggyback Hero > > by Ralph Kinney Bennett> >
Tomorrow morning they'll lay the remains of Glenn Rojohn to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in the little town of Greenock, Pa., just southeast of Pittsburgh. He was 81, and had been in the air conditioning and plumbing business in nearby McKeesport. If you had seen him on the street he would probably have looked to you like so many other graying, bespectacled old World War II veterans whose names appear so often now on obituary pages. But like so many of them, though he seldom talked about it, he could have told you one hell of a story.
He won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart all in one fell swoop in the skies over Germany on December 31, 1944. Fell swoop indeed.Capt. Glenn Rojohn, of the 8th Air Force's 100th Bomb Group, was flying his B-17G Flying Fortress bomber on a raid over Hamburg. His formation had braved heavy flak to drop their bombs, and then turned 180 degrees to head out over the North Sea. They had finally turned northwest, headed back to England, when they were jumped by German fighters at 22,000 feet. The Messerschmitt Me-109s pressed their attack so closely that Capt. Rojohn could see the faces of the German pilots.
He and the other pilots fought to remain in formation so they could use each other's guns to defend the group. Rojohn saw a B-17 ahead of him burst into flames and slide sickeningly toward the earth. He gunned his ship forward to fill in the gap.He felt a huge impact. The big bomber shuddered, felt suddenly very heavy and began losing altitude. Rojohn grasped almost immediately that he had collided with another plane. A B-17 below him, piloted by Lt. William G. McNab, had slammed the top of its fuselage into the bottom of Rojohn's. The top turret gun of McNab's plane was now locked in the belly of Rojohn's plane and the ball turret in the belly of Rojohn's had smashed through the top of McNab's. The two bombers were almost perfectly aligned - the tail of the lower plane was slightly to the left of Rojohn's tailpiece. They were stuck together, as a crewman later recalled, "like mating dragon flies." No one will ever know exactly how it happened. Perhaps both pilots had moved instinctively to fill the same gap in formation. Perhaps McNab's plane had hit an air pocket.
Three of the engines on the bottom plane were still running, as were all four of Rojohn's. The fourth engine on the lower bomber was on fire and the flames were spreading to the rest of the aircraft. The two were losing altitude quickly. Rojohn tried several times to gun his engines and break free of the other plane. The two were inextricably locked together. Fearing a fire, Rojohn cuts his engines and rang the bailout bell. If his crew had any chance of parachuting, he had to keep the plane under control somehow.
The ball turret, hanging below the belly of the B-17, was considered by many to be a death trap - the worst station on the bomber. In this case, both ball turrets figured in a swift and terrible drama of life and death. Staff Sgt. Edward L. Woodall, Jr., in the ball turret of the lower bomber, had felt the impact of the collision above him and saw shards of metal drop past him. Worse, he realized both electrical and hydraulic power was gone. Remembering escape drills, he grabbed the hand crank, released the clutch and cranked the turret and its guns until they were straight down, then turned and climbed out the back of the turret up into the fuselage. Once inside the plane's belly Woodall saw a chilling sight, the ball turret of the other bomber protruding through the top of the fuselage. In that turret, hopelessly trapped, was Staff Sgt. Joseph Russo. Several crewmembers on Rojohn's plane tried frantically to crank Russo's turret around so he could escape. But, jammed into the fuselage of the lower plane, the turret would not budge. Aware of his plight, but possibly unaware that his voice was going out over the intercom of his plane, Sgt. Russo began reciting his Hail Mary's.
Up in the cockpit, Capt. Rojohn and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. William G. Leek, Jr., had propped their feet against the instrument panel so they could pull back on their controls with all their strength, trying to prevent their plane from going into a spinning dive that would prevent the crew from jumping out.Capt. Rojohn motioned left and the two managed to wheel the grotesque,collision-born hybrid of a plane back toward the German coast. Leek felt like he was intruding on Sgt. Russo as his prayers crackled over the radio, so he pulled off his flying helmet with its earphones.Rojohn, immediately grasping that the crew could not exit from the bottom of his plane, ordered his top turret gunner and his radio operator, Tech Sgts Orville Elkin and Edward G. Neuhaus, to make their way to the back of the fuselage and out the waist door behind the left wing.Then he got his navigator, 2nd Lt. Robert Washington, and his bombardier,Sgt James Shirley to follow them. As Rojohn and Leek somehow held the plane steady, these four men, as well as waist gunner Sgt. Roy Little and tail gunner Staff Sgt. Francis Chase were able to bail out.
Now the plane locked below them was aflame. Fire poured over Rojohn's left wing. He could feel the heat from the plane below and hear the sound of .50 caliber machinegun ammunition "cooking off" in the flames.Capt. Rojohn ordered Lieut. Leek to bail out. Leek knew that without him helping keep the controls back, the plane would drop in a flaming spiral and the centrifugal force would prevent Rojohn from bailing. He refused the order.Meanwhile, German soldiers and civilians on the ground that afternoon looked up in wonder. Some of them thought they were seeing a new Allied secret weapon - a strange eight-engined double bomber. But anti-aircraft gunners on the North Sea coastal island of Wangerooge had seen the collision. A German battery captain wrote in his logbook at 12:47 p.m.: "Two fortresses collided in a formation in the NE. The planes flew hooked together and flew 20 miles south. The two planes were unable to fight anymore. The crash could be awaited so I stopped the firing at these two planes."
Suspended in his parachute in the cold December sky, Bob Washington watched with deadly fascination as the mated bombers, trailing black smoke, fell to earth about three miles away, their downward trip ending in an ugly boiling blossom of fire.
In the cockpit Rojohn and Leek held grimly to the controls trying to ride a falling rock. Leek tersely recalled, "The ground came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed. We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground."The McNab plane on the bottom exploded, vaulting the other B-17 upward and forward. It hit the ground and slid along until its left wing slammed through a wooden building and the smoldering mass of aluminum came to stop.Rojohn and Leek were still seated in their cockpit. The nose of the plane was relatively intact, but everything from the B-17's massive wings back was destroyed. They looked at each other incredulously. Neither was badly injured.Movies have nothing on reality. Still perhaps in shock, Leek crawled out through a huge hole behind the cockpit, felt for the familiar pack in his uniform pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He placed it in his mouth and was about to light it. Then he noticed a young German soldier pointing a rifle at him. The soldier looked scared and annoyed. He grabbed the cigarette out of Leek's mouth and pointed down to the gasoline pouring out over the wing from a ruptured fuel tank.
Two of the six men who parachuted from Rojohn's plane did not survive the jump. But the other four and, amazingly, four men from the other bomber, including ball turret gunner Woodall, survived. All were taken prisoner. Several of them were interrogated at length by the Germans until they were satisfied that what had crashed was not a new American secret weapon.Rojohn, typically, didn't talk much about his Distinguished Flying Cross. Of Leek, he said, "In all fairness to my co-pilot, he's the reason I'm alive today."
Like so many veterans, Rojohn got back to life unsentimentally after the war, marrying and raising a son and daughter. For many years, though, he tried to link back up with Leek, going through government records to try to track him down. It took him 40 years, but in 1986, he found the number of Leek's mother, in Washington State.Yes, her son Bill was visiting from California. Would Rojohn like to speak with him? Two old men on a phone line, trying to pick up some familiar timbre of youth in each other's voice. One can imagine that first conversation between the two men who had shared that wild ride in the cockpit of a B-17.
A year later, the two were re-united at a reunion of the 100th Bomb Group in Long Beach, Calif. Bill Leek died the following year. Glenn Rojohn was the last survivor of the remarkable piggyback flight. He was like thousands upon thousands of men -- soda jerks and lumberjacks, teachers and dentists, students and lawyers and service station attendants and store clerks and farm boys -- who in the prime of their lives went to war in World War II. They sometimes did incredible things, endured awful things, and for the most part most of them pretty much kept it to themselves and just faded back into the fabric of civilian life.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, AAF, died last Saturday after a long siege of illness. But he apparently faced that final battle with the same grim aplomb he displayed that remarkable day over Germany so long ago. Let us be thankful for such men.A great story. I wonder how many more stories like this one are lost each day as members of the Greatest Generation pass on.

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10 Comments:

At 11:51 AM, Blogger MarineLiberal1775 said...

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At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. Prompt how to get acquainted with the girl it to me to like. But does not know about it
I have read through one history
Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

"And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

"When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

 
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At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are your 50,000 thoughts a day creating?

Our thoughts create our reality. This is a simple truth known by all people involved on the spiritual path. It is one of the most taught universal principles in the personal development field. Yet it is one of the most misunderstood!

People practice visualisation, affirmations, they use hypnosis, subliminal programming or countless other tools to transform their lives. However they fail to recognise one key area in their lives that hinder these wonderful techniques from being effective.

They sit day after day visualising their perfect scene and yet nothing happens. Why? They have followed all the instructions to the letter! They have chanted and imagined! They have formed a colourful, vibrant scene in their minds and affirmed that this is their reality. Then all of a sudden things get worse! What is going on?

Would you like to know the secret? Would you like to know why these people get no results? Would you like to hear one powerful statement that explains everything?

Yes?
Good. I will tell you why these people get no results or even opposite results to those they are aiming for -simply because of the following truth. Consciously controlled thoughts such as visualisations do not materialise - ALL thoughts materialise!!!
Most people believe that if they visualise for 10 minutes a day their lives will magically transform. This is not the case. You must change your core thinking. You think approx. 50,000 thoughts a day. How many of those thoughts are working against your ten minute visualisation?
You can control the thoughts that enter your mind by changing the way you view the world. You can decide which thoughts you give energy to and which thoughts you discard.

The thoughts that you follow and give energy to become more dominant than the thoughts you discard. Your subconscious mind records these as your dominant picture on the issue at hand. You then move towards this picture because your subconscious mind starts making your outside world reflect the picture that you have stored internally.
Your mind should be on whatever you want. The picture you need to have is a positive vision of you already having achieved your goal. To realise this vision you need to focus and concentrate. Remember thoughts are real, they create your reality.
Let's say you have been visualising a new house. You spend your ten minutes in meditation picturing yourself living in your dream home. You finish your session and get up feeling positive that you will achieve your goal. Then during the day you get a heating bill through the post and exclaim "Oh no look how expensive this is I cannot afford to heat this house". Where is your focus in the present moment? What are you affirming? You are telling your subconscious mind that you cannot deal with what you have. You are affirming that your life is not how you want it to be. If you knew without doubt that within a week you would be moving to your new home would you honestly be worried about a heating bill? Perhaps other doubts creep in like "I should be happy with what I have", or "I will never get this house looking the way I want it" and so on and so on.
These thoughts that are not aligned with your goal. You are not giving complete attention to what you want. Whilst you are dealing with these other lines of thought your attention is not on your goal.
If you are aware of your thoughts you will suddenly realise that you have spent much more energy on counter productive thoughts than on creating a dominant picture of the goal you want.
Point your focus in the direction of you're the life you want. Think about what you want NOT what you don't want. It's that simple.

Your focus determines your reality. Change your focus and you change your life. The Secret

 
At 1:02 AM, Anonymous personal development said...

Can you use hypnosis and self hypnosis to improve your health?

Well in 1958 the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and The British Medical Association concluded that hypnosis was indeed a viable therapeutic tool and approved its medical use.

Although there are many theories, no-one really knows how or why hypnosis works. However, the benefits of its use are clear. It has been used successfully in all manner of treatments from IBS to pre-surgery relaxation and post-surgery pain relief.

Olympic athletes, footballers, basketball layers, golfers etc., have known about the power of the mind for some decades now (perhaps the elite knew even further back). It has been shown in medical studies that when you visualise yourself performing a task your muscles respond in exactly the same way as they would if you were actually doing the task. Sports psychologist have used this to their, and their clients, advantage for years now.

The power of the mind is becoming more evident to the medical establishment as well. Everyone knows about the beneficial effects of using a placebo. It seems that if the mind is convinced that something is true then it will make it true even if the situation appears to be the exact of opposite in the 'real world'!

It seems that the quickest way to get the mind to accept a new belief is through hypnosis and self hypnosis. Phobias can be eliminated in one session now and new beliefs planted in the same aount of time.
The use of hypnosis as a weight-loss tool is well written about as its effectiveness in quitting smoking! It has been used very effectively in non-surgical breast enhancement and treating erectile dysfunction. So it is not very hard to believe that it could be used to convince the mind that health is abundant or that a particular unhealthy situation is reversing itself.

Once the mind becomes convinced that an unhealthy situation no longer exists and that health is abundant then just like the visualiser who makes his/her muscles respond to a mental image the person in discomfort or dis-ease can make his/her body begin to repair itself. Makes sense right!
No-one can predict the scope of hypnosis for healing. However, everyone knows of miracle healings that have taken place when a sick person has visited a spiritual healer, bathed at Lourdes, prayed etc. If these healings can take place then I see no reason not to believe that hypnosis can have the same effect.

Unfortunately, no large scale studies have been undertaken, to my knowledge, that have tested the power of hypnosis to cure chronic or terminal illness but I do believe there is enough evidence to suggest it is a very beneficial tool in recovery. self hypnosis

 

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