A privilege of being a flyer was to take special trips. While the Group was in Belgium, one of the special trips was to make the Whisky Run”. The “Whisky Run” was a flight to Bordeaux, France to pick up the liquor and wine for the base. Trucks would meet the flight at the airport and load the plane with liquor, etc. The Group could get gin, cognac, champagne, and wines, but scotch and bourbon were almost unobtainable. If there were some, you can imagine who would get first choice?
Before dawn one morning, I was flying south over central France at about six thousand feet altitude going toward Marseilles, on the route to Africa. The ground was still dark, but up, where we were, there was a little sunlight on the clouds. Looking down in the middle of this field was a little French farmhouse. They had a light on that I could see through the window. They had a fire in the fireplace and the smoke was coming out of the chimney; rising upward. The strange thing was that this smoke was coming up six thousand feet in as straight a line as you could draw on a piece of paper. There was not a breath of air or anything disturbing it. I thought this was amazing. These people were probably cooking breakfast and had no idea that something unusual was happening.
On a beautiful day I took off from Belgium and was going toward Norway. We passed over Denmark and when we got up to about three thousand feet, I noticed that there was a housefly, with me in the nose. It was buzzing around; busy going hither and yon. We had the heaters on in the plane, and although I didn’t have a heated suit, I was comfortable. We went on up to about twenty-one thousand feet. When we got above ten thousand feet, this housefly settled down on one part of my desk and just sat there. I could go over with my finger and push him and he wouldn’t fly. We stayed at altitude for several hours. The temperature outside was minus zero, but inside it was warm. This fly didn’t have any oxygen, whatsoever. When we came back down and got below ten thousand feet, that fly became active again and flew around the nose as though nothing had happened. A human being would have died. How that fly stayed at altitude with no oxygen, for that period of time-and lived- is really amazing!
A topic we always hear people talk about: The military was supplied with prophylactics. Yes, but most of the time, the condoms that were issued to us we used in an entirely different manner than most people would imagine. When you’re flying, at altitude with an oxygen mask, the microphone was inside the mask, right in front of your mouth. You had to protect it from moisture in some way, so we would take a condom and wrap the microphone in the condom and put it back in the oxygen mask. It worked beautifully!!