Excerpt from “Chapter 8 – Boise”

The Jolly Roger: An Airman’s Tale of Survival in World War II by William C. Atkinson

Excerpt from “Chapter 8 – Boise”:

The ten men belonging to Crew #66 boarded the troop train in Salt Lake City bound for Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho. The train car was crowded with the men of the other crews assembled in Salt Lake City and assigned to B-24 training at Gowen Field as well. Men from the different crews mingled, introducing themselves to one another and relishing in the fact that they were all headed for combat crew training. The reality of going off to war was sinking in, though the men had no idea whether they were headed for the Pacific Theater or European Theater of Operations.

Until now, Sgt. Atkinson’s training had been a solo affair. Although in each instance he had been thrown in with a crowd of young men working toward a common goal, it was he alone who had to successfully complete the tasks at hand. All training from this point forward would involve a team effort, and Crew #66 would be taught to function as a unit.

Sgt. Atkinson selected a window seat next to Lt. Williams. Sgt. Atkinson was already developing a deep respect for his pilot, and he liked the way the lieutenant handled himself around the crew. Lt. Williams’ calm, confidant nature appealed to Sgt. Atkinson, and he felt at ease around him.