June 11, 1945

I know it almost seemed like a strange town when I went home an furlough last fall. Everyone building new houses or tearing old ones down or moving them to new locations. People getting married and having kids or divorced and raising scoundrels. Life going on in its own sweet time, very peaceful and content and nonchalant except for an occasional catastrophe that rocks the poor old town back on it's heels for awhile until everything settles down again and things go on as before, slowly unraveling the thread of life.

Lloyd Lewis

But life goes on over here too. Sometimes people back, home picture a very distorted view of their son or husband, cousin or nephew as one lone pinnacle of steel, steadfastly withstanding the relentless thrusts of a fanatical enemy and slowly but steadily pushing him back across an eternity of thundering blue water. Maybe that is as it should be but to us it is entirely different.

We visualize hundreds of men striving for the same purpose and the same ideals. That purpose is not primarily to destroy an enemy we have not seen, or to sacrifice ourselves that future generations might enjoy the peace and security that is not ours to enjoy. No, it is not. the unreserved patriotism of the Japanese soldier that drives us into battle, God forbid it.

That purpose is that we as individuals might soon be free to choose the places to which we will roam, the things we will do, and the things we will say.That ideal is to return to our homes and our families and our friends.

To be able to stand up to a guy and tell him to go to hell if we so desire without fearing the punishment and interference of another who is completely unconcerned with the situation, or to offer praises and compliments to him when they are rightly deserved without being accused of "brown nosing" or in civilian language, "apple polishing''. To be able to admire and respect a man for his own accomplishments and abilities, not because someone says, "he is an officer and a gentleman, salute him or else". To live in a world where men are what they are because of what they know, not who they know.

That is our purpose and our ideals. That is what we are fighting for. That is what we are hoping and praying for, and believe me, we are praying too. When something big and important is at stake, such as we are facing almost every day, men don't rely on their own abilities. They realize only too well their weaknesses and their shortcomings and they quickly and willingly turn to God for strength and forgiveness in the time of extreme danger."

Lloyd Lewis Crew

You have heard the saying, "there are no atheists in foxholes", and that goes equally well for Superfortresses. Maybe there are a few that will deny any belief in a "Supreme Being", but I doubt if there are any that don't utter a little prayer during each of their missions over Japan, asking forgiveness for their sins and protection during the coming danger. Some may be slightly skeptical of the power of God but they aren't taking any chances of not being on his side. Just in case there is such a thing as a God who knows of our existence and who has power over life or death, they want to have His best wishes and His protection from the harm that is so likely to occur.

Yes, life goes on here too, as well as in the States. It goes on but it goes very quickly and unerroringly. To men who fly there can be no errors. The first one is the last.

Life is a very definite process over here. Deep down inside we think of it seriously and wonder what it is all about. We wonder what it will be like when we get back home and sometimes we wonder if we will be able to stand the tempo of earning our own living, or if we will fit into the social pattern which exists in our home towns, especially in case we come back physically handicapped. Most of us feel sure it won't be us but sometimes it is, and we can't deny it. A good many of us are handicapped mentally (I don't mean lacking in intelligence either). We have been away from the so called "normal way of life" for quite awhile and we have missed alot of new developments. The folks at home have advanced considerably since we left and we have advanced along different paths. Many things are commonplace to you while to us they are entirely new and strange. It will take us awhile to adjust ourselves to the new realm of living. Sometimes it scares us a little but just let them try giving us a discharge and we'll take our chances on the problems of civilian life.

Deep down inside we do think of life and death seriously but on top we take it very lightly and sometimes even nonchalantly. We joke and laugh about it or it will drive us nuts thinking about it. If it is us that are going on the mission we remark to the fellows who stay behind, "well we will tell Hirohito hello for you" or, "I'll put in a good word for you to St. Pete". While on the other hand if we are staying behind, we will probably say, "dibs on Joe's rubber mattress", or, "Mike you better let me keep your billfold, it won't do you any good where you're going". And when we return from a successful mission we yell as we bounce in the front door, "too bad Joe, you didn't get rid of us yet".

It isn't all jokes though when they come in after a mission and remove six bunks from the barracks. It leaves an empty feeling inside us. No, things are far from a bed of roses over here. We don't complain except for a little jovial griping once in awhile about the chow or about the scarcity of water or some other trivial matter that could really be called a luxury, but just the same it feels good to gripe about something and get it off our chests. We don't complain but we are far from satisfied and we won't be until we get away from all this nonsense and start doing something worthwhile.

Lloyd Lewid was a member of the 313th Bomb Wing, 505th Bomb Group, 484th Bomb Squad and ship # 38 the "She Hasta"