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U.S. Air Force vs. Combat Infantry: Intense Love-Hate RelationshipDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
The Air Force had casualties in dead, missing, and wounded but nothing like the Combat Infantry, the ones who did the actual fighting.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - The following poem is titled 'A Tribute to the Queen (The B-17)'.
From the Guadalcanal and the Philippines,
(This was found on the wall at the Bomber Restaurant in Portland, Oregon)
Words alone cannot describe the feelings about the Air Force of a Combat Infantryman, Lucky Bastards was the most common word for us slogging through the rain, mud, snow, and cold. We also had envy, jealousy, loathing, and hatred. Some even called them the American Luftwaffe because they bombed or strafed us with machine gun fire- we guys in the mud.
We knew they were being shot at with heavy anti-aircraft artillery and also fighter plane machine guns, but they were “bulldozing” the German war machine with aerial artillery which made our advances slightly less lethal. We did capture the ground, they couldn’t do that. They also had a great advantage going back to base if they weren’t shot down as many were.
When they got back to base there was good whiskey, warm food, warm beds, clean clothes, a warm bath, and frequently a warm woman. We Combat Infantry had NONE of that. Can you blame us for some bitterness. We were literally “stuck in the mud” and getting shot at, mostly by heavy artillery, 24 hours a day with little let-up. We were in wet “foxholes” with not even a sleeping bag mostly when we weren’t attacking. A half destroyed house or basement was a luxury. K rations were relatively gourmet food!!
The “fly boys” even had better than stateside commissaries where they could buy almost anything, including Nylon Stockings.
What for you may ask?
Booze for us in the mud was a far-off memory. Although about 2,000,000 Combat Soldiers went through Britain after a few beers. About 200,000 Air Force were there permenantly to fly but about 70%, or 140,000 were there to maintain the planes. About 100,000 got married and 84,000 got venereal disease in their spare time.
The first American Airplanes got to Britain in June ’42. By July 27th there were 47 B-17 Bombers, 74 P-38 Fighters and 52 C-47 Cargo planes. Almost none of the Bombers survived their missions. The Memphis Belle was the first to survive 25 missions to great celebration!
The Air Force had casualties in dead, missing, and wounded but nothing like the Combat Infantry, the ones who did the actual fighting. In the first two months after D-Day in Europe many of the first Infantry divisions to land and fight had 200% replacements. To clarify this, the 90th Division had 30,000 replacements through the war. The 5th Division had about 20,000 replacements. Most Infantry Divisions had around 10,000 replacements.
At the end of the war in Europe and Asia, the U.S. had about 400,000 killed and about 1,000,000 wounded. About 70% or 300,000 were Infantry. The Air Force had only about 10% of the killed, missing, or wounded. The remaining 20% were Tankers, Artillery, Engineers, Navy, and Marines.
THANK YOU AIR FORCE FOR YOUR HELP, BUT THE INFANTRY CAPTURED GERMANY!!!
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.
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