Flying Tiger talks about war years - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Flying Tiger talks about war years

Posted: Updated: Oct 21, 2013 07:43 AM

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Richard Sherman is one of a handful of World War II vets who still remind us of the sacrifices made during that time. In 1942 he was  nineteen years old when he flew his first combat mission in a B-25, over the South China Sea.

"It was the first bomber we brought into China, the rest were P-40s"

He served as bombardier-navigator in the 11th bomb squadron, which was nicknamed the "Flying Tigers"  and under the command of General Chennault.  He flew 52 missions, all of which went well, except for one.   Out over the sea, the aircraft was descending to check out a suspicious fishing boat.

"We took a run at it and about half way down, they dropped back the canopy and they had a 20 mm ack-ack gun on deck and shot out our left engine."

The crew crash landed on the shoreline.  Safely on the ground, they made a shocking discovery.

 "Earlier we had talked about bailing out and leaving the plane or what.  We decided we didn't want to bail out.  After we landed we popped the hatch for the chutes. There was holes so big in the chutes where the rats had eaten thorough for the jungle kits."

Eventually the crew all made it safely back to base, led by Chinese they met in a rice paddy. Now at 91 years of age, he still remembers lessons learned from those war years .
"If everybody worked together like they did in World War II, there is nothing we can't accomplish."

Richard and his wife live in Monroe. Both volunteering their time helping out other former soldiers at the Chennault Museum and the War Veterans Home.

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