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Old 13th December 2018, 02:16
Edward Edward is offline
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Re: A History of the Mediterranean Air War, 1940-1945 Volume 4

I don't know if this account appears in volume 4 but I hope so.

WWII Diary of Capt. Samuel T. Moore, MD - 81st Fighter Group

Thursday, August 5, 1943, Bizerte [Tunisia]

"Also I had a nice chat with a P-40 pilot, Richard E. Cone by name, of Columbus, Ohio. He was shot down by an ME-109 over Sicily and miraculously lived to tell his tale. Cone was flying escort for a formation of bombers at 13,000 feet when he spotted a ME-109 closing on on his element leader's plane. He turned to meet the ME, and as he did so he saw the ME's guns blinking at him. He watched helplessly as a row of bullet holes ran up one wing and shattered his windshield. Then a 20-mm shell exploded on the canopy adjacent to his head.

In the split second before darkness came he saw blood splatter the glass and instrument panel, and he released his safety harness. He regained consciousness momentarily and found himself falling free in the air. He pulled the rip cord but passed out again before the chute opened. The next time he awoke he was in the Mediterranean with a burning pain in his jaw. Somehow he managed to inflate his dingy and pull himself into it.

But his troubles were not over. His lower jaw was falling apart. He repositioned it and held it in place by pressing his chin against his chest. Again he lapsed into darkness. This time he awoke in an Italian operating room at the business end of a large drill going through his mandible. Without anesthetic or analgesics, he was in excruciating pain. The Italian surgeons finished their drilling and sewed the mandible together. For three days he had no sleep or surcease from the pain, as they would give him no sedative.

Sixteen days later the Americans captured the town and Cone walked out in his borrowed silk pajamas to flag down an American ambulance. The ambulance was on its way to the front and he had to ride with them for almost 20 hours before getting to a hospital.

Cone's mandibular fragments were in very poor position; two teeth with the bone were removed, and his remaining teeth wired. Tomorrow he leaves for a base hospital and then to the States for plastic surgery. He asked me if he'll ever fly again. Poor chap, I think not. But he has a wife and child to return to." p. 144

Flight Surgeon: With the 81st Fighter Group in WWII
(Macedon Publishing Co., Oklahoma 1999)
by Samuel T. Moore, MD with James Edwin Alexander

Last edited by Edward; 13th December 2018 at 17:15.
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