air corps

By Sgt. Ray Duncan

You’ve heard of the Army Air Forces, of course, but someday soon you may not. In China, according to an Associated Press dispatch, the Fourteenth Air Force has banned all publicity about its flyers. Aces in the future will remain unknown.

This is a sudden and startling about-face, and if it spreads throughout the Air Forces we’ll see some very strange things.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen,” beams the radio announcer, “here’s our guest of honor for tonight, heroic Him Gifford, a private in the glamorous United States Army Infantry!”

While the studio audience applauds, Jim Gifford grins and fingers the script. In the back of the room a nervous lieutenant paces the floor.

“Now tell the great radio audience, Dick, about your famous 30-mile forced march in Louisiana!”

“Well, gee, it was nothing really. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, like this. That’s the whole secret of the thing!”

“Modest, I see, like all heroes! Now tell us, Dick, what did you think about during this historic hike?”

“Well,” says Dick, consulting his script. “I was thinkin’ about my swell GI shoes that the Army provides me with, and—“

The lieutenant at the back of the room is able to stand it no longer. He runs down the aisle and onto the stage shouting:

“Stop it! Stop! Don’t you folks remember me? I’m Lt. Basil Flasher of the Army Air Corps!”

Everyone gasps, and several angry people shout, “Zip your lip, lieutenant!” but he grips the microphone and cries hysterically:

“I used to be on all the broadcasts! I used to hold out my hands, like this, to imitate a plane in flight. I always used to say, ‘Well, I was flying’ a level course when he dove at me from about 9 o’clock so I flipped over and let him have a burst.’ And the plane-motor sound effects, and the whistle and thud of bombs. Remember those good old programs? And—“

Civilians and MPs try to tear him away from the microphone. “Stop, you fool,” cries the announcer. “Do you realize what you’re saying?”

“Band leader,” screams Lt. Flasher, “Band leader, play the Army Air Corps song! I want to hear it just once again!”

“We’ve forgotten that tune,” snorts the band leader. “Besides it’s been banned from the air!”

At least they overpower him. As they carry him struggling from the stage he keeps shrieking, “Off we go, into the wild blue yonder.”

Strange things, will happen in Britain, when the Air Force secrecy plan reaches there. Let’s say we’re in a London pub, the Wolf’s Head Tavern, a favorite spot for American air forces clark gable

“I say, old chap, may I buy you a drink?” says a British civilian to an American captain, a handsome fellow with deep dimples and large ears.

“Jolly, isn’t it?” continues the Britisher as they drink. “Oh, I say, why were you wearing a mask when you came in here? And why have you no shoulder patch or insignia? What branch of the service are you in?”

The captain stares down at his drink, and the little muscles in his jaw twitch rapidly. “Look, fellah, let’s just say I’m in the Army, see, and let it go at that.”

A beautiful woman sidles up to the handsome American captain. “Well,” she smiles, “I could go for you! What’s your name?”

“Beat it, sister,” he snaps. “You’re too inquisitive!”

A news photographer sneaks into the room carrying a camouflaged flash camera. Instantly the American captain goes into action. He seizes a bottle and flings it at the light. When the room is plunged into darkness he leaps on the bar.

“Nobody makes a move!” he snarls. A lock of black hair falling down over his forehead. And an instant later he flings himself through a plate-glass window to the safety of the street. His fleeing footsteps echo along the cobblestones.

Two men in a dark corner rise and exchange glances. One scribbles on a piece of paper. The other takes it and vanishes out a side door.

And a few minutes later a coded message is on its way to Berlin: “An American captain, believed to be a member of the highly secret U.S. Army Air Forces, was glimpsed in the Wolf’s Head Tavern tonight. This man might possibly be the former screen star Clark Gable, whose movements long have been shrouded in mystery.”

For More Reading Check Out:

Clark Gable – The Signature Collection

The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45

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