Louis Avion

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by MitchellFrench
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
World War II

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Louis Avion

Army Air Force Bombardier

After graduating high school in 1939, I enrolled in flight school along with my brother. We attended the United States Army Air Force base at Lowry Field in Colorado. At the flight school, we first learned how to navigate and control a plane. Then we, learned how to calculate the trajectory of a bomb based on the wind, altitude, and other factors. Before we could try dropping bombs from a real plane, we used a simulator. The simulator was a cart on wheels that was elevated eighteen feet above the ground. Once we had experience with the simulators, we were finally ready to take flight. All students got to fly a Beech AT-11 plane. There were between two and three people in the plane at once. One student would operate the plane, while the other videotaped the session. As we flew over Lowry Field, there were sections marked off that resembled cities. We dropped sand-filled bombs onto these targets. After eighteen weeks, I had graduated at the top of my class as a distinguished student, and had received silver wings for my accomplishment. I was also granted the title second lieutenant. Shortly thereafter, I was relocated to Victorville, California to teach newer students at the Victorville Army Flying School. Meanwhile, my brother Jake was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, the base was bombed by Japan on December 7, 1941. After multiple attempts to contact Jake, I was later notified that he had died along with over two-thousand others. I was devastated, and in disbelief. However, the death of my brother fueled my desire to fight for my country, and to fight for him. Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, I was transferred to Dow Field, in Bangor, Maine. There, I was assigned to the 64th Bombardment Squadron. In this squadron, I was given missions in England to help hold Britain's defenses. I was also given missions in France, to help liberate them from German control. Most operations went well until I was assigned to the 8th Air force in 1943. During an attack on St. Nazaire, France, my plane was badly damaged during a bombing. This was due to a new tactic by the Nazis, in which they fired explosives into the air to take down bombers. I was forced to make a crash landing, where I suffered multiple injuries, including broken bones and minor burns. Luckily, I was rescued, and sent back to my home in Colorado. Although I felt that I done my part for the country, there was still emptiness inside me. The death of my brother, and the horrifying crash kept me awake at night. Although I was not the only soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder, there was nobody willing to help me through it. My injuries may have healed, but the psychological damage was everlasting.

I was born on July 17, 1921, along with my twin brother, Jake. I spent the first two years of my life in Chicago, Illinois, but my family moved constantly. After finally settling in Colorado Springs at the age of 8, I had grown to enjoy flying. From this point on, I knew I was going to grow up to be a pilot.

Louis Avion

(silver wings given for being a "distinguished student")

(patch of the Eiigth Air Force )

(a practice bombing in flight school)

(student bombardiers flying in a group)

Works Cited"American Experience: TV's Most-watched History Series." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014."Army Air Forces in World War II." Army Air Forces in World War II. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.Bombardier Training. YouTube. YouTube, 05 June 2012. Web. 7 Apr. 2014."Bombardier." YouTube. YouTube, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.Callander, Bruce D. "Bombardier." Airforcemag.com Homepage. Air Force Association, n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.Myers, Phil. "Alex Ranftle – A B-17 Bombardier’s Story during WWII." Military Aviation Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2014."National Geographic Education." Remembering Pearl Harbor: World War II Timeline -. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.


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