Above the Thunder. Reminiscences of a Field Artillery Pilot by Raymond C. Kerns

By Raymond C. Kerns

An awesome memoir of an aviator's provider within the Pacific Theater — "If you are looking for macho, fighting-man speak, you could have picked up the inaccurate publication. . . . this is often simply a good narration of a few of my stories . . . in the course of my carrier within the U.S. military among 1940 and 1945." —Raymond C. Kerns — The son of a Kentucky tobacco farmer, Raymond Kerns dropped out of highschool after the 8th grade to aid at the farm. He enlisted within the military in 1940 and, after education as a radio operator within the artillery, used to be assigned to Schofield Barracks (Oahu) the place he witnessed the japanese assault on Pearl Harbor and took part within the resulting conflict. within the months prior to Pearl Harbor, Kerns had handed the Army's flight education admission examination with flying shades. yet simply because he lacked a highschool degree, the military refused to provide him flying classes. Undaunted, inner most Kerns took classes with a civilian flying tuition and used to be really scheduled for his first solo...

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On at least one occasion, during the invasion of France, a Cub could not find anywhere to land ashore and had to come back and ditch in the water beside its LST (the ship then tried to winch the airplane back aboard, but wrecked it in the attempt). 11 It was his first-ever takeoff from an LST, but his L-4 hopped into the air just fine, and with that worry out of the way he headed toward the beach, weaving among the landing craft and nervously remembering how other Cubs had been shot down by their own side in the earlier invasion of North Africa.

When he reached the shore, he climbed up to fifteen hundred feet amid all the invasion activity and roamed across the beachhead and beyond it, radioing what he saw happening below to the commanders of the landing forces on their flagship at sea and replying to their questions. He thus became their eyes in the sky that morning and enabled them to direct reinforcements to locations where they were needed most. When Cummings saw Allied troops on the beach being shelled by German defenses, he flew inland, spotted the enemy guns by their smoke and muzzle flashes, and called in naval gunfire that destroyed them.

The primary duties of an artillery pilot and his observer (if he took one along) were, first, to direct daily artillery fire on the enemy from their aerial observation posts (air OPs) and, second, to assist the ground forces in any way possible—and they found many ways. The armies of World War II maneuvered under the protection of massed artillery barrages, and to be effective, this cannon fire had to be delivered with the greatest possible precision. Although the infantry always had artillery forward observers on the ground with it for this purpose, the air observation posts proved to be so much more effective, because of their wide aerial view of things, that the aircraft ended up doing most of the artillery fire direction work.

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