Red Tails

by Bob Hazlett

Jimmy pulled his hat low over his face as the jeep stopped to pick him up. He wanted to hide his messed up face. A bar fight with one of the local Brits had left him with a lot of scars and probably a broken nose. His secret was safe in the pre-dawn darkness.
Jimmy, a boy of the depression, had grown up tough, on the bad side of a southern town. He always wanted a fight. He eagerly accepted when the White Knights offered him membership. He joyfully participated in their ‘sport’.
The prospect of killing Nazis enticed him to join up, and he became a B-17 bombardier flying missions over Germany.
Today, like every day, his aircraft named Brass Hat, would rain terror on the ‘Fatherland’.
Right on time, German fighters, Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, appeared out of the sun and the daily ritual of exchanged death and destruction began. From his seat in the nose of the aircraft, Jimmy’s job was to put the bombs on target.
All of a sudden, from behind, a flight of P-51 Mustangs appeared and tore into the flight of Fw190s. Jimmy had never seen these airplanes before and was surprised at their red tail markings and the ferocity of their attack.
Suddenly, an Fw190 appeared directly ahead, coming straight at them. From underneath Brass Hat, a P-51 emerged, flying at the same speed and direction. The two aircraft hung together in space for a second. The fighter pilot looked up at Jimmy, gave a broad smile, then hit the throttle and trigger dispatching the incoming Fw190. Jimmy was in total shock.
“Who are those guys!” Jimmy screamed. “Red Tails from the 332nd Fighter Group,” the pilot replied.
Never again, thought Jimmy. Today had changed his life.

###

Prompt: hat, nose, job.   Word Count: 294

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