It’s funny how the memory well can run dry, and then something comes along and primes the pump and there’s one story after another waiting to spill out of you. This one, like yesterday’s, is not my own, but told to me by the man to whom it happened. Another Marine captain, an instructor in the TA-4J training squadron in Meridian, Mississippi. Had a livid scar across his eyebrow, a white line that ran from atop his brow half way to his right ear.
I often wondered how he got it. One day, without prompting, he told me.
It was a night bombing hop out of Cubi Point Naval Air Station, south of Olongapo in the Philipines. He was dash-2 on a dark and drizzling night – a night maybe, where wisdom might have called for discretion as the better part of valor, but that was not our culture in those days. We didn’t scrub for darkness, and we didn’t scrub for weather if there was any way around it. Only non-hacks cancelled. They were Marine attack pilots. They were going flying.[…]