Nanchung, China to Sherman, Texas -- You Just Never Know

By Hank Snow, fighter pilot, 528th Fighter Squadron

I was on duty in a place called Nanchung. The town was walled and the streets so narrow that you dare not hang your arm out the window. There were periods of weeks when we didn’t fly because of a shortage of gasoline. One night when the first alert sounded, we proceeded to our designated slit trench for cover. It was cold so after waiting about 45 minutes we went back to our room and had just gotten to sleep when bombs started exploding. Now there were two streakers enroute to the slit trench where we nearly froze to death but survived the bombings by 12 Japanese Betty bombers. Each bomber made one pass and dropped its load of bombs.

Fourteen years later I was commanding the 3556th Combat Crew Training Squadron teaching all-weather interceptor tactics in F-86D jet aircraft. One of the students assigned was a Japanese Lt. Col. from the Japanese Self Defense Forces in Japan. We were at the bar one evening having pleasant conversation. I told him the story of the bombing run that night in Nanchung. He asked me to pin down the exact date, and when I did he gasped and said, "that was me bombing you!" I told him there wasn’t much chance for him to pass the course. Turns out we became friends and he passed with flying colors!