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"You have a tendency to want to duck but you can’t duck because you have a job to do."

   Alfonso Bernard Perez
Collection image
Alfonso Bernard Perez, contemporary photo
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: 9th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Group
Service Location: China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
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Sharing his experiences with a classroom of special education students, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Alfonso Perez, who served throughout the China-Burma-India Theater in WWII, recalls his most difficult take-off: “We were all lined up. The first plane went to take off. He didn’t have the speed and exploded. On the next plane, apparently the pilot was nervous. He started putting on the brakes, and he exploded.” Perez recalls losing twenty of his friends while waiting to depart. “And then we were next to take off. And the pilot just decided we were going to make it all the way -- we were going to have full power. I remember that. Thanksgiving Day, 1943.”

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (48 min.)
»Photo Album  (3 photos)
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
9th Squadron assigned to a town near Calcutta; dropping bombs, attacked by Zeros; arriving in India and his first impressions; scheduled to fly 50 combat missions; fighting anti-aircraft fire; a bad Thanksgiving Day. (06:56) Dealing with nerves before a mission by joking; writing to his wife and mother in case he didn't come back from a mission and then not sending the letters; flying around India alone while on R&R to see the Taj Mahal and Kashmir. (03:44) Not knowing details of his missions until he was briefed; local boys who were their servants had their gear ready for them by the time they returned to their quarters; teaching these young Indians to play softball; sad parting with them. (01:54)

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  October 26, 2011
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