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EXCERPT: “Jump, Damn It, Jump!” Memoir of a Downed B-17 Pilot in World War II


On March 9, 1945, during his 34th combat mission, Lt. Edward F. Logan, Jr.,flew his B-17 against Bruck and Graz, Austria. Bracketed by intense flak, his bomber took devastating shrapnel damage just after bombs away over Graz, sending the plane into a tight, diving leftward spin. Extensive training and his level-headed demeanor allowed Logan to recover the aircraft only to find both engines on the left wing knocked out, along with damage to the number four engine on the right and the complete loss of many controls. With his crew’s survival of foremost concern, Logan shepherded the plane to partisan-controlled territory in Slovenia where his enlisted men successfully bailed out, and he planned to crash-land only after his navigator, bombardier and co-pilot had escaped as well:

“I explained to them that it would be easier and safer for them if I crash-landed the airplane alone, and that I could easily accomplish this maneuver by myself. But they replied, “We will not leave. We’re not leaving you alone in this predicament.” Time and altitude were running out while this worthy but time-consuming conversation was taking place. All three of them knew only too well that their safety and perhaps even their lives hinged on all of them getting out of the airplane quickly. I appreciated their sympathetic words, but I could not let them lose their chance to jump safely. I grasped the control yoke more firmly in my left hand and rapidly pulled my Colt 45 automatic from my chest holster with my right hand. I pointed it overhead of the cockpit and said to them in a firm voice: “If you three don’t jump from this airplane immediately, I will shoot all three of you! Jump, damn it, jump!!!”

Logan’s complete story, including his survival in enemy territory, is recounted in full in his excellent memoir.  Excerpted from “Jump, Damn It, Jump!” Memoir of a Downed B-17 Pilot in World War II by Edward F. Logan, Jr.,  Transportation Catalog p. 21.  Click here to order the book and click here to view the transportation catalog.  Through August 1, 2015, get 30% off your order of two or more transportation books.  Use coupon code TRANSPORTATION on the McFarland website, or call toll-free 800-253-2187(Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 4:30pm Eastern Time) to order and ask your customer service representative for your discount.