19th Bombardment Group Stories - Capt Norris N. Friedman

19th Bombardment Group Stories - Capt Norris N. Friedman

This account of the experiences of Capt. Morris N. Friedman originally accompanied a series of paintings by Pfc Ernest Berkowitz, who painted a series of pictures of the aircraft and men of the 19th Bombardment Group while they were all based at Dyersburg Air Force Base, Tennessee, after their exploits in the Far East. Although we don't have the paintings, the stories themselves are still of great interest. Berkowitz later went on to become succesful artist under the name Ernest Berke, mainly producing paintings of Native Americans and their horses.

Many thanks to Dennis Gagomiros for sending us these documents.

Capt. Morris N. Friedman of Grand Forks, North Dakota, sat for this portrait as though he had a fire to go to--or possibly he was sitting on a pin cushion.. He is calm and steady of nerve and body most times, but the fires of hell burn in his eyes when he is angry or must do something in a great hurry.

Perhaps the most nervewracking chore a bomber pilot must endure is the holding of that hairline course during a bomb run, while a wolfpack of enemy planes buzz 'round like angry bees and deadly flak blossoms on all sides. While a gunner can find release from strain and pentup anger by returning bursts of lead at the enemy, the pilot must wait until crackling through the interphone comes the bombardier's voice - "Bombs away, lets get the h--l out of here". It is then and only then that he may shove his throttles and superchargers as far as they'll go, bank the ponderous plane around and head for home.

For a short time Capt. Friedman sat for this portrait tranquilly and without restraint, but when questioned as to his experiences he began to fidget and show signs of wanting to get up and leave. "I only went on missions, that's all" is his standard stook answer to questioning concerning his battle record. However, "missions, that's all" has earned for him the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star and several citations for partidpation in major battles.

He is now the commanding officer of the 503rd Squadron, based here at Dyersburg Army Air Base and his is the duty to care for and train the bomber crews of his command. To that is added the duty of instructor pilot and he has been seen to handle a Flying Fortress as easily as one would fly a Piper Cub.

His ability to hold his nerves in check and to remain calm under fire; his instantanious decisions in tight spots; have earned for him the reputation of being a "terrific pilot."

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 February 2021), 19th Bombardment Group Stories - Capt Norris N. Friedman , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_19th_BG_story_04.html

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