At about 1.30 we got word to standby, that there might be something doing. My throat went dry as a bone and I couldn't swallow. At the time, my stomach heaved and I could taste sour bile in my mouth.
All this time I was running to my plane getting in, starting up. I taxied out. It was not until I was at 5,000 feet that I settled down. I was stretching my neck trying to look in all directions at once, when I heard Morehead’s voice, calling his flight. Very calm and distinct. Just like in practice.
“Enemy bombers, three o'clock high.”
Pretty soon we were closing, and above and behind him passing over the right side into the sun, I noticed there were several stragglers and one had a long stream of white smoke trailing back. As I watched his right wing burst into flame, crumpled off, he went into a flaming spin and crashed into the ocean. The flame was beautiful, rich, red orange. The smoke was black.
By this time we were on the right side of the formation and about 2,000 feet above them. We started edging in towards the bombers. I went into my dive and started firing from a pretty good way back. I had to pull in behind 'em and I swept the whole fuselage from tail to nose, and across the right engine. I pulled away, watched him burn and crash into the sea.
I heard a "thud, thud, thud" and imagined I felt the plane jump. I pushed the nose down and I looked over my shoulder and I saw zero about seven or eight hundred feet back, right at my tail. I headed straight down and was almost immediately in a 500 mile per hour vertical dive. I held it there for a few seconds, glanced around and started easing out.
I landed with about 15 gallons of gas. When I got out I found three small calibre bullet holes in my plane. One in each wing and one in the left elevator.
Final score for the eighth that day was: eight bombers and three zeros. There was some real excitement around there that afternoon. They brought us some sandwiches and iced tea, and I realised how much I needed it.