Freedom Fighters, Don Alfred - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters, Don Alfred

By Joan Hallmark

Don Alfred joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 at the age of 17. He flew 27 combat missions in World War Two, 25 of them before his 20th birthday.

Alfred says there were four times when he and the crew of his B-29 Bomber, were sure they wouldn't survive. The first came when his plane hit the water, still filled with incendiary bombs. The second narrow escape was on a bombing mission over Japan when his plane hit a fire thermal created by the explosions on the ground. The plane was flipped completely over with men and equipment tossed throughout the plane. The pilot was able to right the plane and make an emergency landing

Alfred's third brush with death came when a bomb hung up in the plane's bomb bay and had to be hand released, and the fourth narrow escape came when Alfred's plane was hit by lightening..

On August 6,1945, Alfred flew a mission that, while not his most dangerous one, would be his most historic flight. He was on the mission that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Ironically, none of the crews, except for that of the Enola Gay, knew about the atomic bomb until later.

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