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71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion WWII

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What they said:

Capt. Everett Wilcox’s comments on Lt. Francies:

     “Francies could fly every plane the Army had when he came to the 71st, he was an excellent pilot,” Wilcox said. The best pilot I ever saw. I flew with him on a number of occasions, but later on I deferred to the Liaisons. I was happier on the ground. Francies would fly under bridges and really close to things. One time while going back with him to find some survey equipment left behind, I remember he turned the wings perpendicular to the ground for quite a ways, very close to the ground, to get a better view. It was quite an exciting ride and we did find the equipment.”

      “A plane for Lt. Francies was being assembled inside a fence. The men putting it together said that it should be taken apart to get it out of the fence, but Francies told them to hold back on the end while he revved the engine, and to let go when he gave the signal.  He gave the signal, they let go, and the plane went straight up and over the fence.”

      “Another time, during a flight, the strut that braced the wing was bent, to the point that when on the ground the wing almost touched the ground. Francies wanted to go back up for another flight," but I said, "I'll go back in the truck.”

 

 

 Lt. Paul McWain’s comments on Lt. Francies:

     “I also can relate to a few adventures while in the plane with Francies. There was the time he took the plane to its maximum height, then dove at the same speed and took it into a loop, at the top of which, all the things that were loose in the plane fell on our heads.”

     “Often we would chase cattle through fences," McWain recalled. Then there was the time when a lady was hanging up her washing in her yard and as we passed over I heard a loud noise and I ,foolishly asked, what was that? Francies replied, “Oh , that was her wash line.”

      “He tried to get me to jump out with a parachute. I was just young enough to give this a second thought.   Yeah, flying with Francies was quite an experience.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 November 2009 19:50  

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