02/08/18 3:56pm
ANNETTE HINKLE PHOTO | Army veteran James Colligan, and former Marines Michael (Zack) Mundy and Tom Spotteck rehearse for The Telling Project, which will be offered at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater on February 16.

ANNETTE HINKLE PHOTO | Army veteran Jim Colligan, and former Marines Michael (Zack) Mundy and Tom Spotteck rehearse for The Telling Project, which will be offered at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater on February 16.

(This is Part I of a two-part series and ran in the February 8, 2018 edition of the Reporter.  The second installment will appear in the February 15, 2018 edition.)

The stories of the men and women who deploy with the military are as varied as the individuals themselves and the conflicts in which they serve.

But often the issues and intricacies of military life are not something that people outside the armed services can easily understand. Enter The Telling Project, a national non-profit organization that brings the experience of veterans to the stage in order to deepen civilian understanding of the military and its personnel. Since 2014, the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund (JJTMF), which was created in honor of 1st Lt. Theinert after he was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010, has been partnering with The Telling Project to put local veterans and Gold Star family members in front of East End audiences to share their stories. (more…)

03/08/12 9:49am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Howard Jackson in a 2008 'On the Street' interview shot.

American Legion Post Commander Mark Loriz alerted the Reporter recently to a book, “The Bomber War” by Robin Neillands, published in 2001, that extensively quotes from an interview with Islander Howard Jackson, who served in World War II as a bombardier with the USAAF 454th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force flying missions over Germany.

“A good description of what stress the aircrews were under comes from Howard Jackson,” the author writes before a long extract from his interview with Mr. Jackson.

Here are highlights:

The Operations Board listed me as a bombardier, and my first task on missions was arming the bombs. Each bomb had a front and a rear fuse secured by arming wires; when the bomb was released, the arming wire would leave the fuses and the bomb would be alive. That could only happen when the bombardier first removed the safety pins. This required the bombardier to leave his position in the nose, strap on a portable oxygen tank, and crawl back to the bomb bay. None of the aircraft were pressurized, and we went on oxygen at around 10,000 feet. The passage to the bomb bay was tight, so your parachute had to be left behind …

It was usually easy to remove the pins with a pair of pliers — at least if the aircraft was steady, but that was rarely the case. On the larger bombs, the process took some 15 minutes …

On occasion, a bomb would fall from an aircraft up above and crash through the fuselage; then only the action of an alert member, who had to grab it and throw it overboard, prevented a major problem …

The terror starts on the night before the mission. This should not be confused with fear. Fear is when you have to ask a girl to dance who might say no, or when waiting in class to be asked a question you do not know how to answer. Terror is anxiety, dreams, rationalization of excuses not to fly, headaches, loose bowels, shaking and silence. No one ever discussed these conditions, so they were not acknowledged …

Mr. Howard was 19 at the time.