Coming Monday, this week's salute to local veterans...
BAZETTA Thomas Palmer Jr., 87, and his buddies said if they ever got shot down or had to bail their B-24s, they'd never leave the airplane but ride down with it.
He said those were things the crew often considered if under attack because they heard the enemy was so brutal and had an unfair advantage.
The World War II veteran said he remembers the day that happened to one of his friends. He kept his word and stayed with the plane. And though there were times Palmer came close to having to make the decision to bail or stay, it always seemed like a catch-22.
Palmer was lucky enough to escape the war without harm, regardless of the many combat missions, but he wasn't fortunate enough to say he never had to think on his feet back to that conversation with his friends.
Palmer enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Oct. 13, 1943, at the age of 17. Though they wouldn't accept him until he was 18, he entered into active service on Jan. 16, 1944.
"I felt it was my duty to get in the service. I never regretted it," he said.
Read Palmer's story in the Monday Tribune Chronicle.