JOHN L. RHODES|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
P. O. Box 810
199 S. Custer Ave.
Tenino, WA 98589
January 18, 1999
I enjoyed seeing you again at our reunion in Savannah. I have enclosed a picture of No. 193 I along with some details about the naming of the ship. We first flew on I on June 22, 1944 which was our second mission. The ship was assigned to Herring permanently on July 16, our 11th mission. When we first looked over our plane, we found three lipstick kiss marks on the outside of the ship under the copilot's window. Some "Rosie the Riveter" had blessed the ship with her ruby reds so, naturally we named the ship, "Three Kisses for Luck." When our engineer, Frank Gerbe, showed up with his paints to decorate the ship with a beautiful wahini and "Three Kisses for Luck," the Master Sgt. W. J. Burress stopped him saying, "No one's going to paint anything on the side of MY ship. Every time you fly boys paint something on the side of one of my ships, it gets shot down."
So, we never painted No. 193I with our beautiful wahini. We had to settle for painting her on our flight jackets. That is why I was still bare at the end of the war.
John L. Rhodes
P.S. The reason Jim Holcomb was flying No. 193I was this was our next to last mission and we were all going to finish up on the 30th. However, before we got back to base, they raised the number to 35, so we flew five more "easy" missions.