Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.
To the Azores, pp. 11-12 PDF (471.8 KB)
To the Azores At midnight we took off for our first over-water hop of 81½2 hours, flying to Santa Maria in the historic Azores. We practiced adjusting our Mae West belts which are self-inflating by means of a cartridge similar to the Sparklet used in charged water bottles. On our plane were seven good-looking young Lieutenants who had just come from Okinawa and were enroute to a deployment centre in France to instruct our G.I.s in Europe on Pacific war- fare. These boys were decorated with the Purple Heart and various ribbons for meritorious action under fire. It was a perfect moonlight night, the air was calm, and the sea was mirrorlike. Indeed, the ride to the Azores at 7,000 feet was more comfortable than a Super-Chief ride across America. Near the end of this 8½/2 hour flight, we sighted Ponta Delgada. It is about 8 a.m. E.W.T. and approximately noon Sunday, Azores time. The beautiful sunshine lit the lovely farms of the Azores beneath us. I wished that I could be put down to spend a few days in the charming environment. There are three main islands in the Azores; we deplaned at Santa Maria, an island 150 miles from Ponta Delgada, and were met by a Lieutenant, a Belgian by birth; he heard last spring his parents had been killed by rocket bombs. Again we were treated royally: at each stop a Lieutenant or a Captain would come aboard the plane and call for Messrs. Hanes and Berlin. We were the first passengers to deplane and were taken immediately to the officers' quarters where we were served good meals. The War Department had seen to it that we were properly cared for. Santa Maria has a beautiful airport built by Pan-American engineers. We were told that the British had refused to let Americans land at Ponta Delgada, therefore the Santa Maria airport was constructed by our people and will no doubt in the future be used as a Pan American base. 11
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