This is Grandpop Bliss' story. He is the fourth one from the left of kneeling heroes. Thanks to Joe Bliss for sharing his research about the B-24's missions. Grandpop was the kindest, gentlest soul you could ever meet. He talked about his tailgunner days rarely, but when he did, his voice was reverent. Grandpop loved the men who served with him. They were family, like brothers. My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting one of his WWII family members, Don Catherman, another sweet, gentle soul. I did not get a chance to speak at length with Don. My girls were toddlers at the time, and Don had an elaborate Christmas village that he kept on display throughout the entire year. They were so excited to see that village! Meeting Don was my husband's moment so I ushered the boys outside, offered to make iced tea and prayed the girls would not break anything.
You cannot see the complete picture, but there's a picture of a donkey's ass carrying two heavy sacks, hence the name Mi Akin Ass. After 32 weeks of basic training, B-24's crew flew their Akin Ass to some exotic locales such as
The B-24 was a heavy plane weighing at 41,000 pounds. The tailgunner position was a very cramped one, located at the very back of the plane. Grandpop was not able to stand or fully extend his arms. The cabin of the B-24 was not pressurized, and the crew had to wear ill-fitting rubber oxygen masks for hours at a time. Grandpop used to say, "now and then because of the high-altitude cold, I would take off the mask and bang it against the plane to shake off the ice that would form on it." The crew were instructed to use and dismantle the guns wearing gloves because if not their flesh would stick to the cold metal. The temperature would range from 20-30 degrees below zero. The B-24 would fly 5 to 10 hour missions with 6 of those hours directly over enemy territory.