View Full Version : I just interviewed an A20 pilot

02-08-2007, 06:22 AM
I am the Senior Vice Commander of my American Legion post and interviewed one of my members. His name is Elmer Friedberg, a retired Air Force Brigadier General. He will be 90 this month. He had finished his flight school on December 6,1941 and then proceeded to go through bombardier school and gunnery school as well which I thought was pretty neat for him being an officer. He did not see action until around D-Day where he flew over a dozen missions. He was in Headquarters and therefore had to "borrow" an A20 every time he went out which did not make the other pilots happy. They just wanted to fly their missions and go back home to the states and whenever he would take one of their planes that was one less mission under their belts. In one of his missions his plane was shot up pretty badly and one of his engines was inoperable and had to crash land, successfully, back in England. He has photos of his pancaked A20. I taped the whole interview on my camcorder but I do not have a firewire to put it on my PC. As soon as I can I will upload the interview for all to see. He has very many interesting things to say about the war. I would like to go back and talk more about the A20.
In the near future I am hoping to take my PC over to his house and let him see Il2 and the A20 and see what he thinks of it.

02-08-2007, 07:46 AM
Great, look forward to it. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

02-08-2007, 08:27 AM
cool http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

02-08-2007, 09:17 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif Please hurry he is 90 http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif
Our younger generations are loosing this info so fast now days, any chance to grab whats left is paramount in deed.

02-08-2007, 09:42 AM
Verrra verrra cool Sir http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif The Havoc has always been one of my favorites so I'm eagerly waiting for this... S!

02-08-2007, 11:03 AM
One more thing I would like to add right now. He was awarded the DFC for going into the bomb bay after one of the bombs would not release and physically pried it loose to release it over the target! I cannot wait to get this interview into a format that I can upload.
I understand that these WW2 vets are passing away at an alarming rate which is why myself and my Jr. Vice Commander, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, are going around and filming other WW2 vets stories as well so that they will be preserved forever. After all of our WW2 vets stories are filmed we will move on to Korea, Vietnam and so on. We are striving to have, eventually, a complete video library of all of our combat vets stories (at least in our area), to include my own which will be way down the line by the time we get to me. Our next one will be of a fellow who fought at the Battle of the Bulge. After we are finished with his we are doing my grandfather's story about his experiences on Iwo Jima.

02-08-2007, 12:13 PM
Good luck, and a bit of advice - publish it on the fixed site, not on the forum...

02-08-2007, 12:53 PM

Sounds great, will look forward to reading it. Thanks for posting.

In my line of work, I have had the opportunity to speak with many WW2 pilots. Always fascinating and one of the "perks" of being an Ophthamologist who treats the elderly. I will be a sad day when they have all passed on. You are wise o record what you can now.


02-08-2007, 12:56 PM
Great stories and good job, thanks for doing this -- I think it is important that we capture as much of our history in this way as possible.

My grandfather was in the USAAF at the tail-end of WWII but did not see any combat (his older brothers did though, one in the Army and one in the Navy). A few weeks ago I was flying in PF when he called me to say Hi so I paused the game and we started BSing. Since I had WWII on the mind I asked him what planes he got to fly in and one of them was the A20, but it was after wartime. A family member was sick in Louisiana and he was, at the time, stationed in Denver, but they had a system where if you needed an 'emergency ride' anywhere, all you had to do was ask and they'd try to get you on a plane that would be flying that way, so he got lucky in that they were moving some A20s from Denver to a base in Louisiana that afternoon.

Funny side note: he said you had to pay $1.00 as a 'deposit' on your parachute before getting on the plane. The supply guy said, "Don't worry, if it doesn't work, we'll refund your money." My grandfather said he gave the guy the typical response that everyone else gave which was, "F-you." heh.

Anywho, he had to man one of the gunner positions (didn't find out if it was top or bottom) for the whole flight. He talked about how cramped it was in the plane and how incredibly cold it was. He said they went from freezing temperatures to 80+ wearing their heavy flight gear to stay warm and that as soon as they landed, they were all stripping their flight gear off as they were sweating like crazy.

I told him I was flying a Zero at the time and he immediately went into how fragile they were, that they were prone to catching fire due to the unprotected fuel tanks (all things I'd learned via playing, so it was great to hear him talking about this stuff). He also started talking about the P-47, "that ole Thunderbolt was a plane, boy, let me tell ya." Well, I happen to love the P-47, so to hear my grandfather praise it moved it up to god-like status in my mind, heh. I told him, "Yeah, I love The Jug," and he said, "Yeah, the Jug, that's what they called it. That plane was big as hell, but she could fly like nobody's business."

Anywho, I'm rambling, but you mentioned A20 and it reminded me of that conversation and so I thought I'd share.

Definately let us know about those vids and thanks again for putting in the work to make them.

02-08-2007, 03:36 PM
Nice !

i look forward to read it , would be really interesting , thanks for sharing http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

02-08-2007, 06:52 PM
Great man. A few mos ago i posted a transcript I did with my nieghbor who served as a 40mm gunner on the CVE Sagamon from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. You may want to consider transcribing it if you have time and posting that on the forum. I illustrated mine with photos i got from the naval archives availible on the navy web site.

02-08-2007, 09:07 PM
I am eagerly awaiting this interview!