18 November 2010 | Frostproof, Florida, USA. This evening the Frostproof Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet. Guest speaker, Edward F. Logan, Jr., a former U.S. Air Corps Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress pilot, related his recollections of combat flying training in the area during 1944. Topics included accounts of two mishaps over Frostproof, his military flying and a narrowing escape from German troops in 1945.
Then Lt. Edward F. Logan, Jr., received a posting to nearby Avon Park Army Air Field, Florida, after completing Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress conversion at Sebring Field Army Air Field, Florida. As part of the curriculum, the novice crews flew day and night solo bombing missions. During these evening sorties the young men flew above the practice range.
On two occasions the inexperienced bombardiers evidently became confused and mistook lights in the city of Frostproof for the lighted markers of the bombing area. On the nights of August 21, 1944, and August 24, 1944, inert practice bombs impacted within the downtown area. According to the Frostproof Historical Society, on the first night an object impacted Mayor John Maxcy’s property. One or more additionally came to rest in adjacent orange groves. The second incident was a near miss of a resident. Evidently Mr. Bodow’s chair received a direct hit just after he had vacated it! Mr. Logan quoted his commanding officer in the aftermath. The officer told the assembled flyers, “Even though we are training for war, we are not at war with the city of Frostproof!” One wonders whether if this proclamation convinced Mayor Maxcy and Mr. Bodow?
Edward subsequently flew with the 15th Air Force, Fifth Wing, 483rd Bombardment Group, 817th Bombardment Squadron in Italy. His mortally damaged aircraft went down on its 34th mission. After the war he became an airline pilot and aviation administrator and now lives in Hendersonville, NC. The title of Mr. Logan’s engrossing book is Jump, Damn It, Jump!
The author (John T. Stemple) thanks Edward F. Logan, Jr., for his correspondence and cooperation.