Kurihama waits his turn. The wind whips about them still today, and the taste of salt is in the air. His kate rumbles, the ground crewman still in the cockpit, the chocks still in place.
His rear gunner, navigator stand patiently behind him, backs to the wind.
"What is the delay?" Kurihama barks -bloody useless servicemen -all day to get her ready..............
'Hara says he say a drop on the left magneto -please wait" the crew chief reports, face anxious -keen to avoid the cut of Kurihama's tongue
The beast suddenly bellows -straining at the shocks -it does not falter.
'That will do Chief -lets be off "
Across to her, a quick survey, and up onto the wing, and the deposit of the essentials. Map board, flight log, binoculars, a water flask, a small wrapped bundle -lunch-each item finding its own special little niche.
Arrange the belts, and , haul the leg up and over, and in, finding the pedals, and hands helping to bring the straps over the shoulders -the calm here out of the breeze, and the mind racing ahead, checking, checking.
'Are we secured?'
Two brief affirmatives from behind
he grunts -good. A last look, the walk the stick around the world -so familiar to every pilot that has ever been, will ever be- flaps -out, trim, thus -another check of the stick, and goggles down.
And Kurihama takes his turn, trusting in the engine, the men that prepare the engine, and, of course -that prig of a mechanic Hara.
But this -I suppose, is what flying really is -trusting in so many things, and people.
toady the trust is justified, and soon they are climbing steadily out across the great blue - still settling in when the observer barks
'CONTACT- SUBMARINE BEARING 090! -range 1000 yards!
the mind automatically registers, calcuklates, adjudicates, and even as the call comes in -stick is slamming over, and the right leg pushes hard, hard against the iron of the bar -hard on the arch, hard as iron, and his head is swivelling looking, straining over the right shoulder -looking straight down the wing, and the shock hits hard -there IT is! -a conning tower -unmistakable -the long feather of wake trailing behind..
At a 40 degrees bank -as steep as he dares haul thei bird about, he comes about -balancing between stall and turn, top ruderring, top ruddering - eyes fixed on the tower -a tower slipping under the blue........
'Anti submarine action! -prepare to attack!"
Nose down, full throttle - range closing, closing -but even now obviously too late -the submarine too quick---------and the ocean is undisturbed again.....
They report, circle, and circle again
Task force swift eagle alters course away, and within two hours the threat is well astern......
Patrols will be increased. It is obvious that nowhere in this ocean can one assume that one is safe from the sharks lurking below.