Summit Daily letters: The rest of the story from Boot’s mouth |

Summit Daily letters: The rest of the story from Boot’s mouth

And now for the rest of the story

Re: Summit Daily News Nov. 11 article, “Tough as Boot.”

Thanks for the complimentary article.

My daughter saw all the blue Summit Daily boxes with her dad looking out the windows and laughingly served me breakfast in bed (a first.)

The rest of the story: After arguing with my guardian angel (how dumb can you get?), I pulled the rip cord again and the parachute opened. Now going 130 mph. That’s one mile in 30 seconds. At 500 feet I was three seconds from splat down.

I argued once more on a mission to the Japanese oil fields in Borneo. But never again. (My life has been saved seven times since only because I listened.)

Our P-38 flight had become separated. Finally we noticed our flight leader and his wing man on the deck going through a hole in the overcast. My element leader “split S’ed” at 30,000 feet (dumb!) I pulled my throttles, dropped my dive flaps but to keep on his wing, brought up my dive flaps, added throttle and hit the speed of sound two years before Chuck Yeager.

My voice said, “Trim it!” “That won’t do any good,” I replied, “I don’t have any control.” All my controls were like feathers and I had reached up to release my canopy. (If I had, at that speed, I would have hit the tail and been shark bait in ten seconds.) “Trim it!” repeated the “voice.” So I did. And I noticed the nose of my P-38 rising a bit from the vertical. So I didn’t “bail.” 660 mph is about 10 miles a minute. We were now at 20,000 thus about 24 seconds from “splash down.” That was the longest 24 seconds in my life.

Boot’s advice: Take time to smell the flowers and to listen. If you don’t, you won’t …

Boot Gordon


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