The great chase

The great chase

Cynthia Mao

Richard Kuhlman flew for the Air Force during WWII. Photo by Cynthia Mao.

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Richard Kuhlman was a lead navigating pilot in the Air Force for three and a half years during WWII. In that time, he flew 56 missions when others went home after 50. He flew planes that hauled personnel, dropped paratroopers and pulled gliders behind enemy lines.

“One night, we had a long-distance flight to drop some paratroopers, and [when] we came back, some German 107s started chasing us. We were flying DC3s, which don’t tend to have any armament … All we did was haul personnel … and this [German] guy came down at us, dove and shot, and missed on one side of the plane. He missed, made a loop turn and was behind us again. Then this time, he shot and was too far [to the left] … I couldn’t do much more, so we dove down. We dove down to as low as we could get … we just stayed down there, [but] he couldn’t pull up in time, and he crashed … [He] came down, and … was trying to pull up, but went right into the ground. He had it coming.”