Robbie survived a horrific plane crash in the Pacific during WWII. Here’s an excerpt from his chapter “Wings of Gold.”
Robbie took off from his ship, the U.S.S Manila Bay with a full payload of bombs. The crew didn’t spot any enemy activity and at dusk they headed back to the ship.
The weight of the explosives made an already tricky landing more difficult. As they made their approach, Robbie knew they were in trouble. “Without warning the plane lurched and trembled. Like a goose hit in the wing by a volley of shot we plummeted into the Pacific with terrifying finality.”
The plane smashed into the water, shattering on impact. Cascades of water tossed him about like limp seaweed. Blown from the aircraft and barely conscious, he tripped the release on one side of his May West lifejacket, and it partially inflated, supporting his head.
He was plucked from the sea by the crew of a nearby destroyer. Later that night he learned that his radioman, George Driesback Jr., and his gunner, Harold Eckert, had been killed on impact. “They never had a chance,” he said. “They were in the belly of the plane.”
RIP Robbie Robinson. Thank you for your service and for sharing your story with me.