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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Soviet Ilyushin 10 Heavy Attack Aircraft Pilot

I came from a family of 8 children. My mother gave birth to 16 but only 8 survived. We were poor...beyond poor and my father had to take whatever job he could to make ends meet. Sometimes he was a truck driver and sometimes he had to work in the dye-works at Petrograd. He preferred trucking fish from Ostashkov to Selinger carrying fish but he could not always do what he preferred.

My father fought in the Imperialist War of 1920 between the Whites and the Reds and froze in the trenches. After the war he came home sick in both heart, body and soul and died in 1925 at the age of 49. Before his demise he used family connections to obtain a tailoring position for my oldest brother Vasya. Vasya wanted to become a student but that was not in the cards although he did attend a few classes before he was swept up in the October Revolution. At sixteen years of age the former tailor' assistant proceeded to save the world and joined in a battle against the Cadets. He was horribly wounded and barely made it back to my Aunt's house.

My mother heard of Vasya wounds and quickly made her way to his bedside and nursed him back to health. Why do I tell you this and go into such detail about only one of my brothers? Because his perceived actions almost kept me from being a pilot and being a pilot is all that matters to me.

Defamation, slander! I remember my mother praying to the icons begging God for health and wisdom for all of us but always ending with "God save them from slander." Slander is what got you killed in the USSR faster than any kind of illness or war. It got you killed or imprisoned for years in the hell they called the gulag never to be seen again.

Back then in my childhood I did not understand the meaning of the word but now it was going to end my pilot's career before it even started. They were telling me that my brother was an enemy of the people...but my brother was the people!

But first I have to tell you how it got to this point. My childhood was fairly normal for a small town in Russia in the 1920-30s. We were far from the fighting that engulfed many parts of countryside. I was fortunate in that they opened a 7 year school in Novo Village and it just close enough for myself and six others from my village to attend. Every school day we walked 5 kilometers there and 5 kilometers back no matter what the weather. My friend and I where the only ones to make it to year 6. Along with our certificates of graduation we received recommendations for further study. I was recommended to Teaching school.

The papers were all calling for recent graduates to go to 5 - year - plan construction sites throughout the USSR and we wanted to be part of the great industrialization and modernization of the country. My brother came back from Moscow and told us about the Metro that was to be built throughout Moscow and I was hooked. I was going to be part of the effort.

Upon reaching the city I promptly look up the local Komsomol and boldly marched into the building and there upon lost my boldness. A man in the hall intercepted me as I was leaving and asked me what I was looking for. I regained my wits and mentioned the metro construction. After some consultation I was sent to the Metrostroy Construction School. At the Metrostroy they said they badly needed fitters. I had no idea what a fitter was but I became one anyway. Everyone was supposed to choose a job. That job was the one that was most needed. 15,000 Komsomol members ages 14 to 29 all working on the Metro project for the good of the country and the party. We lived in hostels and the city became a sea of barracks with a table in the middle and three rows of bunks.

In 1928 the Three Prelates church was demolished and No. 21 shaft was sunk. This was my work place. Up and down a thin shaft on a very skinny ladder. If one was going up and the other down you squeezed past each other sometimes stepping on each other's fingers. Straight down for hundreds of feet with only our small headlamps to light the way. Workers did not ride the elevator only materials going up and down. No wonder I would soon yearn for the wide open skies.

And my chance would soon appear.

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