A Sad Day for Two German ME-262 Jets

This is the story of my mission on 2 March 1945, when I shot down the German jet ME-262. This was a morning mission so the first notice that you would get was a flashlight beam on your face about 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. "Hey Delgado, get up, let's go." You also got a firm hand shake on your shoulder to make sure you'd get up. Then it's brush your teeth, shave, breakfast and away you go to the Parachute/Operations Tent. Here you got your charts, your A/C (aircraft) number and position, a ride to the flight line and everyone was dropped off at his A/C. Oh yes, the briefing, short and sweet. Watch the leader start his engine, and then you started yours, and followed him. After take off, all A/C joined up and started climbing to altitude. Then it's on your way to the first target. We always carried 2x500 lbs. of bombs and occasionally napalm. I only aborted once in 62 missions.

Our missions were all different. Heavy flak at low altitude and at high altitude you got the 88's. Big black ugly stuff you knew it was coming because you could hear cracking and scratching noises on your headphones. We would attack anything that moved: trains and convoys. All this time you were tense, from the time you got into your A/C until you heard the flight leader say: "OK, boys, let's go home". This was a typical mission on that day. On our way back to our base I spotted 8 ME-262's taxiing out for takeoff. I called Capt. Peters, my flight leader, and told him what I had seen. He spotted them and said "Let's go". He made some sharp diving turns - I didn't know what he was doing or where he was going. All I knew was that when we leveled off, we were about 50 ft. over the end of a German airfield with 4 jets in front of us taking off. Two of the jets turned left and the two others kept on going straight. Capt. Peters started shooting at the leader and getting hits. The other jet started turning right and I followed him. He was in a climbing right turn so I pulled up my nose to give him lead to shoot him down. I lowered my nose - no hits - then I raised my nose again for a lead, a long burst, lowered my nose again - no hits. The ME-262 leveled out and continued climbing. In the meantime, in one of those turns I said to myself "Hell I better get this guy before he gets me". Well, when he leveled and was going straight up, I knew he was mine. I started getting hits into his left wing and cockpit area, then smoke started coming out and his canopy flew by my right. Then I saw him climb out on the right side and bail out. All this time seemed to be in slow motion. His chute opened and I kept on looking at him. Meanwhile his aircraft turned over on its back and when I turned around to look forward, I saw a big belly with wings and 2 big German crosses on each side. I pulled back on my stick and missed him - close call. I circled and spotted the two burning jets on the ground. I joined up with my leader for the rest of the flight and again we headed for home.

The greatest joy a fighter pilot can have in his life is to land safely, taxi back to his parking area and point up to his crew chief to indicate how many enemy planes he shot down. The crew chief goes a little nuts knowing that his aircraft shot down an enemy plane.

The moral of this story is: I shot down my ME-262 German jet the old fashioned way - "taking off and with bullets". Also, I would like to add that anytime I saw German planes in the air or on the ground I got a piece of them but that's another story.