Lead: With the world breathlessly awaiting the news, an American pilot peered into the mist and saw the object which two navies had been searching.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Leonard Smith was 26 years old, he was a farmer's son from Higgensville, Missouri. Since a boy he had always wanted to fly and in 1938 joined the Naval Reserve. When war broke out in Europe he was stationed near Seattle, flying Catalinas, the huge flying boats used for shore patrol. In 1941, Smith volunteered to go to England and teach British pilots how to fly the big flying boats. In May he joined 16 other volunteers who were loaned to British coastal command as special observers. Britain was at war at the time and Smith later said that it was the blind leading the blind. The British had plenty of operational flying but knew little about Catalinas. I knew something about Catalinas but no experience in operations.

 

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