By Ken Cluff
Jul 29, 2014

“Just One Good Turn”

Good Turns vary with every situation. The important thing is to keep forever the Good Turn idea in all of your own thinking and planning, giving it definite place and time. Just do something to help the other person, and the joy of the service well done will be your own reward.

Bendiner was the navigator

Bendiner was the navigator of this B-17 WW II bomber, second from the left on the back row.

Elmer Bendiner was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II. He tells this story of a World War II bombing run over Kassel, Germany, and the unexpected result of a direct hit on their gas tanks. “Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns.  That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit.

The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the gas tanks. There were 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. A near-miracle, I thought.

20 mill

20 milimeter rounds compared with golf ball, stick of RAM.

Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn. “He was told that the shells had been sent to the armoires to be defused. The armoires told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. “Apparently when the armoires opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless.

Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read:

“This is all we can do for you for now.’

What a terrific – true story! This story is confirmed in Elmer Bendiner’s book, “The Fall of Fortresses.” Sometimes, it’s not really just luck. Germans using Jewish slave labor was never a good idea.

So you see the Good Turn habit has no end of avenues down which it may go. There is scarcely a day or an hour, an event or a situation where there is not an opportunity to do a Good Turn. The point is that boys must be trained to see these opportunities and to take real joy in making the most of the opportunity.

The slogan of the Boy Scouts is “Do a Good Turn Daily.” What will your good turn be today?

Ken Cluff, Editor Varsity Vision Newsletter
  Author: Ken Cluff | Editor, The Varsity Vision Newsletter

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