By Doug White
Well, in my world, I am very lucky to meet so many fine people and this story is about one of them. This story is about a WWII pilot friend of mine named Robert E. Hafley. We met several years ago and as we were having coffee together one time he shared this very special story with me. Now I need to share it with you.
There he was in England, 1944. He flew missions in a P-47 Thunderbolt. It was nicknamed the Jug because it resembled a milk jug.
Well, according to Robert, he was asked if it were possible to make ice cream in his P-47. Not shy to take on a challenge, he said he believed it could be done. It was a hot day and the mess hall staff said they had all the materials to make ice cream except the temperature.
First Lt. Hafley asked his crew chief if he could get one of the extra fuel tanks modified with an access door to put the 30 or 35 gallons of ice cream mix in the fuel pod with a protective liner to keep it from getting contaminated.
The next thing you know, 1st Lt. Hafley fired up his P-47 with its special load and he was flying. He got the aircraft up to 20 to 30 thousand feet and rocked it back and forth and in a very short time he was headed back to his air base.
After he landed the P-47, the crew chief unloaded the special cargo and took it to the chow hall and they enjoyed a good 30 pounds of homemade ice cream.
A few days later Lt. Robert Hafley got a visit from a colonel who was in charge of maintenance. He asked, "Are you the lieutenant that flew a P-47 on an unauthorized mission?" Robert replied, "Yes, Sir!"
There was some silence, then the Colonel smiled and said. "You think you could do that again? You sure boosted the morale of this unit because of what you did and I hear the ice cream was great!"
Captain Robert Hafley is now in his early 90s and I would not be surprised if the opportunity presented itself, that he would do it again! Hope you enjoyed the story.Doug