The Naked Gunner
Rescue at Rabaul, 1944
PBY Blister Gunner By Horace Bristol
This young crewman of a US Navy “Dumbo” PBY rescue mission has just jumped into the water of Rabaul Harbor to rescue a badly burned Marine pilot who was shot down while bombing the Japanese-held fortress of Rabaul.
Since Japanese coastal defense guns were firing at the plane while it was in the water during take-off, this brave young man, after rescuing the pilot, manned his position as machine gunner without taking time to put on his clothes.
A hero photographed right after he’d completed his heroic act. Naked.
Photo taken by Horace Bristol (1908-1997). In 1941, Bristol was recruited to the U.S. Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, as one of six photographers under the command of Captain Edward J. Steichen, documenting World War II in places such as South Africa, and Japan. He ended up…
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