Our Boys

During WWII, a large flight of planes took off from two aircraft carriers. While they were away, one was sunk. Too many planes returned. When the hold was filled, the crew started tipping planes over the side so that others could land. This was duly reported in the stateside press, with the editorialization that this illustrated how much value our army put on the lives of our fighting men. Why did Martin, who told me this story, laugh?


  1. because if they didn't tip x planes over the side so that x planes could land, those planes stuck in the sky would presumably have been lost anyway, with their pilots. i don't know why your friend laughed, but that may be it. there was no net sacrifice of planes to save soldiers.

  2. Yes, that is why. To put it more exactly, the admirals must have reckoned that the price they were willing to pay to liquidate one of their own pilots did not exceed the difference in value between an average plane and a bottom-of-the-hold plane.


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