Monday, January 21, 2019
WW II Vet Ray "Pops" Merrick-- Part 2: The Hump, The "Dragon Lady," Aluminum Alley and the Concussion
During the war he was involved in the Allied flying over "The Hump." This was the name given to the eastern portion of the Himalaya Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China. The Allies were supporting forces of Chinese Nationalist Chiang Kai-hek who was fighting the Japanese. Pops remembers once seeing Chiank Kai Shek's wife, the "Dragon Lady," and she was a beauty.
Mr. Merrick said this was referred to as "Aluminum Alley" because of all the planes that went down through accidental crashes, motor problems and being shot down. One problem often encountered was hitting an air pocket and the sudden loss of altitude.
During his time over there he did see Japanese soldiers on occasion, but they would be dead.
While in Burma, he was in traffic control and security and part of what he did was going up a narrow trail with supplies. It was while here that he was hit by something on his helmet. "To this day I don't know what it was." He ended up with a concussion. He somehow ended up back at his encampment and was walking around with no clue where he was.
He was put in a hospital. They gave him a spinal to check for blood on the brain and he woke up in a hospital in Calcutta, India. By then, with the war almost over and having accumulated enough points to get a leave or discharge, he was given a 30-day leave and sent back to Georgia where he was discharged.