July 28, 2015

1944. Murrow Reports from the Air During Operation Market Garden

Edward R. Murrow Accompanies Airborne Troops

Edward R. Murrow


September 17, 1944

EDWARD R. MURROW: We've been flying straight into Holland now for something like twenty minutes, so far without any opposition; at least none that I have been able to see. Our fighters are down, just almost nosing along the hedge rows, searching the little villages, and they're up above us and on both sides.

This is the real meaning of air power. And it seems that the Dutch realize it as well, because in a little village that we're just passing over I can see at least two dozen people standing along the narrow, winding streets. Some of them are children, and I can see that most of them seem to be wearing a white shirt or a white blouse of some kind.

There go the para-packs on the formation ahead of us. Yellow, brown, red. Drifting down gently, dropping the containers. I can't see the bodies of the men—yes I can. The chutes ahead of us are still going—and there's a burst of flak right there. I think it's coming from a railway embankment just down to the left. It was certainly considerably under us and just ahead of us. And it's the first flak we've seen...with one burst of light flak—there's another.

More tracers going across just in front of our nose. I think it's coming from that little village just beside the canal. More tracers coming up now, just cutting across in front of our nose. A lovely orange color, it is.

We're down just about to the drop altitude, now. In just about thirty seconds these nineteen men will walk out onto Dutch soil. You can probably hear the snap as they check the lashing on the static line. We're throttled back now.

There he goes! Do you hear him shout? Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen...

There they go! Every man out—I can see their chutes going down now. Every man clear. They're dropping just beside a little windmill near a church; hanging there very gracefully. They seem to be completely relaxed like nothing so much as khaki dolls hanging beneath a green lampshade.