Phil Stillings and Fran Perkins getting ready to give War Bond speeches on Oahu. They are recovering from wounds and put on a detail to help Eleanor Roosevelt, our First Lady, raise money through the sale of War Bonds to civic groups around Oahu, Hawaii.
The First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt surprise Ball Turret Gunner Fran Perkins shown in dark glasses and Radio Man Robert Patterson, by congratulating them on their heroism during the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae. The First Lady is autographing dollar bills along with the remarks, “Congratulations Sergeant Francis Perkins for shooting down four Jap Zeros, two confirmed and two probable, on July 24, 1943. Sincerely, Eleanor Roosevelt”
This is just a few days after Fran Perkins received miraculous eye surgery from an Australian eye surgeon stationed at Hawaiian General Hospital. Fran’s buddy, Robert Patterson is also helping Fran walk, getting use to walking and moving about with only one good eye.
Robert Patterson, in spite of of being wounded with “hunks of metal sticking out of his legs,” was able to restore the damaged radio and transmit Morse Code to Midway Island, to alert the airfield that the Daisy Mae was still flying out there somewhere and preparing to land on Midway or ditch at sea. Patterson’s message said “Big Girl Coming Home. Big Girl Coming Home.” All personnel working in the control tower at Midway knew exactly what that message meant.
Midway Island prepared for the worst and had every able bodied soldier sailor and marine alert and ready to stand by the airfield to help extracting the wounded and dying aboard the severely damaged Daisy Mae
The Daisy Mae, herself had tricks up her sleeve to assist Pilot Joe Gall, and Co-pilot John Van Horn in a bizarre but safe landing. Over 800 bullet and cannon holes would be counted by the surviving crew and sailors the following day.