“Nothing but Nukes”: 1945

Ryan Van Zyl, guest writer

Oscar Yoke was born in Dalton Georgia in 1920 to loving parents who owned a large corn farm. Yoke’s common country childhood consisted of working on the farm, fishing, and hunting. Oscar never went to school and never learned to read and write. His dad always said he would not need book knowledge to be a corn farmer. One day Oscar was coming back from fishing down at the creek, and to his surprise he saw his dad mowing a large strip of grass into a runaway. Oscar had heard about airplanes but had never taken a real interest in them. Later that year Oscar’s father went on a trip and one day Oscar saw a small figure in the clouds coming closer and closer. It was Oscar’s father in a small one seated plane, commonly known as a crop duster. It was at that moment that Oscar realized his passion: airplanes.
A crop duster is a plane that carries a pay load of fertilizer and pesticides. Oscar’s dad used the plane to easily spread these substances over the cornfields. Oscar dreamed of flying, many days he would stand and watch his dad fly the plane back and forth, as a dark haze of fertilizer showered the crops. When the plane was parked, Oscar would often sit in the plane and act like he was flying. One day Oscar’s mom Mary was going into town and Oscar asked her if she would find a book about airplanes for him. She came back with a book on early aviation. Slowly but surely Oscar taught himself how to read. He also memorized flight patterns, tips on flying, and on reading gauges. When Oscar was twelve, his dad granted his one and only wish: to fly.
Oscar jumped in the old worn seat of the little plane, and looked down the long, green air strip. With butterflies in his belly, he watched his dad throw the propeller down starting the engine. “Peddle to the metal Oscar pedal to the metal!” His father yelled as he ran to the side of the field. Oscar slammed the pedal on the ground, the plane began to creep forward and gain speed. Before he knew, it he was slowly pulling the rudder stick up putting him in the air. It was like no other feeling Oscar had ever experienced. With a big grin on his face, he circled the farm a couple of times. Lining up the small plane on the same green air strip, he circumspectly touched the plane down as his dad came running over exclaiming, “Yes, Oscar! That was flawless.”
By the time Oscar was eighteen, he must have had over a thousand hours in the seat of that tiny plane. He had rebuilt the plane’s engine over a dozen times, he was incredibly familiar with every square.
September 1, 1939
World War II broke out. At this point in time, Oscar had no direction in life. All he wanted to do was fly. Because the second World War was starting, the Air Force was recruiting combat pilots. Because of the news about Kamikaze attack on a US battle fleet near Kerama Rett, He went into town to retrieve papers in order to sign up for the Air Force. Luckily, Oscar was excepted into the program. In boot camp he showed immense strength, skill, and wisdom. Oscar was Honored to graduate at the top of his class, showing great promise in his combat pilot career. As he walked across the stage he kept his head high for those who raised the flag on Iwo Jima that day. Oscar was later stationed in Fort Irwin Army Base in Barstow, CA.
One day, after a long and rigorous training fight, Oscar was called to the bases office. He walked into the office over hearing some soldiers talking about the Bataan Death March, he continued to walk pass where he was greeted by Master Sargent Joe Stain. Stain had been watching Oscar and all he had accomplished During his time at the base. Stain then reveled that he wanted Oscar to preform a top secret mission. Oscar was to scout out a prison camp on Japan’s main island and report back to Stain. This camp was one of the worse in Japan and the most notorious for conducting torture experiments on captive American soldiers. Sargent Stain signed Oscar on a special one week training program, that would ready him for the nearly suicide mission. Oscar was later informed that the next week of his life would be absolute hell on Earth.
On his first day of training, Oscar woke up to a bucket of ice cold water, 50 push-ups, and a man in a black uniform screaming. The mans name was drill Sargent Bob Buster. Buster was a tall, beefy, and intimidating man. The large scar on his left cheek was a eye sore and made it look like he had mistaken a stove as a pillow. Buster worked with Oscar on everything he would need in order to survive. When the week was over, Oscar felt very confident that he would be able to complete the mission. Just as his favorite golfer Byron Nelson completed his mission winning
27th PGA Championship
Oscar was nervous, the day was finally here that he had been training so hard for. It was 3:14 am when Oscar walked out to the tarmac where Sargent Stain and Drill Sargent Buster were waiting and informed him that Southern California won the thirty-first Rose Bowl. After grabbing his helmet and putting on his fight suit, Oscar jumped into the plane and buckled the four point harness. He watched as the planes wheels were cleared, turned the key and pushed the button to start the plane. Waving at his comrades he did just as his dad had taught him. Oscar slammed the pedal to the metal, the plane began to inch forward and pick up speed. As the end of the runway began to come into sight, Oscar slowly pulled back on the steering wheel lifting the plane into the sky. Instantly a smile came to his face, flying was his favorite thing to do. About seven hours into the flight Oscar notice the fuel gage was flickering up and down. At first he didn’t think anything of it, until he radioed back to base and asked if his plane had been fueled before takeoff.
“This is home base to black hawk, the plane was fueled and should be at one third of a tank, how’s the fuel pressure?”
“To home base, My pressure is zero!”
Suddenly the radio cut out and Oscar was alone. The tank lasted a about another two hours and the plane started sputtering and in a blink of an eye the engine was dead.
Oscar stayed calm, cool, and collected, looking back on all the flying hours he had. Oscar checked his location and he was four-six minutes of the coast of Nagasaki Japan. Seeing that he was twenty-five thousand feet in the air he could carefully glide about a mile off the coastline. He could swim the mile, find a radio, and call back to base Oscar started his descent.
Oscar cleared the clouds and saw the land in the distance. Guiding the plane as if he was holding a infant, he pressed on. When Oscar reached a hundred feet in altitude, he dreaded pulling the small yellow lever that read eject in bold. With his hand shaking he reached over, closed his eyes and jerked the lever up. The next the he know was he was in water. Struggling to stay afloat, he ripped of his parachute. Starting the long swim to land, he took long and smooth strokes pulling himself through the water as if he was a torpedo.
When Oscar reached land, he was greeted by two soldiers barking at him in Japanese. Throwing him on the beach, they stripped him naked and zip tied his hands together. To make matters worse, a bag was jammed over his head and he was thrown into a truck. After about a thirty minute drive Oscar found himself in a cold dark cell with no windows. He could feel rats and insects crawling over him as if he was a rotting carcass. He scampered over to what looked like a thin mat on the ground and laid down. Many questions came to his head as he sat in the dark, nasty, and cold cell, but one in particular. SLAM! The sound rang out like a gong as a piece of what looked like moldy bread fell from the small opening in the door. Oscar grabbed the bread and took a bite. It tasted like absolute sand. Many days went by, the same thing would happen once a day it was as if he was having deja vu.
One day everything changed. Oscar opened his eyes to the same day he had been seeing for what felt like months. All the sun it was like a gust of air was pushed through the cell, then it hit. The top part of the cell was torn off as if a train had hit it. Oscar grabbed the mat and coved his head in it. Shockingly, he escaped with minimal injuries. Oscar climbed from the cell to a torched landscape that stretched as far as the eye could see. The only thing he could think about was finding a radio so he could get out of this place. Oscar walked and walked, stoping by shacks to see if they had anything close to a radio. He was starving and dehydrated which made it hard to move. Additionally, the burn was very uncomfortable, but Oscar pushed on. The Island had transformed into a wasteland. Walking on, Oscar came to a large building that looked as if it was not hit by whatever happened. Inside there was a radio, Oscar later heard that he was hit with “little boy” second of the nuclear bombs that hit Japan. Oscar was told to sit tight until he could evacuate the area.
A small plane was sent by Sargent Stain, and after 15 hours the plane landed with food, water, and clothing to take care of all Oscars needs. Oscar came back as a hero, everyone knew who he was, the man who survived a nuke.

Works Cited
History.com Staff. “Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. February 8, 2018.
“U.S. World War 2 Aircraft (1941-1945) – American Army Air Force, Navy and Marine Aircraft of the Second World War.” Military Weapons, www.militaryfactory.com. n.d. Web. February 8, 2018l
“Fukuoka 14 POW Camp, Nagasaki Japan.” www.mansella.com. n.d. Web. February 8, 2018.
Higginbotham, Adam. “There Are Still Thousands of Tons of Unexploded Bombs in Germany, Left Over From World War II.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution,
January 1, 2016 www.smithsonianmag.com. Web. February 8, 2018.
“World War II Aircraft.” World War II Aircraft – Engineering and Technology History. n.d. Web. February 8, 2018