It has been disclosed that F-16 pilots are allowed to take amphetamines to keep themselves wakeful and alert during flight assignments (Jan. 4). I was a B-17 pilot based in England with the 8th Air Force between October 1943 and May 1944 and flew 26 missions. Most of these forays into the heart of Europe were at 25,000 feet (unpressurized), and round trips frequently exceeded 10 hours. Yes, the crews were given stimulants to keep them alert ... Mars bars.
Now comes the ultimate irony. Thousands of American citizens in prisons serving 20 years to life for selling and making amphetamines, yet the U.S. government, via the Air Force, is dispensing them to pilots who fly planes with enough destructive power to wipe out entire cities. Is this a great country or what?
Robert B. Baldwin