Bored WWII Pilots Made Ice Cream Up In The Skies

Grace Higgins | December 29th, 2018

If you think that being in the Air Force will never give you a boring day, then you may have to rethink this thought process because boring days do come around. Even in times of war and conflict, pilots can find themselves killing hours on the tarmac waiting for a mission. Or even simply having to do hours of patrols airborne but with nothing much to do.

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Some people simply count sheep to make the days pass quicker or others may complete a little puzzle of Sudoku. But for WWII pilots on the island of Peleliu, one fighter pilot decided that a better use of his patrols would be to make some delicious ice cream up in the skies. You could call it some old-fashioned marine ingenuity: defeat boredom with the taste of ice cream.

Squadron Commander J. Hunter Reinburg was bored out of his mind because the Japanese would simply not come out and have a dogfight with them, and of course, they always flew above 28,000 feet to be out of range of the anti-aircraft guns.

The Corsair plane was known for its ability to fly higher and faster than Japanese plans so this may have influenced their decision to not come out, but mostly it was due to it being near the end of the war and they simply no longer had the resources left to risk dogfights.

But the commander had an answer, help troop morale by making chocolate ice cream up in the high freezing altitudes. On the humid tropical island, there was no refrigeration or fresh food so ice cream was a premium item. He logged it down as an oxygen system test, strapping two ammo cartons under his wings filled with canned milk and cocoa powder. Enough room to make 10 gallons of chocolate ice cream.

Apparently, the outcome was not as smooth as he had hoped, but the men loved and ate it anyway! After a couple more tests they had nailed down the process to make delicious perfect chocolate ice cream, later it was known as Operation Freeze Flight.

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