Page:Air Service Boys over the Rhine.djvu/28

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18
ANXIOUS DAYS

So Tom readily received permission to send a message to the hotel in Paris mentioned by his father as the place where Mr. Raymond would stay. And then Tom had nothing to do but wait for an answer.

Nothing to do? No, there was plenty. Both Tom and Jack had to hold themselves in readiness for instant service. They might be sent out on a bombing expedition at night in the big heavy machines, slow of flight but comparatively safe from attack by other aircraft.

They might have the coveted honor of being selected to go out in the swift, single Nieuports to engage in combat with some Hun flier. To become an "ace"—that is a birdman who, flying alone, has disposed of five enemies—is the highest desire of an aviator.

Tom and Jack, eager and ambitious, were hoping for this.

Again, in the course of the day's work, they might be selected to go up in the big bimotored Caudrons for reconnoissance work. This is dangerous and hard. The machines carry a wireless apparatus, over which word is sent back to headquarters concerning what may be observed of the enemy's defenses, or a possible offensive.

Often the machines go beyond the range of their necessarily limited wireless, and have to