"Nine Yard Ericson," USAF, 1959
goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Oct 25 09:24:55 UTC 2011
A google books snippet view from a 1959 US military journal showed a sentence fragment: "1st Lt. Herbert Ericson, a 514th navigator, earned the nickname "Nine Yard Ericson" for computing delivery time that permitted his ... " That seemed perhaps promising (maybe meaning that Ericson did everything?), until I got the following text: ."..[that permitted his] crew to dump the 260-pound bundle within nine yards of the center of the drop zone." So this appears to be a use unrelated to "the whole nine yards" and to mean really close to the target (?). It may possibly suggest a terminus, a time after which many US military pilots first knew the phrase in its 1960s-attested sense. In the latter, a reference back to World War II is not necessarily excluded. Compare, for instance, The Longest Day, a 1959 book and 1962 movie, named from a translation of a statement by Rommel in 1944. The 1964 Aerospace Pilot find adds to the evidence for Air Force tradents of "the whole nine yards."
Army, Navy, Air Force Journal: Volume 97, Issue 13, Whole No. 5027, 29 Nov. 1959, p. 344, col. 1-3, here col. 2
[headline:] Col. Russell Gustke's 446th TCW Captures Top Honors in ConAC Aerial Rodeo
A highlight of the Rodeo, that drew applause from the stands on the first day of the event, was the spectacular delivery made by 514th Mitchel AFB, N.Y. "Long Island Wing," led by Col. Campbell Y. Jackson.
1st Lt. Herbert Ericson, a 514th navigator, earned the nickname "Nine Yard Ericson" for computing delivery time that permitted his crew to dump the 260-pound bundle within nine yards of the center of the drop zone. Capt. Frank Strakosch was the pilot and Capt. Robert Edwards was the co-pilot.....
Although the nine-yard drop by the 514th TCW was made 1.7 minutes off schedule, the crew was fortunate to have favorable wind conditions.....
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