It was February 1942 when two future B-17 pilots began their training going through Primary to Advanced Flight School where they become best friends. Join Captain Jack Harrington, the pilot, a Nebraska farm boy; Lieutenant Matt Moore, the copilot who is half Cheyenne Indian; Lieutenant Dale Kennedy, the navigator, a high school teacher; Lieutenant Kenny Donnelly, the bombardier, the son of a multimillionaire; and gunners that include Sergeant Keith McNeil, a career Army man; Sergeant Greg Cerminaro, a college student until the war intervened; Sergeant Al Schulze, a bottle capper from a Wisconsin brewery; Sergeant Joe Angelino, a longshoreman; Sergeant Jim Robinson, a truck driver, and Sergeant Tad Furmanski, a Polish national who survived the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp, as they move to England and become members of the 324th Squadron of the 91st Bombardment Group (heavy), stationed at United States Army Air Force Station #121. Fly with the rookies through their first mission to bomb German airfields at Romilly-Sur-Seine, France, on December 20, 1942. Listen to their reactions to the shock of combat and relate what it is actually like to fly dangerous daylight precision bombing missions.
These novels traces the story of a United States Army Air Force B-17 bomber crew during World War II.
Of every ten B-17’s sent into combat between 1942 and 1945, eight were shot down, which meant for every 100 men sent into combat, 80 did not return. The Army Air Force suffered more casualties than any other branch of the service in World War II except infantry, even more than the Navy, Marines and Merchant Marine. Until the Allied invasions of 1944, the young men of the Army Air Force were the only combat troops taking part in the war in Europe, and they did so for the majority of that time without fighter cover to escort them to their targets. Unlike most war novels, this does not dwell on combat alone, though the flying scenes are true to life and totally accurate. As stated in the preface, wars are fought by human beings. In the case of World War II B-17 crews, the men aboard averaged in age from 19-22, mere children. This novel is a study of those backgrounds and characters that had molded together to form an effective fighting unit. Reviewers of the book have stated that finally, this is a World War II novel which is both realistic and factual, even though it is fiction. It makes the reader feel he or she is right in the plane in a flight, in the thick of battle, dodging flak and German fighters. One also stated the characters pop from the page. The same reviewer is a pilot, and was unable to locate any mistakes in the text as it pertained to flying a B-17.
believable characters. The depictions of the combat scenes made me feel as
if I were in the middle of it. The cliffhanger ending has me eagerly waiting for the next book!"
- Adrien M. Synnott, SSG ARNG (ret). Author.
Author Cheryl Pula has based the events cited in the story on face to face interviews with actual 8th Air Force veterans. Every incident cited in the book happened to someone she personally interviewed, and received permission to use the events in the story, only with names changed, so though fiction, it is based on actual events. She spent over ten years researching the subject and interviewing veterans to make the book accurate and true to life as possible. She embarked on the project due to a life-long interest in, and love of, B-17 bombers.