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Volume III: Combat, Captivity, and Reunion —The Things Our Fathers Saw [2017]

$19.99

Acclaimed oral history featuring the American veterans of the air war over Europe during World War II, Part Two. A Tuskegee airman, fighter pilots, and bomber crews talk about being shot down, the prisoner of war experience, and being reunited again after 60 years, in their own words.

220 PAGES.

Volume 3 is about the Air War again, and this time I have some of my friends who were fighter pilots, including a Tuskegee Airman who had to deal with racism back home, on top of defeating fascism in Europe. There is also the story of my B-17 crew friends, sitting around a table and telling about the day they were all shot down over Germany, and how they survived the prisoner-of-war experience in the last year of the war.

—"After the first mission Colonel Davis told us, ‘From now on you are going to go with the bombers all the way through the mission to the target.’ It didn’t always work, but that was our mission—we kept the Germans off the bombers. At first they didn’t want us, but toward the end, they started asking for us as an escort, because we protected them to and from the missions." —Tuskegee Airman, WWII

— “[Someone in the PoW camp] said, ‘Look down there at the main gate!’, and the American flag was flying! We went berserk, we just went berserk! We were looking at the goon tower and there’s no goons there, there are Americans up there! And we saw the American flag, I mean—to this day I start to well up when I see the flag."

Former prisoner of war, WWII

— “I got back into my turret. Fellas, the turret wasn't there anymore. That German fighter who had been eyeing me came in and he hit his 20mm gun, took the top of that Plexiglas and tore it right off!

Now we're defenseless. The planes ahead of us have been shot down, we're lumbering along at 180 miles an hour, and these fighters were just [warming up] for target practice.” —B-17 Turret Gunner


— TABLE OF CONTENTS —

AUTHOR’S NOTE 5
THE TUSKEGEE AIRMAN 19
‘A TOUGH TIME’ 21
REAL AIRPLANES 23
TUSKEGEE 27
TO NORTH AFRICA AND ITALY 32
COMBAT 33
LIFE BETWEEN MISSIONS 40
‘YOU’LL GO WITH THE BOMBERS’ 43
BERLIN 51
THE RECONNAISSANCE MAN 65
OVERSEAS 68
FLYING HIGH 71
THE LAST MISSION 75
WAR’S END 77
THE EVADEE 81
THE FARMER 84
THE FRENCH UNDERGROUND 85
LEAVING PARIS 86
THE P-38 PILOT 93
COMBAT 96
CAPTURED 99
MARCHED OUT 107
LIBERATION 109
THE FIRST ENGINEER 115
‘COLORBLIND AS A BAT’ 117
GOING OVERSEAS 120
THE FIFTH MISSION 121
‘THEY JUST DEVASTATED US’ 123
‘THAT'S NOT HOLLAND, BUDDY’ 126
THE OPERATION 128
STALAG 17 130
THE END OF THE WAR 133
‘THAT'S HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT’ 136
THE GUNNER 141
PLOESTI 144
‘BAIL OUT!’ 145
CAPTURED 146
RESCUED BY THE PARTISANS 146
REPATRIATION 147
THE BLACK MARCH 151
’I WANTED TO GO FIGHT THE WAR’ 153
THE SECOND MISSION 154
STALAG LUFT IV 156
LIFE IN THE CAMP 157
A MATTER OF TIME 159
FAITH 159
LIBERATION 162
‘YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT BAD IS’ 163
PTSD 165
‘WE NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT’ 166
THE BOMBARDIER 169
THE BOMBSIGHT 173
‘PLEASE DON’T CATCH FIRE AND EXPLODE’ 177
EXHAUSTION 178
INTERROGATION 180
STALAG LUFT III 181
EVACUATION 182
ON TOUR 184
‘NICE WAY TO END A WAR’ 186
B-17 POW REUNION 191
TOGETHER AGAIN 192
MISSIONS 197
SHOT DOWN 201
ON THE GROUND 206
PRISONERS OF WAR 210
THE MARCH 220
LIBERATION 231
‘THANK GOD EVERY DAY’ 235
TRAILS IN THE SKY 241

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