In Defense of Freedom: Stories of Courage and Sacrifice of World War II Army Air Forces Flyers

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, Apr 30, 2015 - History - 576 pages

The twenty-seven stories in this book serve as a graphic reminder of the selfless heroism of America's World War II Army Air Forces flyers and how necessary they were to achieve Allied victory. Wolfgang Samuel and the pilots he interviewed reveal the peril these men faced to achieve a daunting task, impossible without their bravery. And their sacrifices were stunning--American bomber crews suffered the highest casualties (KIA, MIA, POW, wounded) of all American armed services in World War II. The stories preserved in this book bear that grave danger out. A member of a heavy bomber crew in the 8th Air Force in the period from mid-1942 to spring 1944 was less likely to survive than a US Marine fighting on Iwo Jima or Okinawa.

The stories in this unique book are about men who went face to face with their adversaries, who saw their buddies die, who crashed planes, and who became prisoners of war. Many later went on to become the backbone of the postwar Air Force, serving in Korea and Vietnam and during the Cold War.

Young Ken Chilstrom led a flight of eight A-36 fighter bombers on a low-level foray in Italy. Only he and two others came home. Bob Hoover thought he could take on the entire German air force, but on his first mission he was shot down, nearly perished, and suffered the remainder of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp. Wolfgang Samuel's new book is all about men like Ken, Bob, and the many friends they lost, who saw World War II through to the end and gave freedom to so many others.


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Terms and Abbreviations
Robert P WalkerMosquitoC54B66Test Pilot
8th Air Force
POW StalagLuft I Barth Germany
Byron A Dobbs Jr P38F5B26
Edgar E McElroyB25
Robert S HamillB25C54KC97
Western Desert Air Force
Bernard T NolanB24B17
Robert J AnspachP47Me 262Fw 190F86
Frederick B McIntoshP47Fw 190TA 152Ju 290
Roy W BrownP47Me 262
Albert S TuckerP38F80Gloster Meteor
POW StalagLuft I Barth Germany
Frederick LeibyB17
StrobellP47Me 262

Kenneth O ChilstromA36Me 262Test Pilot
Harold R AustinC54RB45CRB47E
Joseph J GyulavicsB29RB47H
Samuel E PizzoB17RB47HA12
Charles E Myers Jr B25F9FTest Pilot
James F SetchellMosquitoF5

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About the author (2015)

Wolfgang W. E. Samuel, Fairfax Station, Virginia, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force in 1960. He flew his first operational missions during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, then flew over 100 dangerous reconnaissance missions during the Cold War. He flew combat during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross three times and multiple Air Medals. He is the author of German Boy: A Refugee's Story; I Always Wanted to Fly: America's Cold War Airmen; The War of Our Childhood: Memories of World War II; American Raiders: The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets; and Coming to Colorado: A Young Immigrant's Journey to Become an American Flyer, all from University Press of Mississippi.

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