by Tom Faulkner, edited by David J. Snead
Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2018. Pp. xxiv, 240.
Illus., maps, appends., biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN: 1574417312
A Teenaged Liberator Pilot
Tom Faulkner was In a Texas high school when Pearl Harbor was bombed. After finishing high school, he entered the Army Air Forces, and by mid-1944 was flying B-24 Liberators out of an air base in Southern Italy, on missions into Austria, Germany, Hungary, northern Italy, and Yugoslavia. By February 27, 1945 the 19 had six months of combat missions under his belt, and was on his 28th mission, when his plane took heavy damage over Augsburg, Germany. Faulkner made an emergency landing in Switzerland, where he and his crew were interned for a time, then returned to the United States to sit out the rest of the war.
Faulkner’s memoir, edited by Prof. Snead (Liberty University), tells the reader a lot about life in prewar America, the experience of military service, and the conduct of the bomber offensive in Europe. In this first-hand account of Faulkner’s missions, which required a complex combination of skill, science, courage, and luck, we get a sense of the comradeship of among the air crew, their reactions to the loss of friends, and then some idea of Faulkner’s postwar return to civilian life
Flying with the Fifteenth Air Force, a volume in the series “North Texas Military Biography and Memoirs”, is a good read for anyone interested in the experience of bomber crews in the war, and a pretty good introduction to the bomber offensive for the novice reader.
Note: Flying with the Fifteenth Air Force is also available in several e-editions