In Hostile Skies: An American B-24 Pilot in World War II

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Overview

James "Jim" Davis lived what he considered "an impossible dream" as he piloted a B-24, as part of the 8th Air Force, on nearly thirty missions in the European Theatre during World War II. He flew support missions for Operations Cobra and Market Garden and numerous bombing missions over occupied Europe in the summer and fall of 1944, attacking enemy airfields, airplane factories, railroad marshalling yards, ship yards, oil refineries, and chemical plants. While he and his crew survived without serious injuries, ...
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In Hostile Skies: An American B-24 Pilot in World War II

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Overview

James "Jim" Davis lived what he considered "an impossible dream" as he piloted a B-24, as part of the 8th Air Force, on nearly thirty missions in the European Theatre during World War II. He flew support missions for Operations Cobra and Market Garden and numerous bombing missions over occupied Europe in the summer and fall of 1944, attacking enemy airfields, airplane factories, railroad marshalling yards, ship yards, oil refineries, and chemical plants. While he and his crew survived without serious injuries, they witnessed the destruction of many of their friends' planes and experienced serious damage to their own plane on several occasions.

About the Author:
James M. Davis served on active duty in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The key word was ‘survival.’ Run the flak gauntlet, escape the Luftwaffe, overcome the weather, get the bombs on the target, and make it back to base, safe—until the next time. From the rigors of training to the demands of combat flying, Jim had one predominant goal, survival. This marvelous story will take you there with Jim and his crew.” —LTC Charles H. Freudenthal, USAF Ret., Historian of the 8th Air Force, 489th

“Davis’s narrative has considerable merit—what came across was its genuineness, its authenticity. This account is one of the best because Davis is so explicit in recounting his fears, his sleepless nights before missions, and his lack of fear in the midst of crises. Such insights add significantly to the value of his memoir. As a retired Air Force flag officer I must confess that I am appalled to learn that those in command in the 8th Air Force allowed Davis to go on combat missions with a copilot who had never landed or taken off in a B-24 and had never practiced formation flying. Davis’s revelations of just such snafus as these are what give added value and interest to his narrative” —I. B. Holley Jr., Emeritus Professor of History, Duke University

“Jim Davis will certainly claim to be an ‘ordinary man.’ But in this riveting first-person account of his pilot training and B-24 combat missions over Europe during the waning years of the Second World War, Davis and his crew are surely extraordinary people. Thanks to David Snead’s graceful editing and insightful historical references, Jim’s own words reflect not only the facts of this epic adventure, but reveal the joy and sorrow, fear and relief, and deep feeling of being blessed to have survived this monumental war in the air while flying one of the great bombers of all time, the B-24 Liberator.” —Robert S. Hopkins III, Ph.D., Former RC-135 Aircraft Commander

“A near-perfect example of ‘the greatest generation,’ Mr. Davis has written an enthralling account of his service in World War II. Indeed, to understand the air war in the European Theatre, with its unrelenting fatigue and harrowing dangers, there is no better place to start than with this poignant, enlightening, and entertaining memoir.” —Peter Maslowski, Professor of History, University of Nebraska

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Product Details

Meet the Author

James M. Davis is a retired businessman who lives in Midland, Texas, with his wife of over six decades, Jean. He served on active duty in the U.S. Army Air Forces for more than two and a half years during World War II, and then in the Air Force reserves until 1961.

David L. Snead, the editor, is an associate professor of history at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and is the author of The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War and George E. Browne: An American Doughboy in World War I.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1 The Dream 1
Chapter 2 Training 20
Chapter 3 Flying the Beast 47
Chapter 4 Topeka to Belfast 68
Chapter 5 The First Mission 84
Chapter 6 Our Early Missions 107
Chapter 7 Close Calls 134
Chapter 8 Finishing Our Tour 169
Chapter 9 Homecoming 189
Epilogue 207
Appendix 210
Glossary 212
Bibliography 218
Index 223
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 8, 2012

    Greatly Enjoyed

    I bought this book and another for my Father who was a B24 pilot in WWII. My Father truly enjoyed them and they transported him back to that time. He talked about it for weeks. He is a avid reader, devouring a 500 pg book in a couple of days. It is extremely difficult to find these types of books for him to read. I am always searching. My suggestion would be for Barnes and Noble to solicit more WWII flight specific books and DVDs. These elderly people are now the forgotten.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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