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Mister: The Training of an Aviation Cadet in World War II

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The pilots and crews of B-17 bombers in World War II made history even before they flew their first missions. Not only did they bring aerial warfare to new levels of power, but they were the products of a training program that was unprecedented in its scale and complexity. In a one-year course, thousands of civilians, most of them with no flying experience, were taught the technical skills, teamwork, and emotional toughness required to fly a huge and complex plane in combat. Many books have been written about the...
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0295971819 Brand New in shrinkwrap. First edition. New DJ. Multiple copies available.

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Overview

The pilots and crews of B-17 bombers in World War II made history even before they flew their first missions. Not only did they bring aerial warfare to new levels of power, but they were the products of a training program that was unprecedented in its scale and complexity. In a one-year course, thousands of civilians, most of them with no flying experience, were taught the technical skills, teamwork, and emotional toughness required to fly a huge and complex plane in combat. Many books have been written about the air battles of World War II, but none has taken the reader through the process that transformed young men into combat pilots. Eugene Fletcher, author of Fletcher's Gang, an account of his crew's missions over Europe, now provides an engaging and authentic look at that training. Fletcher was raised on a Depression-squeezed farm in Eastern Washington. After two years as a teenage professional jockey, he returned home to finish high school and then entered Whitman College on a scholarship. While there he earned a civilian pilot's license. When he received his draft notice in June 1942, he enlisted in the grueling aviation training program of the Army Air Force. Mister is the story of Fletcher's training year: both the education of a combat pilot and the experiences shared by Gene and his wife Sherry, who were among the thousands of young couples who started their lives together in a state of nomadic uncertainty. The danger, the boredom, the discipline, and the exhilaration of aviation training all are vividly recalled. Fletcher and his classmates were part of a huge high-stakes experiment that showed the military at its dedicated best and its demeaning worst. By January 1944, Fletcher had command of a giant B-17 bomber and a ten-man crew. He was twenty-two. A year later, he and the rest of "Fletcher's Gang" had flown thirty-five combat missions in Europe without a casualty. Fletcher's Gang provided an unforgettable portrait of daily life at the height of
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Fletcher's Gang , the author described commanding a 10-man crew on 35 combat missions over Europe during World War II. Here he details the training that enabled a 22-year-old to lead those forays: a yearlong regimen that included pre-flight training at Santa Ana, primary flying school at Oxnard and basic flying school at Lancaster, all in California; advanced flying school in Douglas, Ariz.; and B-17 transition training at Roswell, N.M. The abundance of detail--about tests in class and in the air, frequent quarantining because of childhood diseases among the cadets, exacting flight instructors and officious ground officers--will be only mildly interesting to those who were not Army Air Force officers 50 years ago. The book also contains a number of conventional and undistinguished photos. (Aug.)
Booknews
Fletcher, who in his previous Fletcher's Gang provided a portrait of daily life at the height of aerial war in Euorpe, here provides an engaging look at the training that turned young men into combat pilots. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295971810
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.21 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 0.79 (d)

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