Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and Warm Beer: An American Fighter Pilot over Europe

Overview

With war on America's horizon in 1941, LeRoy Gover was determined to be a fighter pilot. Lacking the qualifications that would guarantee him U.S. Army Air Corps wings, the young Californian signed on with the Royal Air Force. By the end of the war, Gover was one of the most experienced American pilots in England, having flown with both the RAF and the Air Corps. Author Philip D. Caine skillfully weaves together the young flyer's letters and diary entries to create a vivid portrait of the kind of man who helped ...
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Overview

With war on America's horizon in 1941, LeRoy Gover was determined to be a fighter pilot. Lacking the qualifications that would guarantee him U.S. Army Air Corps wings, the young Californian signed on with the Royal Air Force. By the end of the war, Gover was one of the most experienced American pilots in England, having flown with both the RAF and the Air Corps. Author Philip D. Caine skillfully weaves together the young flyer's letters and diary entries to create a vivid portrait of the kind of man who helped win World War II. After training in the United States, Gover soaks in the atmosphere of indomitable, war-battered Britain, whose hospitable people are eager to show their appreciation to the curious Yank. There he flies the plane of his dreams, the sleek Spitfire. The reader climbs into Gover's cockpit for hair-raising missions, including the famous raid on Dieppe, after which Gover is the only squadron member still flying. Between combat flights, he unwinds by exploring England and Wales, with their thatched-roof cottages, air-raid comraderie, smoky pubs, and friendly young women. After transferring to an American unit and transitioning to the powerful P-47 Thunderbolt, he flies it on its first European mission. By the end of his war, Gover had flown 159 combat missions and had received the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and eight Air Medals. Of the thirteen men who graduated from his training class, he was one of only two still flying. A story of great courage, good humor, and a little luck, Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and Warm Beer is a testament to the many other brave men who did not survive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028811154
  • Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/22/1995
  • Series: World War II Commemorative Ser.
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction xi
1. I'm Gonna Fly the Spitfire 1
2. The RAF Becomes a Reality 29
3. Shooting Real Bullets 67
4. An American Eagle 97
5. Spitfires with Stars 117
6. The Thunderbolts Are Here 147
7. It's Getting Tougher Every Day 167
8. Going Home on Leave 205
Epilogue 217
Suggested Reading 223
Index 225
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