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At age eighteen he enlisted in the Army Air Force in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. For a boy who had never been more than fifty miles from home the real adventure began when he boarded a bus to Chicago, went by train to Los Angeles, California, and then to Santa Ana Army Air Base boot camp, where his basic training began. Passed over for pilot training because of the huge number of men who wanted those jobs, he eventually was sent to bombardier training in Deming, New Mexico. Because he tested with unusually high math skills he was sent to El Paso, Texas, to become a navigator. Upon graduation he went by ship to Algeria, North Africa, and finally by plane to Lecce, Italy. What happens there is really what this book is all about.