How did the military take an inexperienced young man and transform him into a pilot? How did this person react during the initial stages of training? Finally, how did the finished product perform and feel about the skills and attitudes which he had acquired? These and many other questions are answered by the author as they applied to him during World War II, and very likely applied to thousands of others who found themselves in a similar situation after Pearl Harbor.
The story of "the making of a pilot" moves from formal training to being commissioned a pilot with wings. We fly along with the new pilot as he learns to master each new and different airplane, from the P-40 "Tomahawk" to the P-39 " Airacobra" and the P-51 "Mustang" in preparation for combat. Upon assignment to the European Theatre of Operations the inexperienced pilot needs to learn the ways of a new and different country and its people as well as the methods used to counter the enemy on the ground and in the air.
Our pilot is involved in the battle from England and flies the English Channel on repeated missions. He provided reconnaissance photos prior to D Day, soon after moving to the Omaha Beachhead, becoming involved in the march across France. The much-dreaded Siegfried Line is met and attacked with life in Belgium recounted as American pilots occupy barracks formerly used by the Nazi soldiers.
The P-51 plane is matched against the warplanes of the Luftwaffe at every turn, the Mustang being tested over and over against the flack batteries of the Nazi war machine. Spies in the Sky was a name often given to the pilots who sought out the enemy behind the lines of the U.S. First Army. They were also well known as the eyes of the First Army, sometimes called "The Lookers". They were known for their "airsponage" and no pilots and planes in WWII were closer to the front lines and actions than the ones flying the P-51s described in this story.
It was the desire of the author to present this narrative in a very informal manner, using the one-on-one approach rather than the stilted language often see in a doctoral thesis. The desire is for the reader to picture him or herself sitting in an adjacent chair listening to the pilot tell of his experiences during this mighty conflict. In the end, you will know this pilot from his leadership, bravery, and heroism.