It's the harrowing saga of Army Air Corps warfare training during the time of Oppenheimer's Manhattan project and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From chemical warfare accidents to unimaginable atomic radiation poisoning, it reveals a secret part of World War 2 history that has been hidden for decades under threats of court-martial and treason.
This captivating account tells of an incredible combination of events that cast these pilots into history as the first atomic veterans of World War 2. Though most people think of D Day or Okinawa soldiers on Veteran's Day, this story sheds new light on America's non-combat veterans and what so many have suffered silently away from the front lines of battle. And unlike other veteran's wounds of war that may heal with time, an irradiated veteran's complications can linger for a lifetime like a ticking time bomb; or worse, get passed on to impact their children.
This remarkable story of survival and determination is based on extensive actual interviews, recorded transcripts, flight logs, and documents provided by the surviving pilots before they died. This book puts the reader behind the flight controls of B-24 Liberators, B-25 Mitchells, and AT-6 Texan aircraft during a time when our nation's young men prepared in dangerous training with impatient exuberance for the rigors of air combat.
It tells in stunning detail of pilots who after being nearly blinded by the Trinity atomic blast, were then catapulted and irradiated by the shock wave, somehow surviving to later be chased by a B-29 Superfortress into a mysterious dust storm - that would later be revealed to be radioactive fallout.
But perhaps one of the most shocking aspects of this story is what actually happened to these young pilots in the aftermath of the blast, as they endured a series of unfortunate and misguided investigations at the hands of an uncaring government for whom they were honor bound to lay down their lives.
And finally, it's a story of one man's undaunted courage and redemption after decades of fear and secrecy, who survived the odds of radiation poisoning to live long enough to reveal the truth of what happened as he testified before the House Veteran's Affairs Committee as the Trinity Coordinator for the National Association of Atomic Veterans. On July 16, 1985, exactly 40 years after the date that he flew into the first atomic blast on this planet, the surviving pilot told his remarkable story to the assembled U.S. Congress in support of S707, The Atomic Veterans Relief Act of 1985.
Written in the combined styles of James Bradley and Jeff Shaara, this book weaves a riveting and gritty account of the times and lives of some of the most remarkable men who risked everything to protect their beloved nation. And when you've turned the last page, your perception will be forever changed about the true meaning of being one of America's atomic veterans.
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