Monday, September 26, 2016

The Wrong Stuff

The Wrong Stuff: The Adventures & Misadventures of an 8th Air Force Aviator by Truman Smith  368 pp.

Truman Smith was just 20 years old when he was sent to England to serve as a B-17 pilot. Between April and July of 1944 he flew 35 bombing missions over Europe, including during the D-Day attack on Normandy. The missions,were arduous, many lasting 8 hours or longer, under heavy anti-aircraft fire. It was not unusual to return to the base in England with 100+ bullet holes in their plane. When not flying, Smith and the rest of the flyers tried to live as much life as possible in the belief they wouldn't survive the next mission. Smith chronicles various escapades in London and other places, usually involving an excess of alcohol and sometimes women. Every time they reached the number of missions that would allow them to be moved to duty other than bombing missions. Smith is truthful about the comrades who were injured, killed, and/or suffered mental/emotional issues from the stress of their jobs. This is a view of World War II that is not shown in most historical literature.

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