He Wore a Pair of Silver Wings: The World War II Memoir of a Lightning Recon Pilot Thomas K. Follis

ISBN: 9781470015190

Published: February 10th 2012


208 pages


He Wore a Pair of Silver Wings: The World War II Memoir of a Lightning Recon Pilot  by  Thomas K. Follis

He Wore a Pair of Silver Wings: The World War II Memoir of a Lightning Recon Pilot by Thomas K. Follis
February 10th 2012 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, audiobook, mp3, ZIP | 208 pages | ISBN: 9781470015190 | 6.36 Mb

Merriam Press Military Monograph 80. Fifth Edition (February 2012). This is not a typical War Story that begins... There I was at 25,000 feet with two Me 262 German jets on my tail..., even though that actually did happen. Many of those stories have been vividly related in some fine books written by real war heroes. Instead, this book begins with an immature 18-year-old boy being inducted into the Army Air Corps in 1942 and follows his day-by-day activities from Private to Aviation Cadet through the various flying schools-Primary, Basic and Advanced. He finally earns the coveted Silver Wings of a pilot as an officer.

Later, after surviving combat missions in an unarmed F-5 (Lockheed P-38 Lightning) photo reconnaissance aircraft in the bloody skies over the Mediterranean Theater of Operations where more than 15,000 brave young airmen of the Fifteenth Air Force perished, he is swiftly rotated back to the United States in preparation for redeployment for the invasion of Japan. This invasion was mercifully obviated by the atomic bomb. In World War II, air superiority made the invasion of Europe possible.

Air superiority made the invasion of Japan unnecessary. He details many colorful experiences, covering his induction, pre-flight and various other flying schools. Toms accounts about his assignments at San Severo, Italy, with the 32nd Photo Recon Squadron, 5th Photo Group, Fifteenth Army Air Force, are accurate and explicit with numerous photographs and illustrations added to the book. Contents: Dedication- Foreword- Preface- Introduction- Chapter 1: Prelude- Chapter 2: The Big Day Arrives and Im Off to War-Sort Of- Chapter 3: College Boy Again- Chapter 4: An Aviation Cadet-at Last!- Chapter 5: Into the Air- Chapter 6: Flying the Vultee Vibrator and the Bamboo Bomber- Chapter 7: The B-25-A Real Warbird- Chapter 8: The Role of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning in Winning World War II and the Contribution of Aerial Photo Reconnaissance- Chapter 9: Across the Atlantic in a Wartime Convoy- Chapter 10: Going in Harms Way- Chapter 11: Ill Be Home for Christmas- Chapter 12: Conclusion- Chapter 13: Where Are They Now?- Chapter 14: What Has Happened to the Various Military Bases?- Bibliography- 37 photos- 4 illustrations- 1 map.

OFFERS FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON THE LOT OF A PHOTO-RECONNAISSANCE PILOT IN WWII EUROPE: Review by W. Montgomery: Im grateful to Mr. Follis (the author) for making me aware of an aspect of the Second World War that has been so little remarked upon or fully appreciated: the contribution made by photo-reconnaisance pilots in the Allied war effort.

This is a wonderful and well-written book. The author describes his experiences from the time he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) as an Aviation Cadet, through the various phases of training, to his assignment (after earning his coveted silver wings) as a photo-reconnaisance pilot in the latter part of 1944, flying P-38 Lightnings out of Italy.

The details of some of the harrowing missions that the author flew deep in enemy territory (at times as far as Munich, Germany, where the Luftwaffe kept some of its ME 262 jet fighters on hand to counter such incursions into its airspace) were fascinating to read. As a reader, I felt I was in the plane with Mr. Follis as he carefully went about his job of photographing enemy installations, while being ever vigilant (even with a small fighter escort) for enemy fighters and flak. The P-38 Lightning was a remarkable airplane and the authors love for it shines through on every page.

(Ive been a fan of the P-38 myself since reading Martin Caidins book about this beautiful airplane 20 years ago.) The photographs in the book (several of them from the authors personal collection) provide an extra nice touch. This book is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Follis comrades of the 32nd Photo Recon Squadron, 5th Photo Group, 15th Air Force (USAAF). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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