We Came to Fight a War: The Story of a B-17 Radio Gunner and His Pilot

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9781468163629: We Came to Fight a War: The Story of a B-17 Radio Gunner and His Pilot
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Merriam Press Military Monograph 19. On 15 April 1945, 1st Lt Bill Flynn completed his 25th bombing mission flying a B-17 with the 346th Bomb Squadron, 99th Bomb Group. On 25 May 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement" in combat. In July of that same year, at a General Court Martial, he was accused of “buzzing,” convicted of manslaughter and the destruction of government property. People were intimidated and encouraged to lie and 20-year-old Lt Flynn was stripped of his rank and benefits, dishonorably discharged, and sentenced to hard labor at a Federal Prison in New York. This book was written by Lt Flynn's radio gunner, Al Kotler, and Bill's brother, Jack Flynn. You will meet Bill, Al, and the rest of their crew, and fly with them on missions out of Foggia, Italy. Bill is no longer here to defend himself, so Al and Jack combined forces to present the full story of what really happened and to right a terrible wrong. Contents: ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; DEDICATION; PROLOGUE; Chapter 1: AL’S STORY: The Italian Alps; The Early Years; Pre-Flight; Radio and Gunnery; OTU (Operational Training Unit) Al Meets Bill and the Crew; Off To Italy; Chapter 2: THE WAR: Back to the Alps; Were We on Schindler’s List?; The Importance of Ice Cream; Reflections; A Day at the Beach or What?; The Tuskegee Guys; The Missions that Weren’t; Chapter 3: WALTER ... OR WHO PEED ON MY TURRET?: O’Neil’s .50 Caliber Oops; Heads Up ... or Out; Moe; The Milk Run; Anoxia, or the Little Red Bead; R & R: The Isle of Capri; The Blue Grotto; “Old Folks”; Chapter 4: THE TRANSITION: Just a Dog?; Chapter 5: POST WAR: Not Here. Not Now; The Pursuit of Happiness; Discharged; Getting My Life Together Again; Surprised, Shocked and Outraged; Changes; Thoughts About Bill; Chapter 6: THE SMOKING GUN: EPILOGUE; AFTERWORD. Second Edition (January 2012). 33 photos, illustrations, documents. Review by Rita Sullivan (via mail): Recently I read We Came To Fight A War. It was so descriptive you could almost see it happening and it was so well written that I could not put the book down because I wanted to see what would happen next to those brave men that were putting their lives on the line for us. I love war stories especially if they are fact. This story I am sure is true because I personally know Al Kotler. He is a neighbor and good friend of mine. It is hard to even try to imagine what our men are going through in these terrible wars when you try to picture what HELL this small group of men went through. You have a BEST SELLER in this book and I think it would also make a truly wonderful movie for TV.

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About the Author:

JACK FLYNN: Origin: North of Fenway Park. Writer, actor, taxi, bus and truck driver, factory and restaurant worker, softball playing Irish American. One of God's favorite semi-wayward pupils—spent ten years on the road, hitching East Coast, West Coast, 60s in the Haight/Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, North Beach, etc.—pendulum days, from profound joy to hopeless despair, until he finally learned that locomotion never solves nuttin'. These days, lookin' at it all from centerfield, he thinks life is pretty damned good. ALVIN E. KOTLER: For years and years, Al Kotler could not articulate his story. It was all much too private and painful to recount and/or reveal in any public way, until he ran into Flynn and they put this book together. Al finally let it out and he is glad he did. Today, people stop him at the doctor's office, the bank and the supermarket and thank him for what he did back then. Today, he is duly proud of what he and his buddies accomplished for America (especially the ones who didn't make it) and to have the opportunity to find justice for his fellow warrior, brother and Pilot, Bill Flynn.

Review:

MILITARY WRITERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA 
A wartime injustice is righted in this crisp, succinctly written memoir of a B 17 flight crew member. . .
. . . The result is this magnificent little gem of a book that does not waste a single word in telling it like it was. . . 
Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy  (2011)  MWSA

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