The author in flight gear after photo twelfth mission – second Air Medal (age nineteen)
He still wears lucky Air Cadet ring!
Hutch's third book contains short stories of boys on B-17 Flying Fortress crews in deadly missions with the Eighth Air Force in World War II and stories of his own teenage combat experiences as radio/gunner on twenty missions with the Mighty Eighth.
Teenagers enlisted or were drafted, trained and went into combat before they could legally vote or buy a drink. They volunteered to fly in the Army's Air Cadet Program and became a part of the greatest air armada in the world. Most of the gunners on a bomber crew were teenagers and the average age of officers was twenty-four. Veterans' memoirs and diaries give amazing reports of fighter attacks, flak damage and those who survived being shot down out to become Prisoners of War. These youngsters manned the planes that bombed and destroyed Germany’s military and war industry. The price of victory was high, with an extreme loss of aircrews and planes. Eighth Air Force losses were among the highest of any military unit.
Like the author, teenagers who survived to tell the stories of those great air battles are now in their mid-eighties and rapidly passing into history. See previous books "Through These Eyes" and "Bombs Away!" See a free DVD at http://video.smithville.net/?p=17 for interviews of the author with actual WW II combat film footage.