|NO OF PAGES||176|
|ILLUSTRATIONS||Photos & Illustrations|
At 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighing just 110 pounds, Bob Harper was below the minimum size requirements for US military service. As the demand for manpower increased, rules were bent, Harper's deferment was retracted, and he was drafted into the Army. Harper was deployed to the European front and survived 35 combat missions as a B-17 ball turret gunner. Based at airfields in England, Bob and the 381st Bomb Group flew brutal missions over heavily defended industrial centers in Germany. Harper was shot down twice and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Through his letters home, combat reports, and extensive interviews with author Bill Cullen, Harper describes his harrowing experiences on board the Flying Fortresses of the Eighth Air Force. Cullen's interviews with Harper, who is still alive as of the completion of the manuscript, took place over a period of years, and it is the anecdotes from the interviews that drive the majority of the narrative. The ball turret was located underneath the aircraft and was a confined, intense, and unique environment from which to experience combat during the Second World War. Readers will find Harper, who went on to a successful business career after the war, to be an insightful, witty, and engaging storyteller.
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