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“A poignant piece of history beautifully narrated by a man for whom I have much respect and affection.”

—Karen Shulin

 

  Ready or Not: Into the Wild Blue
The Aviation Career of a B-17 Bomber Pilot, 457th Bomb Group

300 pages, paperback
 

ForEward
by Michael Angier

When I was four years old, I remember sitting at the dining room table with my mother and brothers when we heard a loud—and to me—unfamiliar noise. We ran outside just in time to see the fighter jet make another low pass over the house as it streaked across the sky—afterburners aglow. I’d seen planes before, but this was different—this was my dad.

Coincidentally, my father’s story begins when he was about the same age. In 1927 Vermont, such a sighting was a rare occurrence. Lindbergh had yet to make his famous solo across the Atlantic. Jet planes weren’t to be seen for another 20 years.

Ever since he saw his first flying machine, my father has had a passionate obsession with planes and aviation. His aeronautical career spanned three decades, stretching from open-cockpit biplanes to supersonic jets. His love of flying is exceeded only by his love of family and country.

My father has always been a hero to me. My dad’s war stories of valor and courage in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds have always been fascinating and inspiring.

Of all of his accomplishments, I think those months as a pilot and crew leader were the pinnacle of his life. To paraphrase Churchill, “It was his finest hour.”

During the last year of World War II, the Eighth Air Force pounded the German manufacturing plants, railroads and atomic labs, which brought an end to the evil Nazi war machine that so threatened the world’s freedom.

We owe the “Mighty Eighth” an eternal debt of gratitude. Few people know how close we came to the annihilation of freedom and democracy. Had Germany successfully completed the atomic bomb before we did, it would have been all over. The world would not be the same.

Dad has never fully recovered from his war injuries. He’s suffered from chronic back, neck and shoulder pain ever since. As recently as five years ago, he dug a piece of shrapnel from his skin after it had spent more than fifty years traveling through his body. In spite of his many ailments, he married, farmed for over forty years, raised five boys and flew in the Air and Army National Guard.

My father instilled in me and my brothers a sense of responsibility and a commitment to what’s right that hasn’t always been easy to live up to. I think everyone, deep down, wants to make a lasting difference in the world. My father did that in many ways and continues to be an inspiration for me to do something good with my life.

Once, during a discussion about epitaphs on tombstones, I asked my father what he would want on his. He said he would like it to be very simple. He wanted it to read, “Farmer and Patriot.”

It’s been a pleasure and an honor for me to produce and publish this book. As many times as I’ve heard my father relate his experiences, they’ve always been enthralling to me. I know they will be for you, too.

This book is the story of his career in aviation. In it, you’ll learn of the people and experiences that shaped his life. You’ll come to understand his passion for flying. You’ll feel the pain of his struggle and survival. You’ll see how the events of the war impacted his life and so many others.

You will get to know the man I call “Dad”.

—Michael Angier,
second son of five

     
 

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