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The Mighty Eighth in WWII


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Brig. Gen. J. Kemp McLaughlin, USAFR (Ret.) joined the U.S. Air Corps in 1941, then went to Europe the following year as a member of ""Fame's Favored Few,"" the 92nd Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force. He returned to the States in 1945 and organized the Air National Guard of West Virginia in 1947, which he commanded for thirty years.


In 1942, then Lieutenant McLaughlin went to Europe as a B-17 pilot of the 92nd Bomb Group, or "Fame's Favored Few"Äthe first active unit of the Eighth Air Force. He returned as a lieutenant colonel in 1945, having survived 40 combat missions and serving as group operations officer; later, he led the West Virginia Air National Guard from 1947 to 1977, including a stint of active duty in Korea. McLaughlin, now retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve, here links chronological anecdotes of life in and out of combat during his stint with the Eighth, adding explanations of how the air force actually functioned and grew in experience and size to achieve victory, along with very generous dollops of veterans' gossip. Colleagues contribute substantial commentaries on exploits or maneuvers. McLaughlin himself comes across as a jaunty bomber-jock who let little get by him. (For example, McLaughlin explains the origin of combat film collected by William Wyler and used in film classics like Twelve O'Clock High and Memphis Belle). Fans of I-was-there testimonies will find the general an amiable, well-spoken guide to his corner of the war ("To this day I remember walking up the fuselage to the belly hatch under the cockpit, where Tyre Weaver had bailed out and where Lt. Bob Campbell had died"), but the book won't generate interest outside of the genre. Illus. not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

This book should be on the shelves of all those who are interested in the Allies' massive raids over Germany. It is a standout effort by one who was there - well worth the price of admission. - Flight Journal ""This is an astounding inside look at the Mighty Eighth which we have not seen before."" - Hollywood Inside Syndicate ""His crisp, clear narratives of the youthful hijinks of flyers in foreign lands, and of facing death in the skies, put a human face on that wave of men who fought for freedom in the skies over Europe."" - WTBF Radio

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