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Bomber Pilot

A Memoir of World War II

Philip Ardery

Publication Year: 2013

" Winner of the Best Aeronautical Book Award from the Reserve Officers Association of the United States "The sky was full of dying airplanes" as American Liberator bombers struggled to return to North Africa after their daring low-level raid on the oil refineries of Ploesti. They lost 446 airmen and 53 planes, but Philip Ardery's plane came home. This pilot was to take part in many more raids on Hitler's Europe, including air cover for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. This vivid firsthand account, available now for the first time in paper, records one man's experience of World War II air warfare. Throughout, Ardery testifies to the horror of world war as he describes his fear, his longing for home, and his grief for fallen comrades. Bomber Pilot is a moving contribution to American history.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Bomber Pilot

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pp. i-ii


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p. iii-iii


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p. iv-iv


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

A man who goes to war takes part in an event which the merger of national effort and individual experience makes more profound than any other he may ever know. His nation may rise or fall and, if he sees combat, his own life is at stake. The awesome...


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pp. xi-xii

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Prologue: On the Shoulders of the Dead

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pp. 1-4

It was the early spring of 1944 and I had just completed a combat tour of heavy bombardment missions. I was a wing operations officer. I was standing on the control tower of one of the airdromes in our wing in East Anglia near Norwich waiting for the...

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1 The Gadget

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pp. 5-29

In the summer of 1940 I was a lawyer in active practice, twenty-six years old, two years out of Harvard Law School, and five years out of the University of Kentucky. My parents' home was in Bourbon County, just outside of Paris, Kentucky, on the road...

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2 The Merry-Go-Round

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pp. 30-58

San Angelo was then a town of about 30,000 in the eastern beginning of what is called West Texas. It is about 225 miles northwest of San Antonio. The land is high and cool. Less of the moisture-laden gulf air gets over this part of Texas than over San Antonio....

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3 Ted's Flying Circus

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pp. 59-95

The crews of my squadron came into the staging area the last of the group. This was in accord with the way the movement out of Denver was ordered. I was determined not to get left behind, and so when I got into staging I did everything I could to rush...

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4 Ploesti and the Circus Ends

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pp. 96-133

When we left England for Africa we heard rumors about a great raid we were to run. The stories hinted at a maximum-range mission to be Hown at low altitude. The first one I heard, which was typically weird for the Air Corps, was that we were going on...

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5 The Air War of Western Europe

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pp. 134-185

Once again in England there was much rearrangement work to be done in order to get the group in shape to Hy as a proper part of the Eighth Air Force. It was evident that the days of Ted's Flying Circus were gone. The group was merged into a large...

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6 The Wing

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pp. 186-219

On March 24, 1944, I completed my tour in the prophetically named Liberator Round Trip Ticket. Almost at once I was given orders transferring me to the wing. I felt a strong attachment to my oId group and was glad the wing headquarters were located...

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7 Something to Believe In

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pp. 220-226

When I got back to the base I took an early opportunity to go to General Ted with something that had been on my mind ever since June 13, 1943, over a year before, on the day I landed in Prestwick, Scotland. When I went to the wing to be operations...


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pp. 227-235


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pp. a-ff

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143415
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813113791

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013