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xv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work started as an idea for a graduate thesis provided by my thesis adviser, Dr. Gordon Bakken. When I told him I wanted to write about bombers, he suggested a topic waiting for a historian to uncover its secrets: why we switched to incendiary bombing against Japan during World War II. To him I am continuously grateful for the idea, the mentorship, and the guidance. Cheers to you! And cheers to Dr. Robert McLain and Dr. Stephen Neufeld, who sat on my thesis committee and gave important feedback that helped make a thesis a book. Thank you to John Ebbe at Servite High School. When I was a long shot for advanced-placement U.S. history you took a chance on me and ignited my love of history—your class fired my mind like no other. I went down a path of history study because of your inspiration , and what a cool path it has been. I give my thanks to Mike Runion, who has been my friend for the majority of my life, and to Steve Colletti, Mike Nangano, John Martin, Carl Roza-Pereria, and Mark Bradshaw at war gaming each week. Your friendship, feedback, encyclopedic knowledge, and vast libraries made writing this book bearable. Steve deserves special mention as both a friend and colleague. The long discussions and debates on all manner of things add immeasurably to my efforts as a historian and as a person. Your proofreading abilities, too, were a boon as you discovered a spelling error that would have made this book more of a legal history than a military one. Credit and thanks for bringing my manuscript to Potomac Books go to Elizabeth Demers, and for guiding me through the editing pro- acknowledgments xvi cess to Bridget Barry, Sabrina Ehmke Sergeant, Sabrina Stellrecht, and Jonathan Lawrence. Having navigators in the publishing world is a must, and you are four of the best. Credit and thanks also go to the people who helped pull the sources together: the interlibrary loan team at Cal State Fullerton, for finding all the volumes published by the ussbs; the folks at the Air Force Historical Research Center, for their patience with my questions and their diligence pulling all the records I needed; and last but not least, Brett Stolle and the archives staff at the U.S. Air Force Museum, for their help and hospitality. There would not be pictures in this book without Brett. And if the reader has never been to Dayton, Ohio, to visit the museum, go there now; it is that cool. This story would not be possible without the brave men of the 20th Air Force. Writing this as I fly back to Los Angeles, my palms are sweating from the rumble of turbulence and landscape creeping by so small below, I cannot imagine doing it day after day, over the target, a thousand miles from base, braving flak and fighters, especially when it all seemed like it was not working. Your finest hour deserves more credit and serves as an example of the courage, fortitude , and devotion to freedom that America can be. The final thanks is usually saved for the most important people , and this is no exception. God blessed me with a wonderful and supportive family, so to my sister and mother, who put up with my quirks and historical obsessions I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to my father, who did not live to see this and to whom this book is dedicated, thank you for being the most important role model in my life. ...


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