Book: We Came to Fight a War - The Story of a B-17 Radio Gunner and his Pilot by Jack Flynncategories: Book, B-17, Army Air Force, Court Martial, DFC, World War II, B-17 Pilot, Flying Fortress, Courage, Injustice, Smoking Gun, Tuskegee Escorts, Military Memoir
John M. Flynnabout this book: We Came to Fight a War/as remembered by Alvin E. Kotler and told to Jack Flynn.
I first met 84 year old Alvin Kotler at my brother's wake on St. Patrick's day, 2008. He approached the coffin, pinned a pair of silver wings on Bill's lapel, stepped back and saluted.
Bill Flynn was an Irish American kid from Wakefield Massachusetts and Alvin E. Kotler was a Jewish American kid from Malden, Massachusetts. They grew up seven miles from each other and first met at the Operational Training Unit in Gulfport, Mississippi where Bill trained as a B-17 Pilot and Al was a Radio/Gunner.
They completed their training, were shipped overseas to Foggia Italy and flew their first combat mission to Blechammer, Germany on December 2nd, 1944. On April 15th, 1945, they completed their 25th bombing mission and on May 25th, that same year, 1st Lieutenant Bill Flynn was awarded The Distinguished Flying cross for "extraordinary achievement" in combat.
Yes, this is a war story — a war story that takes you viscerally through heart pounding moments of aerial combat and the reactions, feelings and reflections that go with it. But as it unfolds, a larger story emerges — an outrageous story of a grave injustice perpetrated by the U.S. Military on one of their best — a true story involving a terrible and deadly accident, which jump started an egregious wrong to be inflicted upon a young patriot who didn't have the means or the connections to fight back. In the end, this war story evolves to issues beyond forbearance and courage in battle to larger issues of loyalty, integrity, justice, injustice, and a friend and brother's attempt to right a grievous wrong.
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