Combat Crew: A True Story of Flying and Fighting in World War II

John Comer, Author William Morrow & Company $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-07614-6
The author served as flight engineer and gunner in a B-17 crew during World War II, flying from bases in England and Italy. In this memoir he confines himself to describing the 25 missions he took part in that were launched from Ridgewell Airdrome outside of London. Although the problems and terrors from flight to flight were often similarGerman fighters and flak barrages, engine troubles and oxygen failureseach mission, as he describes it, takes on a quality of its own. Much of the drama is conveyed through Comer's reconstruction of intercom dialogue, and though some of the characters seem stereotypical (the con artist, the clown, the Brooklynite, etc.) they nevertheless come across as real people. Comer casually mentions the development of his psychic ability to discern which of his comrades were doomed. He also discusses the phenomenon of combat burnout, using his own case as an example. Despite his fatigue, he volunteered to return to combat after an interim tour of duty in the States and flew 50 more missions. Comer, now a retired sales manager, lives in Texas. (February 16)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-671-67613-1
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