On his nineteenth birthday, James E. Brown tries to fake to his flight instructor that he has flown before. On his twenty-first birthday, Brown is on his way home after logging eighty-five missions in a P-47 fighter over Italy, France, and Germany.
Brown’s stories surrounding his training and combat experiences in World War II reveal brushes with death, continuous peril and, ultimately, a coming of age for a young man whose freshman year in college becomes instead a heroic engagement with one of the fiercest enemies his country has ever encountered.
Ever dutiful to the mother who tells him to “write it down, Jamie,” Brown notes his experiences in the journal she provides and adds detail later to deliver a firsthand account of life as a pilot in the final months of combat within the European Theater.
Serving as Tail-End Charley – the last man out – in most of the missions he flew, Brown’s job was to record results for the interrogation officers afterward. But Brown offers much more insight in this memoir. Follow his triumphs and travails with colleagues who become lifelong compatriots during an indelible period in American history.