By Don S. Gentile
After shooting down thirty German airplanes, the equivalent of nearly two whole Luftwaffe squadrons, Gentile is rightly respected as one of America’s greatest ever air aces.
Gentiles’s personal account of life fighting through the skies of World War Two provides fascinating insight into the mind of this young pilot.
The feelings of engaging an enemy in a dogfight, of having a Messerschmidtt close on your tail, and of soaring into the air in Spitfires, Thunderbolts and Mustangs are all encompassed within this memoir.
The admiration that Gentile commanded was demonstrated when General Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the pilot with the Distinguished Flying Cross and stated, “You are a One-Man Air Force.”
Gentile, in the course of this short book, takes the reader from his earliest memories of wanting to learn to fly through to his entry into the Second World War, through the course of three hundred and fifty combat hours in one hundred and eighty-two sorties, up to the moment when he was removed from front line combat in 1944.
“This is not only the story of ‘a one-man air force’ against the Huns; nor is it only a story of the fluctuations, failures and successes of our air war against the Luftwaffe. It is also the story of a new type of American– one who has been growing up all around this older generation of ours, sometimes, it seems, while we were hardly looking and who will be ready to take over and make use of the air power that is predicted now to lie just beyond the war.” Ira S. Wolfert.
After surviving all the Germans could muster, he was killed in 1951 in a simple crash of a jet trainer while testing near Andrews AFB, Maryland. He was posthumously promoted to major and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton. This work was published shortly after he finished front line duty in 1944.