The Flying Circus

The Flying Circus

Pacific War-1943-as Seen Through A Bombsight

Book - 2005
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Globe Fearon Co
A personal account of World War II, from a legendary Texas congressman.

In the late evening of April 24, 1943, the first of thirty-six B-24 Liberator bombers, manned by skeleton crews, lifted off from the airstrip at Hamilton Field, just north of San Francisco. The planes were en route to Australia and flew singly, takeoffs scheduled five minutes apart to ensure secrecy. On board was twenty-year-old James C. Wright, who went on to serve in congress for thirty-four years, serving as the Speaker of the House from 1987 to 1989.

It was the first of five legs in the overseas movement of the 380th Heavy Bomb Group, known to a small circle within the Army Air Corps as “The Flying Circus.” Wright was a second lieutenant trained as a bombardier, with just a few hours of “stick time.” He was wholly unprepared for this first night leg of the journey into the Pacific combat zone, and for the horrors of war to follow.

Wright takes the reader to the slapped-together base camp in a desolate section of Australia, close to the Japanese bases with whom the 380th traded raids almost nightly. Wright flies sorties over kangaroo wastelands and into Timor, as well as into “Suicide Alley,” where lay the airfields on the heavily defended Solomon Islands.

The Flying Circus is about the action, but it’s also about the melting pot that was the army greeting a young man from Texas, what it took to be the bombardier--whose proficiency made or broke missions—and what formed a man who would stand astride the national stage for more than three decades.

Publisher: Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, c2005
ISBN: 9781592286560
Characteristics: x, 214 p. : ill. ; cm


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