Fly a Big Tin Bird
This book is a collection of true stories about Peterson's, his crew's, and others' experiences during World War II. Peterson flew thirty-two missions in B-17s over Germany with the 379th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. The stories take the reader through flight training and on into combat, ranging in focus from frustrations with service life to troubles with "the brass", all told in "barracks" language with many humorous incidents included.
Like fishermen, pilots like to tell stories, and like fish stories they often improve with the telling. However, in the days in which these accounts took place, if a storyteller got carried away and the credibility of his tale became questionable, his audience had an effective way of putting him down. In unison they would interrupt "And there I was at thirty thousand feet flying flat on my back and hanging by my jock strap."
I suppose every man views the universe from a different point of which he is the center. In war, when events move so rapidly and the participant runs the gauntlet of life with such uncontrollable intensity, this fact becomes violently true. The human body experiences more of the experiences of life in one month of combat than in an entire lifetime of normal living. Fear, despair, horror, hate, love and passion reach incredible highs and lows as the person is swept along in the swirling violence of war. Each man sees only a small part of the big scene, of course, but this part becomes a very personal thing to him and it is etched into his memory forever -- should he survive.
This then, is my war. The stories that I have tried to put down here for posterity, assuming posterity is interested, are incidents that happened to me personally or to friends and acquaintances in the old Army Air Corps during World War II.
I have taken the liberty of changing the names of some individuals to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent. Otherwise, these stories are true -- HONEST.