The Dungaree Pilot: A WWII U.S. Navy Sailor with a Dream to Fly; And Where That Dream Landed Him
The Dungaree Pilot is the biography of a WWII U.S. Navy sailor with a dream to fly, and where that dream landed him. His passion to become a U.S. naval aviator found its home in his heart at the tender age of fifteen during the Great Depression. It began one summer afternoon while lying in the sand on a New Jersey beach. From his unique vantage point, he witnessed small navy planes fly in and out of the belly of the airship, USS Akron. His biography traces his family heritage and deep roots in New Jersey that served as his permanent foundation during an uncertain career. It focuses on the life-threatening experiences he faced in pursuing his goal. The up close explosion of the Hindenburg while assigned to its ground crew and his unusual escape from the attack on Pearl Harbor via a bottle of whiskey were just a couple of his near misses. As a navy pilot, he risked his life during WWII in an assignment to bomb German subs in the Atlantic and Caribbean and later flew a test flight through an actual atomic bomb blast. A crash-landing in a New York cemetery and a lightning strike late at night over the dark Atlantic added to the threats on his life. His story represents the thousands of undecorated and unrecognized heroes of the greatest generation. The experiences of two decorated heroes, Elwood's close friends, are paralleled throughout his own story. His high school buddy, Bob Case, became a WWII Army Air Corps flying ace in the Pacific. The other, Eddie Bronson, was a forgotten childhood school chum, with whom Elwood was reunited at the navy indoctrination center in Philadelphia. Three ships were sunk beneath him, the last of which led to three and a half years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and the revenge imposed on the captors at the war's end.
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