My new book with Bob Dorr, Hell Hawks!: The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler’s Wehrmacht, is reviewed in the latest issue of Aviation History magazine.
Former National Air & Space Museum director Walter F. Boyne (Col., USAF, retired) says of our story:
“Hell Hawks! tells the story of the 365th Fighter Group, which fought a little-known war packed with riveting action. It departs from the standard format of unit histories—usually photographic compilations accompanied by a day-to-day resume of events gleaned from official accounts—by relying on a beautifully written narrative, bolstered by firsthand accounts, to chronicles the hard-hitting fighter group…
“This is an intensely personal recounting of one of the most successful air campaigns in history. While it has more than its share of gripping battle stories, its defining element is the vivid presentation of the personalities of ordinary men doing extraordinary things. Hell Hawks! sets a new and defining standard for unit histories. It includes 16 pages of excellent photos—and best of all it doesn’t forget to tip the hat of history to the enlisted and noncommissioned personnel who made it possible for the pilots to be heroes.”
Bob and I are gratified by Col. Boyne’s review, a further tribute to the men we wrote about, the pilots and ground crews of the 365th Fighter Group “Hell Hawks”, just one of the eighteen fighter groups in the Ninth Air Force who helped defeat the German army.
Victor Lopez says
Great Read, My Dad was a Hell Hawk and I am so proud too be the son of a Hell Hawk. This book is amazing, I learned so much about what my Dad did in the war. Thank you for writing it.
Hi Victor — Is Ed your father, and Gabe your brother? Great to meet you and hear your comments.
Doug Worthy says
Hello again Mr. Jones
Sorry I forgot to attach the story…here it is:
World War Two Mercy Flight?
(By Doug Worthy)
This is another WW II story my co-worker, George Wagasky told me when flying combat missions in Europe.
2nd Lieutenant George Wagasky was flying his Republic Aviation built P-47 Thunderbolt on a search and destroy mission near the end of the war with Germany. He was with the 9th Air Force and belonged to the 386th Hell-Hawks squadron.
On this particular flight George spotted a Fi. 156 German Fieseler Storch plane flying very low. This plane was used for various roles, such as reconnaissance/scouting and transportation for personnel, etc. It was slow but an excellent plane for these roles and carried no armament. The plane was perfect for short take-offs and landings sometimes in rough areas, not runways. This is an example of what it looked like, although camouflaged differently for the area where it was used.
As George descended for the attack, the German pilot realized he was an easy target and chose to land immediately which he did. He jumped from the plane and took cover behind a near by barn. George destroyed the plane with his eight 50 caliber machine guns and then decided to have a little fun with the pilot, as he called it. He wheeled about and headed for the barn side where the panicky German pilot was trying to hide. As George approached, this pilot sprinted to another side of the barn, but George wheeled around and came after him again. George really didn’t intend to kill this pilot and eventually flew back to his base.
Epilogue: After WW II George decided to stay in the Air Force and retired as a Major. He had 32 missions to his credit, and five medals, one of them a Purple Heart. He passed away suddenly at the age of 88 in April of 2012. His one son also joined the Air Force.