P-38 Lighting: Unforgettable Missions of Skill and Luck

P-38The Book

The P-38 National Association wants to put YOU in the cockpit of the greatest combat airplane of World War II with remembrances of the P-38 Lightning as told by the people who were there. Compiled from the archives of the P-38 National Association membership publication, “Lightning Strikes,” this book contains some of the most dramatic, heart-wrenching and humorous stories as told by the combat pilots, ground crews and other personnel who had hands-on experiences with the P-38 Lightning.

Included in the book are numerous historical photos of the personnel and the plane along with tales of bravery and humor which took place before, during and after the war. The book also includes stories about the design, development and production of the P-38.

The Authors

Compiled and edited by noted aviation author, historian and “Lightning Strikes” editor Steve Blake and author and historian Dayle DeBry. Introduction by P-38 National Association President Bob Alvis.

My Thoughts

I’ve been a member of the P-38 National Association for decades, so learned about this book as soon as it was available. It’s dedicated to all World War II veterans and their families, and to the pilots and crews of the P-38 Lightning who proudly served their country and left a legacy for us to continue and uphold.

Chapter One details the design, development, productions, and modifications of the fighter plane. Chapter Two includes stories of the P-38 stateside.

Chapters Three through Six tell about each theater of operations the Lightning served in: Pacific, China-Burma-India, Mediterranean, and European. Italy was included in the Mediterranean ETO so I was especially interested in it, since one of Iowa’s Wilson brothers was based there with the 15th AF, 14th FG, 37th Fighter Squadron. (He was lost on a mission in Austria February 19, 1945.)

Chapter Seven gives the history of the plane after the war, and Chapter Eight includes miscellaneous Lightning Stories.

The book is thoroughly entertaining, from experimenting with landings and takeoffs with retractable skis, to well-known pilots (Charles Lindbergh, ace Dick Bong, even General Jimmie Doolittle).

It told about each layer of clothing needed for high-altitude escort missions, which I took note of because Danny Wilson sent home photos of himself bundled up.

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