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Tales of the 319th

'Men of Courage' are not built on brash talk. They are built by shared confrontation of fear and challenge. These are the men of the 319th Bomb Group, soldiers who fought in Africa, Europe and the Pacific against all three Axis powers. Their chronicler, Joseph W. "Joe" Connaughton, was a young man who dreamed of flying as the dark clouds of war touched the shores of America. Those dreams brought him from college life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to the Army Air Corps in Roswell and the aircrew culture he grew to love. He graduated an officer from the Army's bombardier training and was ordered to Sardinia where he arrived in May of 1944 for posting with the 319th which had already earned a reputation for daring raids and accurate bombing. Along with his fellow aviators, the author's journey to and with the 319th Bomb Group was a mutual journey of indelible experiences that enriched not only their bond, but also the future with their families and professions. Tales of the 319th is a series of chronological stories based on interviews of the men who survived as well as those of the author. The "Tales" reveal their beginning as well as the sacrifices and trials that hardened these men of the air and brought about their ultimate success. Experience their journey through the vivid description of battle and the revelry and strength of camaraderie. What emerges is a ringing endorsement of the intelligence, perseverance, and, yes, courage of these men of what many view as the "finest generation." Included in this memoir are numerous photos and maps to bring a greater understanding of not only the emotions of these young men and their leaders, but also the background canvas of military strategy and information necessary to tell the tales. Among the many luminaries of this famous group were one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, Donald "Deke" Slayton, a good friend of Joe's, their respected commander and later four-star Air Force General, Randall "Randy" Holzapple, and pioneering television moderator for CBS' Meet the Press, William Monroe.
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