|About the Book|
On a wintry morning in 1952, young Lt. Arthur L. Haarmeyer reported for duty in Korea as a B-26 bombardier-navigator to Colonel Delwin Bentley, Commander, 95th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group, K-9 Air Force Base, Pusan. Haarmeyer was immediatelyMoreOn a wintry morning in 1952, young Lt. Arthur L. Haarmeyer reported for duty in Korea as a B-26 bombardier-navigator to Colonel Delwin Bentley, Commander, 95th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group, K-9 Air Force Base, Pusan. Haarmeyer was immediately challenged by the colonel: Youve got an MBA from a high-priced university. You could be riding a desk at the Pentagon right now. So why the hell are you here? His reply--I always wanted to be here, sir. I can be an accountant later--was apparently convincing. But over the next seven months, flying fifty missions, mostly low-level nighttime bombing and strafing raids over mountainous North Korea, there were times when he had reason to question the sanity of both his response and his decision. In this book Haarmeyer recalls with clarity and economy of style just what it was like to fly these missions. He puts the reader in the B-26, flying into deep valleys to find and attack communist freight trains and truck convoys carrying men and materiel to the front lines, and then being unexpectedly caught in the sudden and blinding glare of enemy searchlights that triggered multiple streams of deadly and upward-arcing green or white tracers. And he recalls instances of agony, guilt, and terror: such as the times when the flak was so heavy on all sides that he was unable to advise his pilot to break right or break left--so their B-26 just simply plowed straight through it, or when they flew low enough for Haarmeyer to see, through the Plexiglas of the nose compartment, the terrified faces of the young North Korean soldiers they were targeting. He also recalls moments of breathtaking beauty and poignancy, and it is this artful juxtaposition that makes Haarmeyers work more than just another wartime memoir. Although Haarmeyer left the Air Force upon completion of his four years of military service, the recurring and troubling memories of Korea never left him. Hence, the start of this manuscript fifty years after the restoration of freedom to the people of the Republic of Korea. Just as telling these stories was therapeutic for the author, so reading them will be healing for any reader who is a veteran of that or any war, as well as their family members and friends. The book also provides a valuable perspective on the United Nations Commands tactical approach to Korea, namely, the aerial interdiction of North Korean troops and materiel, and so it will be of interest to students of the war, as well as military personnel and historians.