Wings Over Normandy


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This is a story about one young man of Irish immigrant parents growing up in San Francisco and entering the Army shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

During his high school years, he worked at the Fisherman’s Wharf on weekends, where he fell in love with the daughter of a fishing boat skipper. This relationship ends in tragedy as the war begins. After joining the military service, he qualifies for flight school and then goes to Europe as the pilot of a B-26 medium attack bomber—the type that was used almost exclusively during the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944.
Following a crash and while recuperating from physical and emotional exhaustion from a bombing mission in France, his flight surgeon sends him off for a stay with friends in a small fishing village on the eastern coast of Ireland. There, he finds renewed vigor for life, especially in the mutual interest of the daughter of this loving family who is coming of age. They eventually marry and return to San Francisco to start a new life together.

Having had a father who served in WWII as a medical officer and because of my life-long interest in aviation as a private pilot, I was drawn to write a historical account of the great Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944, and the events leading up to it. I was prompted to develop this into a story involving one young man and his experiences, so the work is classified as historical fiction—even though the events of the war are historically accurate. In addition, my undergraduate training in political science and history piqued my interest in exploring the geographical events leading up to the emergence of the war. I see this story as a tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Eight Air Force in Europe and the Royal Air Force of Great Britain—and my father.


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