When World War II began, American boys by the millions enlisted or were drafted into the military, and the transition from civilian to soldier was set in motion. I was age 21 at the time I enlisted in the Air Corps in August 1942 with the hope that I could become a fighter pilot. Because there was a shortage of training facilities, I was not called to active duty until February 1943. The photographs and brief captions below will allow you to trace one man’s trail from being a young civilian to gradually becoming a war-weary combat fighter pilot in Europe.
Snapshots of me from civilian life through phases of military and flight training, then into combat, and finally nearing the end of my wartime journey: