Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why did we write Fogg in the Cockpit?

Fogg in the Cockpit began and ended as a labor of love, but the focus of that love changed as the work unfolded. Howard Fogg's legacy was already firmly established thanks to his success as a railroad artist, but what son or daughter-in-law could resist the opportunity to build on that legacy when presented with a document as fascinating as a wartime diary? The format is compelling: no facts lost or colored by time, the trivial and the significant presented with equal clarity, and events offered up not through the veil of nostalgia but simply as fact. This then, was the basis and the inspiration for Fogg in the Cockpit.

And then the unexpected. The secondary players, men whose names would never appear on an internet search engine, took on a life of their own. Men who helped win the war and then came home to lead quiet lives. Men who, far too often, did not come home. The book was not just about Captain Fogg anymore, it was about the 359th Fighter Group; its pilots, officers, and support personnel. The supporting cast became stars, and the love of Howard Fogg, with whom we shared a lifetime, became a love of the men of the 359th, men we would never have had the privilege and honor of knowing if not for Fogg in the Cockpit.



Green Hornet” P-51 with "A" Flight, 368th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group. Clockwise from lower left: Lieutenant Wilbur H. Lewis (standing), Captain Howard L. Fogg, Lieutenant John B. Hunter, Lieutenant Paul E. Olson, and Lieutenant Joseph M. Ashenmacher.

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