Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fogg in the Cockpit

For many people the iconic B-17 bomber is the face of the US Army 8th Air Force's participation in the European Theater of World War II. Their missions deep into the heartland of industrial Germany helped turn the tide of war, but they could not have succeeded if it were not for the protection afforded them by the pilots of their long range fighter escorts.

One such pilot was Howard Fogg. Prior to his distinguished career, which spanned six decades and often saw him referred to as the dean of American railroad artists, Captain Fogg kept a diary during his combat tour in England. Based at US Army Air Force Station 133 northeast of London, Fogg flew a total of 76 missions in both bomber escort and ground attack roles.

From a backstage encounter in a London theater with Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, to the pre-dawn chaplain's benediction on June 6, 1944, to a mission escorting B-17s flying down a valley in the snow capped French Alps as they dropped supplies to French freedom fighters, Fogg in the Cockpit offers a first hand look at his fascinating and often unexpected story.

Uncolored by time and subsequent events, this is not a memoir but the gritty day to day life of a fighter pilot documented as it unfolded.

 The diary, presented in its entirety, is augmented with a wealth of additional material, including a biography, period photographs, examples of Howard's art from both before and during his career, excerpts from the base chaplain's monthly reports, and supplementary details which enhance many of the terms and events referenced in the diary.

Ultimately, Fogg in the Cockpit is more than just the story of one man's service. It presents the reader with a unique perspective during a pivotal moment in world history, as the Allies gained momentum for their final push to victory.

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