Diary of 22nd BG Navigator Published

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Edward
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Diary of 22nd BG Navigator Published

Post by Edward » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:12 pm

Red Raider Diary is a compilation of the 1942-1943 wartime diaries of Merrill Thomas Dewan, who served as a navigator in the 408th Squadron of the 22nd Bomb Group. Thomas survived the war and died in 1963 but his diary remained hidden along with other wartime memorabilia and wasn’t discovered until late 2008 when it was made available to his son Thomas Dewan. Thomas was born while his father was still in Australia.

Merrill Dewan arrived in Australia in May 1942 and immediately began flying missions against Rabaul and Lae. He survived a crash landing and numerous bouts with dengue and malaria. Majority of diary is devoted to down time. Dewan recounts his combat missions with great emotion.

The cost is $12-$15 though you can download a digital copy for less through the publisher. Available through Amazon as hard copy or Kindle download.

You can get a good preview of the book through Google Books.
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Thomas, a resident of New Stauton, Virginia and a Virginia Tech alumnus, had followed his father’s career path into the Air Force and, eventually, on to a career in both federal and state law enforcement. Having recently retired, he and his wife, Patricia, transcribed the diary from longhand, assembled background information and period photographs from relatives and surviving former crew-members, and had “Red Raider Diary” published by Rosedog Books in late 2009.

Immediately upon arrival in the Southwest Pacific, 22nd Bomb Group crews were pressed into action, flying against targets in northern New Guinea, where the Japanese army was poised to advance on a virtually defenseless Australia. From crude dispersal airstrips, the "Red Raiders" initially flew unescorted, through merciless weather conditions and withering enemy fire, hammering time and again at enemy bases, troop concentrations and shipping. They succeeded in helping to halt the enemy advance and bought precious time for the arrival of long-due reinforcements. B-26 Navigator Merrill Thomas Dewan gives a firsthand day-by-day account of that critical first year of Air Corps combat in the New Guinea theater.

Merrill Thomas Dewan was born in 1918 in Turin, New York, one of nine children. Educated in local schools, he graduated from Boonville High School in 1936 and from Syracuse University in 1940. With war clouds gathering, he enlisted in the Air Corps in November 1940, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and, following initial flight training, was assigned to the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, 22nd Bombardment Group, 5th Air Force, based at Langley Field, Virginia. His combat training at Langley continued in various aircraft, including B-25 and B-26 medium bombers, and it was there that he met and began dating Elsie Marie Howe, a secretary and recent arrival from the Shenandoah Valley region He departed Langley with the rest of his unit on December 8, 1941, and flew cross-country to Muroc, California, where the 22nd assumed coastal patrol duties and underwent additional training while awaiting further orders.

“The diaries giving a firsthand day-to-day account of the critical 1st year of combat in the New Guinea theater, a chapter of history virtually unknown until now.”

"When we did hit Lae, it came as a complete surprise…The three flights criss-crossed over the airdrome, each flight dropping its 120 bombs…Our 18th flight laid 'em right down the hangar line…It did my heart good to see those buildings blow up--I felt sweet revenge for those boys who died in those hangars and barracks at Hickam…."

Red Raider Diary is a 142-page paperback with a retail price of $15.00

Andy in West Oz
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Re: Diary of 22nd BG Navigator Published

Post by Andy in West Oz » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:13 pm

Seems good value. Thanks for taking the time to post.
Andy Wright
Aircrew Book Review
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library - Jorge Luis Borges

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