According to the official histories, says John Boeman, the U.S. Army trained 193,440 pilots between 1 July 1939 and 31 August 1945. Boeman was one of them -- a B-24 bomber pilot.
He had never been in an airplane, had never felt himself "born to fly," and felt "no sudden surge of patriotism." But from the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he says there was no question in his mind that he would enter military service. President Roosevelt's blueprint for total war made this clear.
Boeman's memoir takes the reader from flight training through combat missions.
The day-to-day life of inexperienced Boeman and his crew, as part of the 307th Bombardment Group, is detailed with humor and pathos -- the apprehension of his first mission; the long hours on the ground; the remembrances of "growing up"; the excitement, the "ice" in the stomach, or the unexpected.
". . . Significantly," Boeman says, "somewhere in the progression from my first day of training to . . . my fifth mission in combat operations, I had undergone an attitudinal transformation that compelled me to direct all effort toward a single objective: to put our bombs on the assigned target."
Boeman "ponders" the "rights and wrongs" of his responsibilities and decisions as an aircraft commander and works through the "agonizing postaccident days" of his aircraft's crash on takeoff, killing four of his crew.
Morotai is a thoughtful, touching remembrance of a survivor -- a story with excitement, and a story of pain.