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Beyond Fighter Escort Hardcover – September 1, 1995
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In haphazard fashion, Bruno tells of combat when the radio man was hit by a shell from a Messerschmitt, as they limped home on three engines. (He died in hospital that night.) At times, he doubted that he would ever achieve 50 missions. But he did, later serving in various training positions during the remainder of hostilities.
This book contains mementos of service, letters from other officers, and many pictures of bombing missions.
In August 1927, Charles Lindberg flew over the Bruno family farm, igniting a spark that led to the young Badger native enlisting in the Army Air Corps in September 1941. In time, Bruno found himself a trained co-pilot, flying combat in Captain H. E. Bankhead's "The Persuader" B-17 out of North African bases. Initially the 99th served under frontline conditions, the crews digging their own trenches and foxholes! Targets included Bizerte, Palermo, Rome, Weiner Neustadt, Foggoa and a rugged strike on Gerbini Airdrome that netted the Group a DUC. Bruno finished the war stateside in the Training Command.
BEYOND FIGHTER ESCORT - a reference to the fact that many 99th BG missions were flown beyond the range of USAAF fighters - is not just the Jim Bruno story but includes information and photographs from various sources on his Group. While commendable since few books have been published on the "Diamondbacks," the material in Bruno's book comes from a variety of sources and makes for a bumpy read. The sections on his own combat career though are fairly well-done.
Given the paucity of books on 12th AF B-17 ops, BEYOND FIGHTER ESCORT is a good source for 99th BG "how-it-was-in-the-beginning" info. The many, rare photographs are especially noteworthy. Recommended.