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May 26 , 2008

Doing My Share

A Wartime Diary of a Michigan Aviator 1942-1946


Original wartime diary by a WWII B-17 pilot tracing his training and travels with the US Army Air Corps. Joining the army was a 'young man's adventure' for the author who had only traveled as far as Wisconsin to work in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp during the Great Depression, from his birthplace of Detroit, Michigan. As he writes in his January 1, 1943 entry, he was sure that the year of 1943 would be the most exciting of his life. He was happy to leave behind the monotony of the day-in, day-out routine, even though he knew he could possibly be facing hardship, and perhaps even death – he knew that he had many challenges and experiences ahead of him. Carl Jakust, the author, remained steadfast in his desire to be assigned as a B-17 pilot, which is what he was originally trained for.The competition for that training was tough as many candidates 'washed out'. Carl desperately wanted to fly missions with a plane and a crew of his own. He was never afraid to die and was ready to make that ultimate sacrifice for his country. His dedication and courage was typical of the young men from his era known as 'The Greatest Generation.' Carl was always confident in his ability as a pilot. Carl and his crew were waiting in Hawaii for assignment toward the end of the war. They were part of the military build-up in anticipation of Operation Olympic and he probably would have participated in the bombing campaign which would have been the prelude to the invasion of the Japanese home islands had it not been for the drop of the first atom bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the second on Nagasaki on August 9th. The dropping of these atomic bombs led to the Japanese surrender. One million American casualties were expected as part of Operation Coronet, the invasion of the main island of Honshu, expected in March 1946. But for the atom bomb, Carl likely would have been part of these offensives and he may not have survived the war. Because he and his crew were already stationed halfway to the Far East toward the end of the war, they were caught up in the Occupation Army activities across south Asia. This book is a true account of aviation training during WWII. The inner thoughts of a young man facing mortality are shared. Historical events of the time are captured in the entries. Copies of this memoir are held at various aviation history museums and at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
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