One of the major characters in Masters of the Air is B-17 navigator Frank Murphy whose granddaughter, Chloe Melas, republished his memoir, The Luck of the Draw.

As a navigator on a B-17, Frank Murphy played a crucial role in guiding the aircraft through the treacherous skies over Europe. Navigators were tasked with plotting courses, ensuring precise locations, and navigating through enemy territory.

This demanding role required a deep understanding of both the aircraft’s instruments and the ever-changing conditions of aerial combat. The turning point in Murphy’s wartime experience came when his B-17 was shot down. Murphy found himself in the hands of the enemy and became a prisoner of war.

Being a POW during World War II meant enduring the hardships of captivity, including limited rations, harsh living conditions, and the constant uncertainty about the future.

The mental and emotional toll of captivity was immense, and the resilience displayed by individuals like Frank Murphy in the face of adversity is a testament to their strength and determination. In conjunction with the release of the highly-anticipated Apple TV+ series, Masters of the Air, VBC historian host Glenn Flickinger has created a 10-part livestream series Thursdays beginning January 18 at 7:00pm that will recap and provide history discussion around each episode.

Each week, Glenn will cover the action and background of the series in conversation with show producers and creators, air war historians, and family members of the real-life characters depicted in the series. Masters of the Air is a streaming television miniseries by Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks based on the 2007 book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller about the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force.