Streamed live on May 16, 2024

Guest John Homan was a B-24 pilot in World War II. He recently published his memoirs, “Into the Cold Blue: My World War II Journeys with the Mighty Eighth Air Force” with Professor Jared Frederick, who also joins us.

Into the Cold Blue is a riveting account of the air war over Europe, when hell was four miles above the earth. A born daredevil, John Homan joined the Army Air Forces after the attack on Pearl Harbor. By 1944, he was co-piloting a B-24 Liberator over Nazi Germany, raining death and destruction on the enemy. This first-person account of his harrowing missions chronicles deadly flights through skies of red-hot flak bursts and airmen bailing out with parachutes aflame.

The tale will leave readers staggered by the determination and grit of World War II aviators. Fighting a fierce enemy in the air seemed the perfect way for Homan to demonstrate his boldness, but he never could have imagined the horrors that awaited him.

During a vast operation over Nazi-occupied Holland in September 1944, his plane was punched full of holes, its left tail shot away, and a tire blown to bits. Homan wondered how he could possibly survive. The young lieutenant and his exhausted crewmates braced for a nearly hopeless emergency landing. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, waited the sweetheart he thought he’d never see again.

With wit, warmth, and astonishing clarity, John Homan conveys the skill and heroism of the “Mighty Eighth” Air Force in the most perilous theater of history’s greatest air war.

We’re grateful to UPMC for Life and Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!