CENTRAL COAST AVIATORS WORLD WAR II
During World War II, thousands of volunteer combat aviators trained at places like Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and Hancock Field in Santa Maria. Some air cadets and WASPs—young women pilots—lost their lives in training accidents. The graduates would go on to fight in both the Pacific and European theaters. They faced flak bursts and collisions that resulted in horrifying explosions and were sent on strafing runs that made them targets in a lethal shooting gallery. Downed airmen encountered both unexpected kindness and cruel deprivation as prisoners of war. Through interviews and official records, Jim Gregory tells the stories of heroic Central Coast veterans who fought a war that stretched from New Guinea to North Africa.