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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Military
  • Language:English
  • Pages:400
  • eBook ISBN:9780983442387

Doing My Share

A Wartime Diary of a Michigan Aviator 1942-1946

by Carl Jakust

Book Image Not Available
Overview
Original wartime diary by a WWII B-17 pilot tracing his training and travels with the US Army Air Corps. His journey starts from Detroit, Michigan to various training bases in California, New Mexico, and Arizona -- and ends with his crew and plane waiting in Hawaii to go into Japan for Operation Olympic, the final invasion of the Japanese home islands. This invasion of the southern island of Kyushu was set for November 11, 1945. After the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the second on Nagasaki on August 9th, the Japanese surrendered. Carl and his crew were swept up in the Occupation Army and spent the next year flying between various points in southeast Asia from their base in Japan. Original photos included. A 'young man's adventure' from the years of The Greatest Generation.
Description
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.
About the author
Carl Jakust was born in 1919 in Detroit, Michigan. His parents were first generation Americans and not well educated, but they did their best to support their large family. They were very poor, not unlike most families of the era. All of his grandparents were born in Germany. The family moved a lot within the city limits of Detroit—Carl used to say that they moved each time they couldn’t pay the rent. Christian Jakust, the father of Carl, worked as a day laborer. Cecelia, his mother, raised seven children without a washing machine, keeping her family clean by washing their clothes on a scrub board. Carl’s father died very young, at age 52, leaving Carl at age 22 as the sole supporter of his mother and three younger siblings. Carl was a bright young man and was selected by his teachers to attend a special high school in Detroit, Cass Technical High School, which still enjoys a fine reputation today. He finished with a specialty in drafting, a skill which enabled him to always get a job, before, during and after the war. The year he graduated, only the top student in the high school got a scholarship to college. Carl was the second ranked student in his class, but there was no money or scholarship to send him to school. Like many young men in 1935, he went to work in a Civilian Conservations Corps camp in Wisconsin and sent money back home to his family in Detroit. He had the benefit of housing and three square meals a day. It was his first taste of military life. This was the first time he had ever been out of the city of Detroit, and saw anything of the world. It was a great adventure for him. Carl worked for a number of different companies in the late 1930s including Ford, G.M., and even smaller engineering-design firms. He could have avoided the war altogether, because his work was vital to the defense industry, but he was seized with a strong desire to “Do His Share.” This was a common attitude among the young people of “The Greatest Generation.” Everyone felt that they had a responsibility to contribute to the war effort. By the time Carl was 23 when this diary begins, he had bought a small house for his mother and younger siblings to live in – anticipating that he would need to be able to support them even while serving in the army. Joining the army was a “young man’s adventure” for Carl. 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’s enthusiasm was worn down by the rules and rigidity of military life. He was, above all else, an honest and fair man and resented the cheating and the “cliques” that formed everywhere that he was stationed. He was a humble man, and his statement, “I am ever conscious of the fact that among the enlisted men, there are better men than I,” is indicative of his true character. Carl remained steadfast in his desire to be assigned as a B-17 pilot, which is what he was originally trained for, and wanted desperately 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. He was always confident of his ability as a pilot.
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