We Came to Fight a War by Jack Flynn & Alvin E. Kotler

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MWSA Review

A wartime injustice is righted in this crisp, succinctly written memoir of a B 17 flight crew member who tells of the heroism, and tragedy of his pilot of more than 25 combat missions flown out of Italy during World War Two. Written by the brother of that pilot, the reader is given a chilling glimpse into the rigors, and horrors of those young men who flew the big bombers deep into enemy territory, on lengthy, harrowing missions.
1LT Bill Flynn was a professional, dependable, and much trusted pilot whose war time record was exemplary, if not magnificent. Shortly after the war ended he was wrongfully, disgracefully accused of deeds of which he was entirely innocent, and he paid a terrible professional, and personal price. As told to Flynn's brother Jack, crew member Al Kotler, recounts the story of 1LT Flynn, his war time valor, and the final betrayal by the army air corps that he so proudly served. The result is this magnificent little gem of a book that does not waste a single word in telling it like it was. The proud, and honorable way that 1LT Flynn lived the remainder of his life after his betrayal, is redeeming, but the reader is left with a smoldering anger that something like this could have, and did happen. That is what makes the book so believable, and real. 

Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy (2011)


Author's Synopsis

On 15 April 1945, 1st Lt Bill Flynn completed his 25th bombing mission flying a B-17 with the 346th Bomb Sqdn, 99th Bomb Group. On 25 May 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for "extraordinary achievement" in combat. In July of that same year, at a General Court Martial, he was accused of "buzzing," convicted of manslaughter and the destruction of government property. People were intimidated and encouraged to lie and 20-year-old Lt Flynn was stripped of his rank and benefits, dishonorably discharged, and sentenced to hard labor at a Federal Prison in New York. This book was written by Lt Flynn's radio gunner, Al Kotler, and Bill's brother, Jack Flynn. You will meet Bill, Al, and the rest of their crew, and fly with them on missions out of Foggia, Italy. Bill is no longer here to defend himself, so Al and Jack combined forces to present the full story of what really happened and to right a terrible wrong. 33 photos.