Air Force

Rough War: The Combat Story of Lt Paul J Eastman, a "Burma Banshee" P-40 & P-47 Pilot

Title: Rough War: The Combat Story of Lt Paul J Eastman, a "Burma Banshee" P-40 & P-47 Pilot
Author: Walt Shiel
Reviewer: Jim Greenwald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1934631159

"One of the most unusual and insightful stories of a young American at war, and it has a particular significance for today." --from the Foreword by Walter J. Boyne.

Paul Eastman was one of thousands of fighter pilots who served honorably, bravely, and with little fanfare during World War II. He did not end the war as a celebrated national hero. No air base was ever named for him. He never became an ace. He never became famous. Paul spent 20 months flying daily combat sorties in one of the most difficult environments of the war -- the China-Burma-India Theater.

Paul Eastman maintained a daily diary throughout the war, covering his life in the air and on the ground. "Rough War" is based on those diaries and the many letters he wrote to his wife. His letters professed his love, expressed his post-war hopes, documented his ongoing fears, and voiced his concerns for his wife and family stateside. Would he survive the war? What would he do afterward?

Although the CBI has been labeled the "forgotten theater" of WW II, Paul Eastman's story helps ensure that the men who fought the air war over its unforgiving jungles and mountains will never be forgotten.

"Rough War" is an important story that makes an equally important connection to the effects of war on the members of the US military today.

"'Rough War' presents a history of the making of a combat fighter pilot. Interspersed with World War II events and in-theater events from the rarely mentioned CBI theater are writings from Paul's journals and letters home detailing his journey into and through combat. While aviation technology changed for America's next war in SE Asia, the threats of the jungle, monsoon, and a determined enemy created similar issues during my own fighter-pilot experiences in Vietnam." -William H. Lawson, Brig. Gen., US Air Force, Retired

"This book brings back lots of memories of my time in that part of the world. In '66-'67 our combat maps of Vietnam and Laos still had large holes of data, and we had to work our way to the war and home just like Paul did. I really enjoyed the format -- chronological, big picture, CBI, and Paul's War helped put it all in perspective. Here's to you, Paul. As we say in 2011 -- Thanks for your service and a job well done." -Ace Rawlins, Col., US Air Force, Retired

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shiel, Walt

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Project Seven Alpha: American Airlines in Burma 1942

Title: Project Seven Alpha: American Airlines in Burma 1942
Author: Leland C. Shanle Jr.
Genre: Military Sub-Category: Air Force
Reviewed by: Bob Flournoy

ISBN (for Amazon store): 1844158268

In late 1941, President Roosevelt agonized over the rapid advances of the Japanese forces in Asia, they seemed unstoppable. He foresaw their intentions of taking India and linking up with the two other Axis Powers, Germany and Italy, in an attempt to conquer the Eastern Hemisphere. US naval forces had been severely surprised and diminished in Pearl Harbor and the army was outnumbered and ill-prepared to take on the invading hoards. One of his few options was to form a defensive line on the eastern side of the Patkai and Himalayan Ranges, there he could look for support from the Chinese and Burmese. It was to be the only defence to a Japanese invasion of India.

To support and supply these troops, fighting in hostile jungle terrain where overland routes had been cut off, he desperately needed to set up an air supply from Eastern India. His problem was lack of aircraft and experienced pilots to fly the dangerous 'Hump, over the world's highest mountains. Hence came Operation Seven Alpha, a plan to enlist the aircraft, DC-3s, and pilots, veterans of World War One, of American Airlines. This newly formed Squadron would fly these medium-range aircraft in a series of long-distance hops across the Pacific and Southern Asia to the Assam Valley in India. They would then create and operate the vital supply route carrying arms, ammunition and food Eastward to the Allied bases and return with wounded personnel. This is the story of this little-known operation in the early days of the Burma Campaign.

This book is based on the true experiences of those who were involved and is a fitting tribute to the bravery and inventiveness of a band of men who answered their country's desperate call at the outset of the war against Japan in Asia.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shanle, Jr. Leland C.

By-Laws and Guidelines/Definitions (2012)

ARTICLE I    Name

 This organization is known as the Military Writers Society of America, and is sometimes referred to herein and elsewhere as MWSA

ARTICLE II    Board of Directors

The Board of Directors shall consist of nine members (President is the Chairman, Past-President serves one term as Board Member, the Founder as a Permanent Board Member and six elected members).

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