Wreaking Havoc

A Year in an A-20

978-1-60344-737-9 Paperback
6.125 x 9.25. 280 pp. 33 b&w photos., 4 maps.
Pub Date: 08/13/2012
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“Life,” writes Joseph Rutter, “was all fun and games with very expensive toys during those bright June days in 1944.” Rutter was a pilot in the Army Air Force, and the expensive toys were airplanes—A-20s. He had just completed replacement crew training at Charlotte, North Carolina, and shortly thereafter he was flying with the 312th Bomb Group from Hollandia, New Guinea, over Japanese targets and across “unexplored” areas, and life became more serious.
Wreaking Havoc: A Year in an A-20 tells the story of Rutter and his friends at a time when the horrors of war were matched by the energy and enthusiasm of youth. In the same innocent and understated tones, Rutter relates hijinks and daredevilry, his training stateside, his first mission, large-scale raids on the Philippines and Formosa, routine low-level attacks on Japanese positions, crashes, mishaps, and the deaths of friends. With a wonderful eye for detail, Rutter gives the reader a glimpse into not only the air war in the Pacific but also the culture of the 1940s and the minds of the young men who found themselves far from home on the front lines.
In Rutter’s story of war, the A-20 is as much a protagonist as the author. If the aircraft emerges as a pilot’s plane—a joy to fly—it could also be a temperamental machine whose landing gear might collapse, whose hydraulic system might fail, and whose controls might suddenly malfunction. Rutter and the men who crewed them are quiet heroes whose approach to war combines the nonchalance of youth and the seriousness of men who have come close enough to death to take life seriously.
From the pages of his memoir, Rutter speaks to those interested in aviation, World War II, and the coming of age of a young man.

Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press