Heavy Date Over Germany

The Life and Times of B-17 Tail Gunner Ray Perry

Edited by Jewellee Jordon Kuenstler

Foreword by Rick Perry

978-1-933337-80-7 Paperback
6 x 9. 196 pp. 50 photos, 2 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Pub Date: 11/15/2019
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Ray Perry was a farm boy from rural West Texas when America entered World War II. He always had a fascination with planes, so he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps with the intention of becoming a pilot. The Army Air Corps needed tail gunners, however, so Ray served his country at the back end of a B-17, completing thirty-five combat missions before the war’s end. This is the story of his World War II adventure, wrought with tragedy and excitement and every emotion in between. This is also the story of how a young man from a small West Texas town handled the upheaval that comes with war. Based off numerous primary source materials, Ray’s story unfolds through his letters, photos, and mementos. The book’s foreword is written by his son, and former Texas governor, Rick Perry.

“I never was rattled . . . . I could never remember really being scared. I know I was. Had to be. But I had control of it.”

“The pilot sent the radio operator back there to see if they got me . . . and he climbed, crawled, right there beside the side of that tail wheel, and he never did get back all the way where I was at, but he . . . saw me sitting up and he saw me move a little. So, he went back and told the pilot, ‘I guess he’s alright. I think he’s still alive.’”

—Ray Perry, from the book

Published by State House Press