A Yankee Ace in the RAF
The engines are started, twenty shiny propellers glistening in the sun, forty exhausts rumbling and belching blue smoke. . . . Everything ready, the pilot waves his hand, the blocks are pulled and the flights taxi out one at a time. Away goes the commander, motor roaring, streamers flying, and the rest follow in their proper formation order. A couple of turns around the aerodrome and they're away to the line-up, up, and they soon disappear in the haze.
Just beyond that beckoning "haze," Captain Bogart Rogers and his fellow pilots flew into enemy territory to fight the world's first air war. Suffused with the romance of flight and the harsh realities of aerial combat, Rogers's letters to his fiancee, Isabelle Young, vividly detail his wartime experiences against a lethal and elusive opponent exemplified by the likes of Baron von Richthofen's Flying Circus.
The son of controversial Los Angeles attorney Earl Rogers ("the greatest jury lawyer of his time," claimed Clarence Darrow) and brother to pioneering Hearst journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns, Bogart made his mark in the Great War. Of the three hundred-plus Americans who joined the British air corps in 1917, only Rogers and two dozen other volunteers became "aces" by shooting down five or more German planes. He himself claimed six "kills" in fighting during the Second Battle of the Marne, the Somme Offensive, Cambrai, Ypres-Lys, and six other major engagements.
Rogers also had a definite flair for writing, one that launched his postwar career as a journalist and screenwriter in Hollywood. The letters in this volume are a striking testament to that skill. Lucid, reflective, highly articulate, and touched with flashes of humor, they illuminate the challenges of aviation training, daily life at the aerodromes, the liberating wonders of flight, and the sobering truths of a devastating war. They also reflect Rogers's constant longing for his future bride "Izzy" (who celebrates her 99th birthday in 1996).
About the Author
DR. JOHN H. MORROW, JR. is graduate of the Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania and a recipient of the U.S Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In addition to serving as the Franklin Professor and Chair of the History Department at University of Georgia where he teaches courses on the history of Modern Europe and of warfare and society, Morrow has also contributed to the education of faculty and students at the National War College, the Air War College, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Morrow was previously head of the history department at the University of Tennessee. Following his successful teaching career, the university named in his honor a lecture series and an award for Excellence in military history. He has chaired the History Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Air Force, the Research Advisory Committee of the National Museum of American History. He has most recently served on the History Advisory Committee of the Department of the Army, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s Legacy Committee, and the First Flight Centennial Federal Advisory Board