MONA MOORE | Daily News
William B. Colgan's book "World War II Fighter-Bomber Pilot" in it's third edition
Copy of above mentioned original article from Northwest Florida Daily Newspaper,
World War II Fighter-Bomber Pilot                             Colgan
              Heritage Books

Acknowledgments                                                                                                                   v

Preface                                                                                                                                  vi

introduction                                                                                                                          viii

Chapter 1           Pearl Harbor                                                                                                1

Chapter 2           Early Service and Training                                                                          8

Chapter 3           Fighter Pilot and Off to War                                                                       19

Chapter 4           Southern Italy                                                                                             32

Chapter 5           Winter Lines of 1943-44                                                                             51

Chapter 6           Anzio—Cassino, Too                                                                                  63

Chapter 7           Break from War                                                                                          81

Chapter 8           Southern France                                                                                        88

Chapter 9           The Rhone River Valley                                                                            106

Chapter 10         Po River Valley                                                                                         118

Chapter 11         Winter Lines of 1944-45                                                                           133

Chapter 12         Forward Air Controller                                                                              145

Chapter 13         Special Missions                                                                                       158

Chapter 14         Push on Germany                                                                                     166

Chapter 15         Across the Rhine                                                                                       180

Chapter 16         Final Days                                                                                                 190

Index                                                                                                                                    208
                                                            To This Third Edition

When I started writing the original manuscript for this book in the 1980s, I was not sure I was fortunate to be
in a position to write firsthand on a subject widely recognized as seriously lacking in formal histories, personal
accounts and news coverage. Fighter-bomber flying and fighting was just that. In fact, it was often said that
fighter-bomber pilots (and their multi-mission, deadly, low-altitude operations) are best known for being
unknown. Certainly in World War II they and their missions were less acclaimed than the pilots/crews and
missions of the great strategic bombing effort and the fighter air battles — even though the fighter-bomber
war was also of major and telling impact and fiercely fought. Still, with a subject so unsung and unknown, an
author might fear his work would end up the same.
Now, some two decades later, regardless of initial worries and to what extent they may in fact have come to
be, I feel extremely fortunate to have been in position to write on the subject and to have it published in two
editions and three printings prior to this edition. And I'm deeply grateful and honored for universal reader
acceptance and praise of it.
This has come from professionals in the fields of history, education, writing, and the military, as well as from
the general public. It has been cited as a vital contribution to history, for accuracy of combat operations and
tactics, as a much needed and long-overdue book, and for a very readable and exciting story. It has been
used as a textbook at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Of utmost delight to me was full acceptance as definitive,
"our story," by a very special group of readers — the large number of officers and men, both pilots and
ground personnel, who served in "fighter-bomber" units in World War II. Surely an author could never wish
for a more authoritative endorsement than this — one by those whom the book is about.
Today in 2008 the U.S. Air Force and Navy/Marine combat aircraft inventories, operational and programmed,
consist overwhelmingly of multi-mission/multi-role fighters. These include the F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, and
F-35. The American people will see these multi-purpose fighters as their primary combat air power for
generations to come, and every time the USAF Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels fly too.
The original preface to this book is retained as fully valid. It cited a primary goal of portraying the war of
World War II fighter-bomber pilots/crews and their units. Evidence is strong that was done. It now seems in
order to highlight the direct tie in heritage of those fore running fighter-bomber pilots/crews and units to
today's and future U.S. Military multi-mission pilots/crews and units — and emphasize that this book is prime
historical roots, legacy and legends for this modern air power — an especially fitting and timely book today.
Now Available At
World War II
Fighter-Bomber Pilot
Valiant Multi-Mission Air War, What it Was Like
3rd Edition                                   
              Used as a text book at
William B. Colgan        the U.S. Air Force Academy
  Fighter-bomber flying and fighting originated in World War I as
pursuit pilots strafed and dropped small bombs on the enemy
below. However, it was in World War II that the term
"fighter-bomber" emerged, as American fighter pilots combined
combat actions of dogfight, bomb/rocket, and strafe into extensive
"fighter-bomber" operations. These operations became universally
recognized for their major role in that war and in air power ever
  An official news release at the end of World War II stated:
"Fighter Squadron Commander, Major Colgan, a top fighter pilot in
Europe, in combat August 1943-May 45, CO a full year...he
accumulated more missions, decorations, narrow escapes, and
friends (ground forces) than the vast majority of other pilots in the
  His vivid account here of courageous fighter-bomber action on
varied, deadly, low-altitude missions was written for the general
public. It has drawn wide praise as a "gripping, magnificent" story
of people at war and has been acclaimed as an "accurate,
definitive, vital, long overdue" history. It is often cited as the prime,
and now a most timely, book on the heritage of current U.S.
multi-role fighter pilots/crews and planes: the F-15E, F-16, F/A-18,
F-22, and F-35-today's "fighter-bombers."
  Colonel Colgan also served in combat in Korea and Vietnam,
held key positions in requirements for and test of new
fighters/fighter-bombers, and retired as Commander, 326th Air
Division, Hawaii. He was inducted into The Georgia Aviation Hall of
Fame, 1996, "Top Fighter-Bomber Pilot." In this book he tells far
more than ever done before about World War II fighter-bomber
pilots and unit ground personnel: their lives; their war; their
dedication, duty, valor, and sacrifice. This is their story and legacy.
World War II
Fighter-Bomber Pilot