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Posts Tagged ‘#DoolittleRaiders’

In the midst of my research for Garden of Her Heart (Hearts of the War Book 1), I happened upon an old map that showed airfields around the state of Oregon during World War II. One of them happened to be in Pendleton, where I’d already based my Pendleton Petticoats series that takes place at the turn of the century and continues into the early 1900s.

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Photo by Bus Howdyshell – August 1941

Further digging into the past revealed the airfield was established months before Pearl Harbor was bombed. With war looming on the horizon, the U.S. Army Air Force was already gearing up for it with extensive training.  It took the Corps of Engineers six months to expand Pendleton’s municipal airport and to construct new runways, hangars, and other buildings to serve the 2,500 personnel that would be stationed at the base.

In June 1941, the 17th Bombardment Group, were stationed at Pendleton Airfield. This move  played a key factor in their involvement in a mission that changed the course of the war.

After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the nation’s morale fell to all-time lows. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was determined to show the enemy America would not roll over and give up. Through a series of discussions, secret plans were implemented to take the war back to Japan. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle was tapped to make it happen. He ended up choosing seventy-nine men from the 17th Bombardment Group because they had the new B-25 Mitchell Bombers and a little training in flying them.

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For Doolittle’s daring plan to succeeds, the pilots of the planes would have to fly off a carrier in the Pacific ocean (something that had never been done with a medium bomber).

In early February, Doolittle transferred group to Columbia, South Carolina. The conditions there were less than ideal. The men slept in tents and reported freezing in the cold rain that fell and turned the ground to a muddy mire. Despite Pendleton having below zero temperatures that winter, many of the men longed to return there where at least they had warm bunks to sleep in.

Doolittle asked his team leaders to choose the men they’d like see go on the mission (although those leaders didn’t have full details of the mission either). So they tapped the men they’d like to see go and asked for volunteers. Every single man who went volunteered to go although what they knew of the mission was limited to the facts it would be dangerous and some of them would not make it home.

Yet, they still volunteered.

In March, the men were transferred to Eglin Field in Florida where they were required to put in more than fifty hours of training. They practiced take offs in short distances at high speed. The flew over open water, dropped fake bombs and got in as much practical experience as possible before Doolittle ordered them to fly across the country to California where sixteen crews of five men each along with sixteen planes would board the U.S.S. Hornet and head out to sea.

Because Doolittle had trained additional crews in case something happened, all of them made the trip to California. Fearful one of the crews left behind might leak information (although the men still knew nothing at this point, although many had guesses of where they were heading), Doolittle brought them all along.

 

It wasn’t until they were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean before Doolittle called the crews together and finally told them the mission plans – to bomb Tokyo and a handful of other cities.

The plan was for the crews to fly to Japan (one plane would be piloted by Doolittle – an aeronautic acrobat, test-pilot, and all-around amazing flier), drop the bombs, then make their way to China to refuel.

 

However, an enemy boat spied them the day before they were ready to embark on the mission and they immediately prepared to take off. On April 18, 1942, they dropped bombs on Tokyo and a handful of other cities. The devastation to Japan came not in the bombs that were dropped, but in the psychological damage done to a country that assured it’s people they were untouchable.

The other benefit of the bombing was the boost in morale it made to America. When radio reports and newspaper articles began flooding the nation, people pulled themselves up out of their despair and renewed their commitment to win the war – together.

If you’ve never heard of the Doolittle Raid or the eighty incredibly brave men who flew on this mission, I highly recommend looking it up. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (available as a book or movie) offers an amazingly insightful look into the mission.

Of the eighty men who flew on the mission, seventy-nine of them were based at Pendleton (Doolittle was the only one who wasn’t).

aftermath

Fifteen of the planes crashed near or in China, none of them reaching the friendly airfields they had hoped to make it to before their fuel supplies ran out. One plane made an emergency landing in Russia (and the crew was interned for fourteen months before escaping).

Although the number of men who died on the mission wasn’t as many as Doolittle anticipated, there were deaths and life-altering injuries, not to mention the men who were captured by the Japanese as prisoners of war.

Some families didn’t know until after the end of the war what had happened to their loved ones who served on this top-secret mission.

The men who flew in the raid knew they might never come home again. The families they left behind knew it, too. Yet they did what they could for a country that needed their service and sacrifice.

And that is why I think the men and women who helped win World War II are more than worthy of the title of the Greatest Generation. They shaped a nation where future generations of children don’t have to face the hardships or sacrifices they so willingly made.

HoHH Meme 4In Home of Her Heart, Klayne Campbell is a loner with nothing to lose. Then he volunteers for a secret, dangerous mission he’s convinced will get him killed. Unable to bear the thought of dying without leaving something behind, someone behind, he asks Delaney Danvers to marry him. He’d fallen in love with Delaney the first time he set eyes on her, but he had no intention of letting emotions get involved. He promised her a marriage in name only, and she agrees. But the feisty, fiery woman has something far different in mind than a marriage on paper in…

 

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Today is the release of Home of Her Heart!

Hooray!
Home of Her Heart

All he needed was a bride. . .

Who said anything about falling in love?

Orphaned at birth and a loner all his life, the last thing Sergeant Klayne Campbell needs is for feisty Delaney Danvers to entangle his thoughts. Bravely volunteering for a top-secret mission almost certain to get him killed, Klayne can’t bear the thought of dying utterly alone. All he wants is to face death knowing his life meant something to at least one person. Offering Delaney a marriage of convenience, he plans to leave behind a war bride as his beneficiary. After just one night as her husband, Klayne realizes he’ll do anything to survive and return to her.

The moment she met handsome Sergeant Campbell at a holiday party, Delaney’s whole world shifted off kilter. Full of fun with an unquenchable zest for life, she isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. And what she wants is Klayne. When he prepares to join a hazardous mission, she seizes the opportunity to give him a reason to fight his way back home — to her heart.

A tender, sweet romance rich with history and enduring love, Home of Her Heart captures the era and emotions prevalent during America’s entry into World War II.

Get your copy today for just 99 cents! Available on Amazon

HoHH Meme 4

Excerpt:

His breath blew across her neck as he placed a heated kiss to the pulse rapidly pounding in her throat. He lifted his head and the sparks in his eyes ignited into liquid fire. Intrigued, uncertain, and longing for something she couldn’t explain and didn’t fully understand, she couldn’t tear her gaze away from his.

A sound of tortured misery escaped his throat on a low groan. “Delaney, you need to step away and show me to the door, right now. If you don’t, if you wait one more minute, I won’t be able to leave. Do you understand what I’m telling you, sweetheart? If you want me to leave, now is the time to tell me.” He started to move away but she wouldn’t let him, clasping her arms around his waist and holding on tight.

He held his arms out to his sides, not touching her. Even so, she felt a tremor pass through him as he fought to hold onto his control.

“Delaney Marie, if you don’t turn me loose, I won’t be held responsible for my actions. I know I promised you a marriage in name only, but you can only push a man so far before he lands beyond the edge of reason.”

“I plan to hold you responsible for your actions, Klayne.” She gave him a smirk as her hazel eyes darkened. “Fully and completely responsible…


Hatfield Party 5

Home of Her Heart marks my 50th published book! Come join in the fun and help me celebrate today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Pacific Time) with a Release Party on Facebook. Giveaways, games, free books and guest authors will make it three hours of great shenanigans and entertainment!

Hope to see you there!

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When I was writing Garden of Her Heart and mentioned the character of Delaney Danvers, I knew right then she would have her own story.  At the time, I didn’t know, exactly, what or where or when. Before I completed the book, I happened upon an old map that showed where Army airfields had been located during WWII. And there, among them, was a base in Pendleton, Oregon.

Those of you who have read my Pendleton Petticoats series will understand why this tidbit of history was so exciting to me! Delaney’s story immediately began taking shape in my head even though it would be many months before I actually began writing her story.

Pendleton Army Air Base (Pendleton Field) officially opened in the spring of 1941, months before Pearl Harbor. By June, the base was home to more than 300 officers and 2,200 enlisted men, including the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 17th Bombardment Group.

Members of Pendleton’s 17th Bombardment Group participated in one of the most famous missions of World War II, the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in April 1942. (I’m going to share more about that another day.)  Pendleton was also where the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, better known as the  Triple Nickle Smokejumpers (an all black infantry unit that comprised the first military airborne firefighters in America), were based toward the end of the war. They were stationed in Pendleton to fight forest fires, especially those ignited by Japanese balloons carrying incendiary bombs.

 

Pendleton, with its Wild West reputation and colorful history, provided the perfect setting for this story. When I envisioned what it would be like to walk through town in 1942, I envisioned soldiers from the base mingling among civilians in town. Of course, I had to make some of those civilians folks from the Pendleton Petticoats stories.

If you read Home of Her Heart, you’ll encounter familiar characters like Kade Rawlings, Tony and Ilsa Campanelli, Nik Nash, and Gideon McBride.

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was for me to share these characters as they’ve grown older (and wiser!).

Home of Her Heart releases Aug. 10, but you can pre-order it today… for just 99 pennies!

Here’s a little excerpt:

The woman wasn’t the prettiest he’d ever seen. Her nose was a bit too broad and slightly crooked, as if it had been broken in the past. Her chin was slightly too sharp, inarguably stubborn. Her hazel eyes were bright, lively, and inquisitive. But her lips, oh those tantalizing lips, were absolutely made for being kissed well and often.

Stunned, he realized something about her appealed to him more than any woman he’d ever met.

“What kind of man spies on a woman from behind a Christmas tree?” she asked, stopping in front of him and crossing her arms in front of her chest. Her face held a look of suspicious scrutiny.

Dumbfounded and caught in the act, Klayne lost the ability to speak.

The scornful look she’d given him melted into a warm smile. She laughed and placed a hand on his arm. “I’m teasing you, soldier. What’s your name?”

He stared at her another moment before he looked down to his arm where her hand rested. It threatened to sear through the fabric of his shirt and brand his skin. Although he expected her to have soft hands with manicured nails, her hands were work-roughened, chapped, and with nails broken down to the quick. A scab covered the backs of two knuckles and a cut stretched along the length of her index finger.

“You’re a quiet one, aren’t you?” she asked, continuing to look at him as she dropped her hand.

“Most of the time, ma’am,” he said, silently urging his tongue to regain function. “My name is Klayne. Sergeant Klayne Campbell.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Sergeant.” She gave him a beaming smile and held out a hand to him. “I’m Delaney Danvers, but most of my friends just call me Dee.”

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