About the book:David Hayward, a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps, takes the reader through his adventures and challenges as a young man serving his country in World War II. Would he “wash out” of flying school? Would he survive the dangers and fears of flying 53 combat missions as pilot of a B-25 medium bomber in the China-Burma-India theater of operations?
You will experience the thrill of his solo flight; the frightening day when a Japanese fighter plane flew alongside; an awesome flight over the highest mountains of Tibet, searching for an enemy transmitter luring friendly cargo planes off course; attacking enemy supply lines along the east coast of China; and the sorrow of losing close friends.
David Hayward tells of serving also at Air Force Headquarters in Washington, DC, transporting VIPs (very important persons) on their inspection tours, and as courier to Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. The reader will join Hayward in developing a veterans association and gathering at annual reunions, and making six return trips to China to relive the pleasant and the sorrowful.
The story is illustrated with 119 images and conveys thoughts and concerns of David Hayward through his most unusual experience.
Interview with David HaywardDavid, I believe this book is a memoir of sorts. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
Since 1987, when I became Secretary-Treasurer of the 22nd Bomb Squadron Association, a group of World War II veterans. I started writing a newsletter which led to additional publications.
What inspired you to write this book?
My associates convinced me that the material should be made available for my family and the public to enjoy. I welcomed the opportunity to gather together all relevant material I had written over the years and consolidating it into a single book.
How long did it take you to write it?
Four months from the time I began gathering information until the book appeared on amazon.com. That was from September to December 2013.
That's fast! What do you hope readers will get from this book?
A feeling for what it was like to witness our country’s entry into war and my subsequent experiences as I progressed along the way. That covered all forms of emotion from fear to relief, from failure to accomplishment, from sorrow to joy and from boyhood naivete to maturity. The book also contains valuable history of the air force squadron and its times.
How did you come up with the title, A Young Man in the Wild Blue Yonder?
The Air Force Song’s opening line is “Off we go, into the wild blue yonder.”
I think you're retired now, but do you have another job outside of writing?
I am retired, but my time is spent principally as Secretary-Treasurer of the 22nd Bomb Squadron Association.
Give us the elevator speech for A Young Man in the Wild Blue Yonder?
David Hayward describes excitement, fear and adventure as pilot of a B-25 medium bomber in World War II, through pilot training, combat in India, Burma and China, and reassignment in Washington, DC, serving leaders in the war effort. He tells of reunions and revisiting China after the war.
How did you come up with your cover art?
The photo of me sitting in the pilot’s seat of a B-25 was taken at our air base in India in 1943.
Tell us about your favorite scene or chapter in the book.
The first chapter tells of my first combat mission, where we encountered a large formation of Japanese airplanes. Our airplane, the slowest in the formation, was left behind as a straggler. A Japanese fighter plane flew alongside, scared the dickens out of us, and finally flew away.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
The Air Force Song.
Who are your favorite authors?
Somerset Maugham, Clive Cussler, Ken Follett, and Nelson DeMille.
What was your favorite childhood book?
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
Clive Cussler, The Devil’s Gate. Hardcover.
Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?
In the morning and afternoon.
Where do you prefer to do your writing?
In my office at home.
Name one thing you couldn’t live without.
My loyal wife.
If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
Where’s home for you?
Huntington Beach, California.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.
What three books have you read recently and would recommend?
Clive Cussler's The Devil’s Gate and The Storm. Bill O’Reilly's Killing Jesus.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
What are you working on now?
A second book: WWII DIARY: Stories by the Airmen of the 22nd Bomb Squadron of World War II.
About the author:
In 1949 David earned a Bachelor degree in mechanical engineering at Caltech in Pasadena, and, later, a Master degree in petroleum engineering from University of Southern California. He worked for Texaco as a petroleum engineer, developing and producing oil fields in California. In 1951 he married Jeanne Thompson. They produced three fine sons, Gary, Eric and Kirk.
The 22nd Bomb Squadron veterans formed an association and held annual reunions. David served as secretary-treasurer and newsletter publisher, collecting stories and events for the book Eagles, Bulldogs & Tigers and five additional publications.
David returned to China six times with veterans’ groups. At age 91, he assembled this book, bringing together material from his previous sources. David lives with his wife of 62 years in Huntington Beach, California.
Connect with David:
Website | Amazon | Barnes & Noble