Thunderbolt P-47


I recently read Thunderbolt!, an autobiographical story of Robert S. Johnson, the first United States Army Air Forces WWII fighter pilot in the European theater to surpass Eddie Rickenbacker’s WWI score of 26 victories.

Johnson was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, the son of an automobile mechanic. He first became interested in airplanes when he was eight years old.

That was on a morning in the summer of 1928, in the town of Lawton, Oklahoma. My dad shouted for the kids to pile into the car.

His father took them to Post Field at Fort Sill to see a United States Army Air Corps barnstorming team, “The Three Musketeers.”

There were three of them. Each with double wings and a whirling propeller flashing in the bright Oklahoma sun. I first saw them as they rolled on their backs, arcing over to inverted flight…

The air show captured the imagination of young Johnson, who could not stop dreaming of airplanes and flying, and eventually an Oklahoma boy’s dream became an American hero’s story.

Thunderbolt! will propel you though the skies above Europe, chasing fate with great courage, at several hundred miles per hour.

Every Oklahoman should read this book. Every American should read this book.


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