Fighting High Books
Ace in a Day (Signed Copies)
The Memoir of an Eighth Air Force Fighter Pilot in World War II
By (author) Wayne K. Blickenstaff , Edited by Graham Cross
Signed by Graham Cross and Wayne Blickenstaff's daughters Gayle and Perry
'I recommend this book without reservation.' (Journal of the Air Force Historical Foundation – Spring 2023)
Graham Cross recently gave a launch talk at the Mighty 8th Museum in Savannah, USA, in regard his new book 'Ace in a Day', which you can watch below.
Hardcover: 360 pages
Wayne K. Blickenstaff, known as "Blick," was a stalwart of the 350th Fighter Squadron of the 353rd Fighter Group based at Goxhill, Metfield and Raydon, England as part of the Eighth Air Force prosecuting the strategic air campaign against Germany. As an original cadre member, he rose steadily through the ranks from a Second Lieutenant Element Leader to Flight Leader, Squadron Operations Officer, Squadron Leader and finally to a Lieutenant Colonel and Group Operations Officer. Flying the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang, he completed two tours of operations between 1943 and 1945 encompassing 133 missions and claims of 10 enemy aircraft destroyed in the air. His double "ace" status included a Me262 jet fighter and the destruction of five aircraft in one mission--giving him rare "ace in a day" status.
Ace in a Day is Blick's honest and gritty personal memoir of his air war in Europe. His vivid writing places you in the cockpit as he and his comrades battle the enemy in the skies or attack ground targets across Europe. His account conveys a true sense of just how dangerous flying World War II fighters, in all weather conditions, really was. It was not just the enemy that could kill you. A moment's inattention, overconfidence or simple mistake could be deadly. As a keen observer of character, Blick's pen portraits of those around him, including many of those who sadly did not survive the war, offer a poignant and deeply moving tribute to those with whom he served.
Anyone wanting an understanding of the dynamics of a working fighter squadron at war and the dilemmas faced by those in command should read this book. Supported by an impressive array of original documentation, photographs, and detailed appendices, including Blick's never-before published wartime journal, Ace in a Day provides a unique and valuable insight into the harsh realities of the air war in Europe from one of the "Mighty Eighth's" top fighter pilots.
Having achieved his childhood dream of learning to fly, Wayne K. Blickenstaff set aside his wings and turned his artistic talent and love of adventure strip illustrations into a successful career as an advertising, editorial and book illustrator. He later became a teacher and art director. People gravitated to him because of his calm demeanor, great listening skills and insight. In 1989 Blick and his wife moved from Connecticut to North Carolina to be closer to family and spend time at their beloved summer home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. During retirement he pursued his interest in writing and this book was his passion project. Thanks to his friend and editor, Graham Cross, his dream to have it published has finally been realized.
Graham Cross earned his doctorate in History from the University of Cambridge, and he specialises in twentieth century American military, diplomatic and political history and particularly the era of the two World Wars, the Allied air campaign and the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He has taught American history at Cambridge, University College Dublin, the University of Glasgow and Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a respected expert on the history of the 8th Air Force and for nearly thirty-five years has been the historian and UK contact for the 353rd Fighter Group. He wrote what many consider to be the definitive fighter group history - Jonah's Feet Are Dry-The Experience of the 353rd Fighter Group During WWII (2001). He currently lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire with his wife Susan and two children.