by The Shular Family
When John Shular died in 1996, his family found a diary detailing the fifty missions he had flown as a bombardier aboard a B-17 in the Second World War. He spoke to no one of the diary during his life. In Fifty Missions over Europe, Shular’s family shares this diary that offers unique insight into the brutal and terrifying lives of the American airmen who fought and won the air war over Europe. The diary begins in July of 1944 in Foggia, Italy, when Shular flew his first bombing flight, a time when aircrews faced an 89 percent casualty rate. He completed his fiftieth mission December 9, 1944. With photos included, the diary is presented here exactly as Shular penned it. Footnotes have been added to the text to explain abbreviations, technical jargon, and instances where the text may be unclear. Shular retired from the air corps after twenty years of service in 1963 and taught high school science and business for fifteen years in Southwick, Massachusetts.