Last of the Randolph Blues began with the author Gary W. Metz' search for information about his uncle, a WWII pilot. The quest for details of his uncle's life in the military began with a letter to St. Louis Military Records Center in 1988 and culminated in this in-depth and compelling story of the lives of ten men and their service to their country, all of whom trained to be fighter-pilots at the West Point of the Air, Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas. They were part of the class of men who were dubbed The Last of the Randolph Blues.
Through years of tenacious searching, author Gary Metz gathered military and personal records, tracked down the pilots and/or their family members, read all the material he could find on the subject, and built a history of these ten men (all assigned to the 60th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Group) and their years of service during WW II. Last of the Randolph Blues is rich in details of military life including personal diary entries, letters, and military historical records during their assignment in the U.S., North Africa, and Italy.
In addition to the historic contents are entries that humanize the intensely dehumanizing elements of war: History of the 60th Fighter Squadron Supplement FEB. 2, 1943:
Some word might be spoken about the morale of our pilots. It is amazing to those who are not flying officers to observe the manner in which these "boys" take the loss or death of one of their fellow comrades. There is no weeping or moaning, no words of sympathy uttered, instead a grim silence, an extra vow to avenge these tragedies. There is no doubt that deep feeling exists in the breasts of every one of these men, for occasionally, in an unguarded moment, some word or look will be caught, but, overtly, life goes on and the grim business of life and death and war goes on.
From the opening paragraph to the closing chapter where the reader learns the poignant backstory of how the search for information became an intensely personal story for all involved, this is a WW II book that goes much deeper than the war.
This book is loaded with over 500 photos and other artifacts
Last of the Randolph Blues, Personal Stories of Ten WWII Pilots by Gary W. Metz is available for purchase at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, iTunes, or your local bookstore.