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Lightning Sky: A U.S. Fighter Pilot Captured During WWII and His Father's Quest to Find Him

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A U.S. fighter pilot captured by the enemy. A father determined to rescue his son. One of the most remarkable and moving true stories of faith and perseverance to come out of World War II. October 6, 1944. Twenty-year-old Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant David "Mac" Warren MacArthur was on a strafing mission over Greece when a round of 88-mm German anti-aircraft flak turne A U.S. fighter pilot captured by the enemy. A father determined to rescue his son. One of the most remarkable and moving true stories of faith and perseverance to come out of World War II. October 6, 1944. Twenty-year-old Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant David "Mac" Warren MacArthur was on a strafing mission over Greece when a round of 88-mm German anti-aircraft flak turned his P-38 Lightning into a comet of fire and smoke. Dave parachuted to safety as the Lightning lived up to her name and struck the Adriatic Sea like a bolt of flames. In minutes, he was plucked from the water--only to find himself on the wrong end of a German rifle pointing straight at his head. Dave's father, Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur, was a chaplain with the 8th Armored Division of Patton's Third Army when he learned of his son's capture. He made it his personal mission to find him. For the duration of the war, as Dave was shuttled from camp to camp--including Dachau--his father never stopped searching. Then in May 1945, Vaughn's last hope was Stalag VII-A in Moosburg, Germany. Through the barbed wire fence, he cried out his son's name. Incredibly, out of tens of thousands of POWs, one of them, squinting into the sunlight, turned and smiled. Father and son spent the next two weeks together celebrating, a forever cherished memory. Over the next twenty-five years, Dave would go on to honor his father on rescue missions of his own, becoming a highly decorated and genuine American war hero. In both Korea and Vietnam, Dave would carry with him the legacy of a great man who gave everything to save his son. An inspiring, harrowing, and unforgettable chronicle of love of family and love of country, Lightning Sky is a timeless testament to extraordinary lives in extraordinary times.


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A U.S. fighter pilot captured by the enemy. A father determined to rescue his son. One of the most remarkable and moving true stories of faith and perseverance to come out of World War II. October 6, 1944. Twenty-year-old Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant David "Mac" Warren MacArthur was on a strafing mission over Greece when a round of 88-mm German anti-aircraft flak turne A U.S. fighter pilot captured by the enemy. A father determined to rescue his son. One of the most remarkable and moving true stories of faith and perseverance to come out of World War II. October 6, 1944. Twenty-year-old Army Air Corps Second Lieutenant David "Mac" Warren MacArthur was on a strafing mission over Greece when a round of 88-mm German anti-aircraft flak turned his P-38 Lightning into a comet of fire and smoke. Dave parachuted to safety as the Lightning lived up to her name and struck the Adriatic Sea like a bolt of flames. In minutes, he was plucked from the water--only to find himself on the wrong end of a German rifle pointing straight at his head. Dave's father, Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur, was a chaplain with the 8th Armored Division of Patton's Third Army when he learned of his son's capture. He made it his personal mission to find him. For the duration of the war, as Dave was shuttled from camp to camp--including Dachau--his father never stopped searching. Then in May 1945, Vaughn's last hope was Stalag VII-A in Moosburg, Germany. Through the barbed wire fence, he cried out his son's name. Incredibly, out of tens of thousands of POWs, one of them, squinting into the sunlight, turned and smiled. Father and son spent the next two weeks together celebrating, a forever cherished memory. Over the next twenty-five years, Dave would go on to honor his father on rescue missions of his own, becoming a highly decorated and genuine American war hero. In both Korea and Vietnam, Dave would carry with him the legacy of a great man who gave everything to save his son. An inspiring, harrowing, and unforgettable chronicle of love of family and love of country, Lightning Sky is a timeless testament to extraordinary lives in extraordinary times.

30 review for Lightning Sky: A U.S. Fighter Pilot Captured During WWII and His Father's Quest to Find Him

  1. 4 out of 5

    JD

    A hugely disappointing read for me. Even though the story about Dave MacArthur is very interesting and he certainly lived an adventurous life, the author has let him down and fumbled a potentially 5-star story. Firstly, the title and book description is a bit misleading, the P-38 Lighting after which the title is named, only features briefly as it is the plane in which he is shot down. Then about a quarter of the book is dedicated to describe MacArthur's training before being sent to Italy to fi A hugely disappointing read for me. Even though the story about Dave MacArthur is very interesting and he certainly lived an adventurous life, the author has let him down and fumbled a potentially 5-star story. Firstly, the title and book description is a bit misleading, the P-38 Lighting after which the title is named, only features briefly as it is the plane in which he is shot down. Then about a quarter of the book is dedicated to describe MacArthur's training before being sent to Italy to fight, and very little book space is about his father's actual search for him. Secondly, there are way too many historical inaccuracies for the author to be considered a series historical writer, and many of these blunders could have been avoided with minimum research, I picked up quite a few just of the top of my head and there must then certainly be more. The plus parts of the book is MacArthur's times as a POW and his combat record in Korea. Such a pity as I had very high hopes when buying this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    Many thanks to #NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read this story in exchange for an honest review. I was drawn to this book by the cover and by the description that it would be about a fighter pilot captured in World War Two and his Father’s search to find him and bring him home. As a parent, who could not be moved at this thought? I know that personally I would be willing to move heaven and earth to find any child of mine in such a situation. I am no expert on American Aviators a Many thanks to #NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read this story in exchange for an honest review. I was drawn to this book by the cover and by the description that it would be about a fighter pilot captured in World War Two and his Father’s search to find him and bring him home. As a parent, who could not be moved at this thought? I know that personally I would be willing to move heaven and earth to find any child of mine in such a situation. I am no expert on American Aviators and this book tells the story of one such man, Dave MacArthur. It also tells us about his father who was a chaplain in the military. R.C. George, the author of the book, has done a marvellous job in telling of their experiences. |He was blessed with wonderful primary sources of material including letters written by Dave MacArthur and by both his parents. The early letters are written with the voice of a relatively innocent youth and the reader has the privilege of seeing how he matures as the story progresses. Behind every dialogue, comment in italics or quotations in the book is a historical document . This is not a book of fiction and yet it is written in such as way that it flows and captures the attention the way good fiction should. This book is an excellent book to start with for those who don’t have much background knowledge on what it was like to be an aviator during the war. George takes the reader through the training program, explains the different planes and even how the choice would be made as to whether recruits would be fighter pilots or bombers. Dave MacArthur was a fighter and the book takes its title from the name of the plane that he flew for a good part of his wartime career – a Lightning which is a one man plane. The story begins not in the Second World War but in the Korean War where Dave MacArthur, still a pilot, finds himself on land and facing an enemy trying to surround the troops he is with. Due to lack of leadership among the group MacArthur realizes that someone needs to step up and make decisions or they will all be killed or captured. Despite having no infantry training, he successfully manages to lead a group of men determined that he will not face capture as he did during World War Two. This chapter was gripping, and although completely unexpected the excitement captivated me and I didn’t want to put the book down. I was glued to the book in whatever spare minutes I could find over the next day or so. My uncle, although not an aviator, was captured in the Liri Valley in Italy and spent a year as a P.O.W. I had the privilege to interview him about his experiences and have also read a large number of books that detail the experiences of those captured in wartime. Having read this book, I have to wonder if my uncle vastly underplayed his experiences when we talked. MacArthur was captured in Crete. He was flying a plane that he didn’t normally fly, on a day he wasn’t scheduled to be flying with an inexperienced squadron leader and without his lucky charm. He managed to bail out of his burning plane (almost too late) but was quickly captured and taken to the local concentration camp where other pilots were also imprisoned. The conditions he faced were horrific and this was merely the beginning of his time as a P.O.W. Each day he was forced to watch whole the enemy soldiers systematically killed local civilians including women and children in retaliation for each of their men who had been injured. His journey did not end there. Eventually he and others with him were transferred to Germany. Along the way he made may escape attempts but there were two British soldiers who continually betrayed any other soldier who tried to get away. Ultimately, he found himself in Dulag Luft 3, the camp best known for the story of the Great Escape. He arrived some months after that had taken place, but it didn’t stop him from continually trying to find a way to escape himself. He never made it far and was still there when the camp was closed down, and the men were forced into what became known as the “Death March”. While Dave MacArthur was marching and barely surviving, his father had arrived in Europe and was continually seeking out news of any camps that had been liberated in the hopes he could find his son. Eventually he got lucky, heard of one such camp, went there and actually found his son. The story does not end there, however, and the book is well worth reading to find out all the finer details of their experiences. Both the MacArthur men were very inspiring. This book should be of interest both to those who have read very little about wartime situations and those who are highly knowledgeable. Stories like this need to be told and remembered. My thanks to the author for telling the story so well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    Lightning Sky is an excellent story, based on the true events of the McArthur family during the U.S. involvement of World War II. This is a deeply moving work, following the career and capture of 20-year-old P-38 pilot Second Lieutenant David "Mac" McArthur with the Army Air Corp, captured by the Germans following a bail-out over Greece on August 6, 1944, and his Army father, Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur, Chaplain for the 8th Armored Division with Patton's army. This is a story of faith a Lightning Sky is an excellent story, based on the true events of the McArthur family during the U.S. involvement of World War II. This is a deeply moving work, following the career and capture of 20-year-old P-38 pilot Second Lieutenant David "Mac" McArthur with the Army Air Corp, captured by the Germans following a bail-out over Greece on August 6, 1944, and his Army father, Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur, Chaplain for the 8th Armored Division with Patton's army. This is a story of faith and family that will warm your heart. David was moved many times to various Stalags as the German forces retreated in the final stages of WWII. Communication between David and his Mother in the states, and his Father traveling with Patton across Europe, was impossible. Messages that actually got out of the war zone were undeliverable as the family moved in the US and David and his father Vaughn were moving too fast for the post to catch up. Would David and Vaughn ever be in the same place, same time? I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, R.C. George and Citadel Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. pub date April 30, 2019 Citadel Press Reviewed on May 8th, 2019 on Goodreads, Netgalley, Amazon.Smile, BookBub, and Kobo. CHANGE to Kindle

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rick Mitchell

    This is a good solid account of a WWII flyboy's capture and arduous journey as a POW until the end of the war. The tagline of a father's quest is a tad overwrought since the father did not learn of his son's capture until about 85% of the way through the book. Regardless, it is a good history of what very young men went through to fly fighters in WWII and the plight of POWs and citizens as the Nazis were losing the war.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    R C George makes this story, supported by photos, memories, etc. come alive. It's a testimony to the power of the family bond. It reads like fiction but I am so amazed and delighted to say that this story is true! Even though I knew the outcome I was riveted by the story and compelled to stay with it. I think this book would make a fantastic book discussion selection as there is so much material that I wanted to share and discuss after reading. I received my copy through NetGalley under no oblig R C George makes this story, supported by photos, memories, etc. come alive. It's a testimony to the power of the family bond. It reads like fiction but I am so amazed and delighted to say that this story is true! Even though I knew the outcome I was riveted by the story and compelled to stay with it. I think this book would make a fantastic book discussion selection as there is so much material that I wanted to share and discuss after reading. I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A very realistic recounting of a WW2 prisoner's ordeal in various prisoner of war camps. Much more detailed than anything you have ever seen in a movie. Details that we could never imagine in our lifetime. A real hero's story. Thought it was excellent.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This is a well-written book about the story of Dave and how he managed to survive as a POW during WWII. It might have been a bit rushed in the end, but in general this was an interesting read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Veil

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. R.C. George tells the story of how Lieutenant Dave MacArthur became a fighter pilot during WWII and was later taken as a prisoner of war in Greece in October 1944, and how his father, Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur, went to great lengths to find him and bring him home. Dave MacArthur experiences some intense things during his time as a POW. He travels by train, car, plane and on foot. He attempts to escape multiple times. He is beaten, witnesses unspeakable at I thoroughly enjoyed this book. R.C. George tells the story of how Lieutenant Dave MacArthur became a fighter pilot during WWII and was later taken as a prisoner of war in Greece in October 1944, and how his father, Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur, went to great lengths to find him and bring him home. Dave MacArthur experiences some intense things during his time as a POW. He travels by train, car, plane and on foot. He attempts to escape multiple times. He is beaten, witnesses unspeakable atrocities, suffers through disease, hunger, and pests. During his 10 months as a POW, he has no contact with his family, other than sending a postcard or two through the Red Cross, that his family never receives. He is determined to not cooperate with the Axis powers at all, and only gives them the required information under the Geneva Convention. Vaughn MacArthur is serving as a Chaplain and is determined to find his son and bring him home. As he serves on the front lines he investigates every camp he can to see if his son is there. Once he finds Dave, they have a joyful reunion and get to enjoy two weeks together. This was a great story of love, sacrifice, patriotism, and family. There are some very adult themes covered, I would not recommend this title for anyone under 16.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joy Kidney

    I bought "Lightning Sky" because of the P-38 on the cover, although there is precious little about combat in one. In fact, Dave MacArthur didn't even fly one until he arrived in Italy for combat, which is where my uncle, Daniel S. Wilson, was based 75 years ago. They served in the same 14th Fighter Group, based at the Foggia Airfield Complex near San Severo, but in different squadrons--at about the same time. The book opens and closes with MacArthur's service in Korea, but the bulk of the story I bought "Lightning Sky" because of the P-38 on the cover, although there is precious little about combat in one. In fact, Dave MacArthur didn't even fly one until he arrived in Italy for combat, which is where my uncle, Daniel S. Wilson, was based 75 years ago. They served in the same 14th Fighter Group, based at the Foggia Airfield Complex near San Severo, but in different squadrons--at about the same time. The book opens and closes with MacArthur's service in Korea, but the bulk of the story is about his experiences as a POW of the Germans during the waning months of the European war. The most fascinating part was that his father, Vaughn MacArthur, served as a frontline Army Chaplain with the 8th Armored Division at the same time, and kept searching for where his son was being kept. They were eventually reunited, right before VE-Day. Dave MacArthur had just been returned to the States that June when a telegram arrived about his father's loss. Vaughn MacArthur is buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France, which is where my uncle, P-38 pilot Daniel Wilson, is also buried--along with over 10,000 other young Americans. There are extensive Endnotes in the book, but not one photograph except for the one on the cover. A fascinating chapter in WWII history.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stan Skrabut

    I cannot even begin to imagine. Lightning Sky: A U.S. Fighter Pilot Captured during WWII and His Father's Quest to Find Him is the story of David MacArthur. MacArthur was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He flew the P-38 Lightning and was shot down on a strafing mission over Greece. His story as told by R.C. George is riveting. Read more I cannot even begin to imagine. Lightning Sky: A U.S. Fighter Pilot Captured during WWII and His Father's Quest to Find Him is the story of David MacArthur. MacArthur was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He flew the P-38 Lightning and was shot down on a strafing mission over Greece. His story as told by R.C. George is riveting. Read more

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    An outstanding book of a story of a American Army Corps pilot, Second Lieutenant Dave MacArthur who was shot down over a mission in Greece by a German 88-mm anti-aircraft round in his P-38 Lightning on October 6, 1944. He was later captured and first sent to Dachau, then on to Stalag VII-A in Moosburg, Germany. At the same time, His father Lieutenant Colonel Vaughn MacArthur. Who was a chaplain with the 8th Armored Division of Patton's Third Army made it his mssion to search for him.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Haley Just

    Excellent story about perseverance and tenacity. Starts a little slower, but the author moves into the suspenseful part soon.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Interesting story, mostly about prisoner of war camps.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tony Gilerovich

    Great read One of the better recollections of our American heroes and their experiences. Fascinating story. Could use better editing, but I have seen a lot worse.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna Pachota

    Great history Very good historical book. Hard to imagine the horrors he went through. Interesting that he is local in Venice FL

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Stout

    Fantastic read! Dave MacArthur was a true patriot.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melody Hill

    Interesting story. Such tenacity. Good read for history buffs.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Signe

  19. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Campbell

  20. 4 out of 5

    Janis Fisher

  21. 5 out of 5

    maliko

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike Hargrave

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda May

  24. 4 out of 5

    anne wittenmeier

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Kelly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lorelei Willems

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben Harvey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ernest G

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