An ordinary citizen becomes an extraordinary soldier
On Day 9 of the Battle of the Bulge, 2nd Lt. Donald N Evans was shot down behind enemy lines. Defying odds, he survived bailing out of his P-47 fighter plane seconds before it crashed. He limped and crawled through the snow-covered Ardennes Forest until after dark, trying to find a way back to the American front lines. Lost, cold, and hungry, Don spent Christmas Eve huddled under a pine tree, wondering if he’d ever see his family again. Ahead lay capture by Nazi SS Troops, a 200-mile forced march, near starvation, abuse by guards, and internment in a German POW camp. His will to overcome nearly insurmountable odds is inspiring. That he actually did so is a miracle.
From dirt-poor, small town roots, Don was the quintessential all-American boy, becoming student body president of his high school and earning all-state honors in football, basketball, and tennis. At age eighteen, he was attending college, had fallen in love, and appeared destined for a bright future. Then fate stepped in. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II. Don joined the U.S. Military, along with millions of other young Americans, and went to war. Before shipping overseas, he married his high school sweetheart, Laura Jeanne.
Excerpts from Don and Laura Jeanne’s deeply personal letters allow readers to glimpse emotional events through the eyes of a young couple who lived through these remarkable times. Don and four other flyboys in the 368th Fighter Group of the Ninth Air Force became so close they called themselves The Five. The author artfully weaves their stories together from letters, journals, personal histories, mission reports, and interviews, creating a moving and unforgettable World War II story.