Vanished Hero

Published: January 11th, 2017     
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Author: Jay A. Stout
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo - IPMS# 46363
ISBN #: 978-1-61200-395-5
Price: $32.95
Product provided by: Casemate Publishing

This book covers the military service history of Elwyn Righetti, a fighter ace and the higher strafing fighter ace from the Eight Air Force with 27 victories. In addition to that he destroyed over 600 enemy locomotives, including over 170 in just a period of 2 days!

Righetti was fascinated with aviation since an early age and learned to fly when he was young. He was a naturally gifted pilot and as such he was made an instructor after qualifying as a pilot with the USAAF. He spent most of the war in the States, training cadre after cadre of pilots. He arrived to the European Front in late 1944 and was put in charge of the 55th Fighter Group.

His aggressive commanding style made of him and his group an outstanding outfit. Although he was not always liked by other pilots in his group, he was always respected. His luck ran out almost at the end of the war. While strafing ground targets his P-51 was hit and he crashed behind enemy lines. Despite surviving the crash landing his fate is still unknown. A handful of theories and rumors are discussed in the book but none is really known for certain.

Jay Stout did a great job in this book. He was offered plenty of research material- including many letters Righetti wrote to his family- but the author never had the chance to meet Righetti or other relevant people to his story. Still this book is almost like an auto-biography as the selected letter quotes tell the story in Righetti's owns words and the author just adds enough context to Righetti's life and situation to make the read easy and enjoyable.

Through Righetti's personal story this book also offers a good insight into the Home Front activities during 1942-1944, the European Theater of Operation during 1944-45 and even details on operations and missions flown by the 55th Fighter Group.

I will highly recommend this book to any aviation history aficionado.

I want to thank Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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