Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII

Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII

by John R. Bruning


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In this remarkable WWII story by New York Times bestselling author John R. Bruning, a renegade American pilot fights against all odds to rescue his family — imprisoned by the Japanese—and revolutionizes modern warfare along the way.

From the knife fights and smuggling runs of his youth to his fiery days as a pioneering naval aviator, Paul Irving "Pappy" Gunn played by his own set of rules and always survived on his wits and fists. But when he fell for a conservative Southern belle, her love transformed him from a wild and reckless airman to a cunning entrepreneur whose homespun engineering brilliance helped launch one of the first airlines in Asia.

Pappy was drafted into MacArthur's air force when war came to the Philippines; and while he carried out a top-secret mission to Australia, the Japanese seized his family. Separated from his beloved wife, Polly, and their four children, Pappy reverted to his lawless ways. He carried out rescue missions with an almost suicidal desperation. Even after he was shot down twice and forced to withdraw to Australia, he waged a one-man war against his many enemies — including the American high command and the Japanese—and fought to return to the Philippines to find his family.

Without adequate planes, supplies, or tactics, the U.S. Army Air Force suffered crushing defeats by the Japanese in the Pacific. Over the course of his three-year quest to find his family, Pappy became the renegade who changed all that. With a brace of pistols and small band of loyal fol,lowers, he robbed supply dumps, stole aircraft, invented new weapons, and modified bombers to hit harder, fly farther, and deliver more destruction than anything yet seen in the air. When Pappy's modified planes were finally unleashed during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, the United States scored one of the most decisive victories of World War II.

Taking readers from the blistering skies of the Pacific to the jungles of New Guinea and the Philippines to one of the the war's most notorious prison camps, Indestructible traces one man's bare-knuckle journey to free the people he loved and the aerial revolution he sparked that continues to resonate across America's modern battlefields.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316339414
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 05/02/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 184,911
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

John R. Bruning is the author or collaborating writer of the national bestseller, Indestructible, as well as Outlaw Platoon written with Sean Parnell, Shadow of the Sword with Jeremiah Workman, How to Break a Terrorist with Matthew Alexander, House to House with David Bellavia, The Devil's Sandbox, and Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent with Fred Burton.

Bruning is well traveled as an embedded combat correspondent. For his reporting in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense presented him with the Thomas Jefferson Award in 2010. For his work with the Oregon National Guard, he was inducted into the 162nd Infantry Regiment in September 2011 as an honorary member. John lives in Independence, Oregon, and has two children.

Table of Contents

Maps xii-xv

Preface xvii

Part 1 Philippine Odyssey 1

1 The Last Normal Day 3

2 The Mysterious Traveler 12

3 Into the Storm 25

4 The Voice of Manila 39

5 The Day of Fiestas 46

6 Terror in the Night 58

7 Silver Screen Scenes 65

8 Running Toward Trouble 73

9 The Noose 81

10 The Middle-Aged Recruit 93

11 Outlaw Son of a Lawman 104

12 The Noose 119

13 American Red Baron 128

14 Refugee Allies 135

15 Routine in Chaos 145

16 Christmas Eve 154

17 The Last Broadcast 164

Part 2 The Legend of Pappy Gunn 173

18 Early Legends 175

19 The Perilous Consequence of Not in Stock 179

20 Daniel Boone of the Dutch East Indies 195

21 Eighth Avenue Rules 212

22 Pappy and Miss EMF 221

23 Voiding the Warranty 226

24 Where the Weak Are Prey 237

25 Wainwright to Mac Arthur: Where Is Captain Gunn? 252

26 The Indomitable Luck of Pappy Gunn 263

27 The Canberra Commandos and the Numerous Troubles That Ensued 273

28 Killing von Gronau 284

29 Secrets, Spies, and Mystery Holes 299

30 Survival Versus Sin 312

31 The Death-Dealing Sweetheart with the Jack Dempsey Crouch 323

32 "The Gun-Craziest Man I Ever Met" 339

33 Bust 'Em George, the Undocumented Renegade General 351

34 Clara Crosby Comes of Age 362

35 Margaret, Pappy's Radical, Scrappy, Lethal Engine of Death 371

36 The War on Hope 383

37 Blood and Fire 390

38 Reconnections and Revolutions 401

Part 3 Homeward Bound 409

39 Later Legends 411

40 Gunship Summer 413

41 Miss Priss Strikes Back 426

42 The Pinky and the Lungs 438

43 On the Tail of Custer's Ghost 446

44 The Vow of Last Resort 460

45 Pappy's Final Battle 469

46 The Sweet Georgia Peach 475

47 War Made Animals of Men 483

48 Ward Six 489

Afterword 499

Acknowledgments 503

Notes 509

Bibliography 515

Index 529

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