I am extremely happy to announce the publishing of Lucky's Life! It is available now in ebook version on Amazon - Lucky's Life by Donald Larson.
The color paperback version (630 pages - Retail $45) can be viewed/ordered at https://www.facebook.com/luckyslifevc38/
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The story of my uncle, William Rudolf Larson- nicknamed "Lucky" by his fellow pilots, is the account and authentic voice of a WWII TBF pilot told in his own words from more than 60 family letters and postcards to his proud parents and his kid-brother - my father. Lucky served on the USS Nashville before WWII, participated on the Doolittle Raid as a SOC pilot, and then trained in the new Avenger plane before shipping out to the Solomon Islands and bombing Japanese positions during the Bougainville Campaign of 1943. Several of his aviation exploits were chronicled in the Chicago Daily News, the Oakland Tribune, the Divide County Journal, and the Williston Herald. Lucky's letters to his home were saved in a pinewood Naval trunk for 70 years within the family. Upon researching his life, the War Diary of his radioman was discovered and filled in the rich WWII history of Lucky and his fellow VC 38 squadron. Recent declassified mission reports of VC 38's heroic actions during the Bougainville Campaign also provide an insight into Lucky's war experience and air battles. Sadly, Lucky never returned to the family farm in rural Divide County, North Dakota. Lucky was posthumously awarded the Air Medal. This book includes condolence letters from family members and VC 38 pilots, along with their individual stories and photographs. 43 TBF mission reports and over 150 unpublished WWII-era photographs and maps are included.
Guide to Abbreviations and Acronyms xiii
The Early Years & Family Background xvii
Time at US NAS Pensacola Florida 1
Days Aboard the USS Nashville (1940 to 1942) 15
VGS-21 Days — West Coast 58
VC 38 Days — California, At Sea, Guadalcanal, & Munda Point 80
The Aftermath 141
Study Myself 211
William Rudolf Larson Background Items 249
USS Nashville War Diary April 18 1942 Doolittle Raid 297
Lucky’s Flight to Tanaga 315
Intelligence Reports & War Diaries 325
Tribute to VC38 471
The Making of Lucky’s Life 587
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