Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum
                                A Non-Profit Corporation

The Last Flight Of The Lady Jeannette
                    ISBN: 0-9662728-0-3

           Book Recommendations and Reviews
                    Page Last Updated: June 06, 2006 10:21:12 AM

April 19, 1998

The Sunday Oklahoman - Michael McNutt

    Arnett, Oklahoma

    Winona Derrick believes a new book makes clear the rest of her story about her World War II
hero uncle.
    ...Russell Gustafson of Oklahoma City, the last crew member to bail out of Gott's crippled bomber
also said Willis "Sam" Cole, Jr. has come with enough facts in his book, "The Last Flight Of The Lady
Jeannette" to convince me.
    "As far as I'm concerned, Sam's research certainly substantiates enough of the facts that I believe
his research."
    ...Gott, a First Lieutenant was on of 11 Oklahomans to be awarded the Medal of Honor during
World War II.  He was also inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Aviation Hall of Fame.  A gate
at Tinker Air Force Base and a main street at Vance Air Force Base in Enid are named after Gott.
April 10, 1998

The Lima News - Mike Lackey

   Inevitably, a sense of impending tragedy hangs over the story of the Lady Jeannette.
    Mostly, of course, that's because we know how the story ends. Shot up by anti-aircraft guns on a
bombing mission over Saarbrucken, Germany, on Nov. 9, 1944, with one of its four engines dead,
another damaged and a third blown completely off, flames shooting from a ruptured fuel lines the
B-17 labored through the skies....
    Five crew members parachuted to safety with minutes to spare.   Four others died.  Two of the
dead--pilot Donald J. Gott of Harmon, Okla., and co-pilot William E. Metzger of Lima--received
the Medal of Honor...
    Fifty-four years later, we have a definitive account of the episode, the heroism, the death and the
aftermath, in Willis S. Cole, Jr.'s "The Last Flight Of The Lady Jeannette."
Cole, a military history buff from Kirkland, Wash., worked six years on the 300-page book.  It
emerges as part chronicle of his rambles in search of military artifacts and part detective story
about mysteries that long surrounded the mission.
    Mostly, the book is about the Lady Jeannette
   The account brings Metzger into surprisingly sharp focus.  At 22, he was flying only his third
combat mission and his first in the Lady Jeannette.  Cole reprints a high school composition in
which Metzger wrote, "If you want to live a rich and full life, you need to think of others as well
as yourself."  Before he ever flew in combat, Metzger had sworn never to leave an aircraft with
a wounded crew member on board.
    "I believe Gott knew right after the first flak burst...that he had little chance of getting out
of the bomber alive," Cole writes "...I believe Metzger probably volunteered to hold the controls
... to let Gott get out."
    Survivors describe Metzger walking back through the fuselage, assessing damage and helping
treat radio operator Robert A. Dunlap, who was too badly wounded to bail out.  In the final hour of
his life, Metzger gave away two parachutes -- his own and the plane's only spare -- to crewmen
whose chutes had been damaged by flak.
    ...Meanwhile, his book stands as a testament to Gott and Metzger's courage and sacrifice.
Though Dunlap died in the crash and another crewman was killed in jumping from the plane,
the rest got home.
    Flight engineer Russell W. Gustafson of Jamestown, N.Y. is one of the three crew members
still living.  When he bailed out, his right leg was broken and his foot nearly shot off.
    Fifteen minutes later, he was in an Army Hospital.


Dear "Sam,"                                      September 25, 1998

    On behalf of my family I want to offer our sincerest thanks for the time you have
taken and the information you have given us.  I have just got of the phone after talking to
the pilot of my brother's plane.  He is in very good health an approaching his 80th
birthday, and appears to have a very good memory of my brother and related several
stories of him both during training and the short time in combat.  His wife is listed as
an associate member in the 452nd only because she signs the checks!......  He, the pilot
told me that he thinks all the other crewmen have passed on.  He was getting a Christmas
card from one of them until two years ago, but hasn't heard from him since.  He thought
my brother and the other waist gunner were killed by fighter attacks prior to the target,
which may or not be accurate, considering the situation of air combat.  At the end of our
conversation he thanked me very much and sounded choked up, which is quite under-
standable, as I was also.
    Thank you for helping me get in touch with him.  I am looking forward to receiving a
copy of the newsletter and please let me know when the new book is published.  I did
inform Hank North of where I  received the info concerning the 452nd Association.
    A little bit about myself.
    I retired from the Air Force in 1974 after twenty years as a navigator-bombardier in
the Strategic Air Command, flying B47's and B52's for the most part.  Also spent four
years as a missile launch officer in North Dakota.  But I was never aware of the detailed
history kept of the air war of WWII, even though I read many books about it.  Your
book certainty brought many memories back to me from WWII years.

Thomas J. Cain
726 Woodlawn Drive
Yukon, OK  73099



Dear Sam,

        At the reunion of the 109th Evac. Veterans in Bloomington, MN, Rhea and I were
really intrigued by your story of the crash of the Lady Jeannette.  We wish you success
in your investigation of the crash and the mix-up in the Army Air Corps records.
        The sight of that plane going down is something I will never forget.
        I bought a copy of your book about it and would like to be on your list of people
interested in any revision you might make.

John S. Lindsey



Dear Sam:

        ...Thank you for including me, on you list.  ...I really do appreciate all you have
done to reconcile, or uncover the facts surrounding "The Lady Jeannette."   My Dad
would be very proud.
        Is there any feedback or anything I can do to assist you in your efforts, please
feel free to call me at anytime.  Please say hello to your wife for me.  I have very nice
memories of our trip to Savannah, to meet many of my dad's friends.

Yours Truly,
Mike Fross    (Son of Sgt. James O. Fross, Ball Turret Gunner, "Lady Jeannette")