Judie Ohm is our next Madtown Author! I’m very excited to meet her at the event in Madison, and hopefully Doug Ward will be joining her, because it would be an honor to meet him! Reading this book really took me back to when I was a little girl and my Pop-Pop would tell me the stories of when he was in the Navy during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The history and stories of these service men and women are important, and I wish I could have written down some of his stories like Judie has done for Doug.
Like many young men his age during WWII, Doug Ward volunteered for the military to serve his country. He signed up for the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was trained as a mechanic. In order to stay with the men he trained with as they went to fight in the European Theater, Doug volunteered to become Ball Turret Gunner in a B-17. He is credited with 37 missions. With pictures he took while in the 301st Bomb Group, 15th Air Force in Italy and the 305th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force in England, Judie Ohm, author, and Doug tell the story of his life. With over 400 pictures, the book starts with his young life and continues with his life at the Log Cabin Airport. Turret Tales also includes a tribute chapter to his childhood friend, Chris Hanseman, the youngest Ace in WWII from Mondovi, Wisconsin, who was killed flying a P-51.
This was such a fantastic book, and I think the thing I loved most was the way Doug’s story was told through entries from his service diary and letters he had written and received from friends and family that had been preserved throughout the years. One of my favorite things were the letters from his friend Chris who was in the Air Force with him. There is even a chapter dedicated to Chris, who died in a plane crash overseas during a mission. I loved all of the pictures throughout the book as well. There were over 400 pictures in this book, and I loved getting to see pictures of Doug when he was in the air force and of him with his family and friends, but there were also many pictures of service records and mission records which were really interesting to see. It’s amazing how well preserved these documents were. So many times stories like Doug’s get lost throughout the years and forgotten, and books like this are so important.
His life after the service is just as interesting. He bought a piece of land in Mondovi WI, and built a log cabin, and I literally mean he built it himself. In 1985 his interest in aviation sparked again and he bought a plane and built a hanger on the property. From there he attained a few more planes, built a bunkhouse, a saloon, and a barbershop and started to host Fly-Ins for friends and neighbors. Judie and Doug to this day host Fly-Ins every year and their last one was this past Feb (2017), which was their 17th annual Ski Fly-In.
This was such a great book, and I highly recommend it!
I just wanted to include a small sample of some of the amazing things you will get in this book. The first image is of part of Doug’s service diary, the second is part of the introduction to the book and shows the type of pictures and memorabilia you will get to see when you read this book 🙂 I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did!
Judie Ohm and Doug Ward!