Born in the Philippines to an American father and a Filipina mother, George Cooper was one of the few surviving veteran pilots who saw action over such fearsome targets as Rabaul and Wewak. Not just another flag-waving story of air combat, Jayhawk describes the war as it really was—a conflict with far-reaching tentacles that gripped and tore at not only the combatants, but also their families, friends and the way they lived their lives.
Stout examines the story of Cooper’s growing up in gentle and idyllic pre-war Manila and how he grew to be the man he was. Stout reviews Cooper’s journey to the United States and his unlikely entry into the United States Army Air Forces. Trained as a B-25 pilot, Cooper was assigned to the iconic 345th Bomb Group and flew strafing missions that shredded the enemy, but likewise put himself and his comrades in grave danger. A husband and father, Cooper was pulled two ways by the call of duty and his obligation to his wife and daughter. And always on his mind was the family he left behind in the Philippines who were in thrall to the Japanese.
Going to America
He's in the Army Now
Occupied and Interned
Getting "Over There"
Introduction to Combat
Transition to Low-Level Strafing
Wewak, Rabaul, and other Actions
First Combat Tour Completed
Death of a Childhood Friend
Return to the Pacific
Rescue at Santos Tomas
"Cooper’s comments on the differences between the airplanes he flew in combat were particularly interesting." ~Air Power History
"Author Jay Stout, himself an air combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm, hits his stride describing the grueling attacks on Rabaul and Wewak. Through it all, Cooper never lost his humanity. Prayers for his parents and sister, who suffered under the brutal Japanese occupation of the Philippines, were answered when they were liberated thanks in no small measure to his own heroism in the Pacific theater. Highly recommended!" ~Aviation History Magazine
"[Jay Stout] excels not only in terms of structuring compelling and engaging narratives, but he also succeeds in making real history accessible to all." ~Combatsim.com
“In Jayhawk, author Jay Stout continues to soar as he presents the moving biography of a World War II centenarian, B-25 pilot George Cooper. Among the last living eyewitnesses to the air war in the Pacific, Cooper flew more than 70 combat missions as his family endured the torment of Japanese forces who had taken his family as prisoners of war in the Philippines. This is a story of love, honor, service, sacrifice, and endurance, captured in page-turning prose that honors a decorated aviator who was truly a giant among the many from America’s greatest generation." ~Stephen L. Moore, author of Rain of Steel: Mitscher’s Task Force 58, Ugaki’s Thunder Gods, and the Kamikaze War off Okinawa
“Students of the Pacific War know ‘the saga of Pappy Gunn,’ the innovative 5th Air Force officer who developed B-25 gunships for low-level attacks against enemy ships. But in Jayhawk, former Marine Corps aviator Jay Stout teams with retired Air Force Colonel George Cooper who, like Gunn, fought a personal aerial war to retrieve his family from Japanese captivity in the Philippines. The personal, you-are-there style is what readers have come to expect of Stout, and they will not be disappointed in Cooper’s stirring tale.” ~Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan 1942–1945
“Jayhawk is more than a gripping story of an American war hero, it is a sweeping, outstanding drama of one family’s struggle, hope and survival in World War II worthy of the big screen. A must read.” ~Colin D. Heaton, author of The Star of Africa and Noble Warrior
“Jay Stout combines his crisp, technically accurate style with Cooper’s incredible memory to produce this highly readable biography of one of the last of the living World War II heroes ... The story is unique and well worth reading by anyone interested in the prewar Philippines or the tactical air war in the Pacific Theater.” ~Donald Caldwell, author of Thunder on Bataan
"A unique and invaluable contribution to the growing library of World War II military biographies..." ~Midwest Book Review