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Fighter Pilot Tells the Story of World War II Hero Alex Vraciu '41

Fighter Pilot Tells the Story of World War II Hero Alex Vraciu '41

April 12, 2010

Alex Vraciu with Plane.jpgApril 12, 2010, Greencastle, Ind. — In the new book, Fighter Pilot: The World War II Career of Alex Vraciu, "Author Ray E. Boomhower chronicles an irrepressible Navy flier worthy of lasting recognition for wartime feats that raise eyebrows," notes a story in Indiana's Gary Post-Tribune. During World War II, Vraciu, a 1941 graduate of DePauw University, "shot down 19 enemy airplanes, destroyed another 21 on the ground, and sank a Japanese ship with a bomb strike" and was honored with the Navy Cross, writes Bob Kostanczuk.

"Nationally, he's probably a person who's been overlooked," says Boomhower, whose book has been published by the Indiana Historical Society Press. "There aren't a lot of nationally known World War II heroes, unless you're talking about famous generals like Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley. A lot of the individual soldiers of the war are kind of forgotten because individuality was kind of lost during World War II. They became one of the pack."

Vraciu, who is now 91 years old, tells the newspaper, "I didn't Fighter Pilot Vraciu book.jpgfight a war for medals and I didn't fight it for money."

The feature recounts Vraciu's upbringing in East Chicago, Indiana. "His free spirit was evident in a prank Vraciu pulled during a psychology class he was taking at DePauw University in Greencastle," Kostanczuk reports." The course, in part, dealt with a human's ability to observe, and accurately recall what was observed. Vraciu put the classroom to the ultimate test by feigning distress and jumping out the second-floor window. He landed in an outstretched tarpaulin held by cohorts. Vraciu's legend on campus was cemented: 'I got credit for everything crazy that happened from that point on.' After graduating from DePauw, Vraciu's service in the Navy began in late 1941."

You'll find the complete article at the Post-Tribune's Web site.

Learn more about Alex Vraciu in this previous story.