I just read Roscoe Red Three Is Missing by Danny I.P. Keay. This was a very well-written and moving book about the life of 1LT Paul Mazal, 513th Fighter Squadron, 406th Fighter Group, 9th Army Air Force. The book was also about the men who researched his life and service and then recovered his remains.
The book is short but powerful. You will need tissues near the end as the story comes to its conclusion. And if you ever wonder as a genealogist if the ancestors are helping us as we work – this book will leave you a believer. I have seen and experienced this many times as I work through the research and writing of my Stories of the Lost book. Clues pop up out of seemingly nowhere. The right person is placed in your path just went you need someone. A phone call you anticipate might provide a negative result provides something positive. Pay attention because it does happen!
Now, I’ve been doing a lot of research into World War II but not specifically pilots. My focus has been more on Army soldiers. Aviation is still a little too technical for me right now but I’m learning…..slowly. Danny writes in a way that anyone can understand the aviation lingo and events transpiring as Paul prepares for his final flight.
Danny outlined the steps he took to research Paul’s life and then recover his remains. He moves into the process by which the remains were identified and returned to the family. The book ends with a moving account of how Paul was honored upon his return home, both by his family and the military. Again – get your tissues because you will need them. (Spoiler alert: This is another part of the story that will make you believe the ancestors help us.)
As a researcher, the only thing I wish this book had was notes and sources. It is my hope in a future edition, the author will provide these pieces. As a research junkie, I love this type of information. As a writer, I really enjoyed the style he used as he looks back and then to the present, throughout the first part of the story. I do not write this way but after seeing how Danny did it, this style is something I could use in a future book. It worked.
I encourage you to read this book and catch a glimpse into the life of those brave men and women who fought to preserve our way of life and the men and women who bring them home. If Danny writes another book you better believe I’ll be one of the first in line to buy it.
© 2014, Generations, Woodridge, IL