Hear 100-Year-Old WWII Hero John 'Lucky' Luckadoo Share His Story

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John Luckadoo
World War II pilot John Luckadoo during basic flight training at Shaw Field in Sumter, SC. (Macmillan)

You may know Kevin Maurer from "No Easy Day," the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir he wrote with former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette. Maurer has found another incredible story to tell in "Damn Lucky: One Man's Courage During the Bloodiest Campaign in Aviation History."

The book tells the story of World War II bomber pilot John "Lucky" Luckadoo, who flew B-17 Flying Fortresses over France and Germany between June and October 1943. In a war where the average bomber crew flew 8-12 missions, Luckadoo survived 25 while piloting his plane through Luftwaffe machine-gun fire and antiaircraft flak in subzero temperatures.

The pilot grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and joined the Army after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. After training, he served with the Eighth Air Force 100th Bomb Group based in Thorpe Abbotts, England. The unit became known as the "Bloody Hundredth" because of its high casualty rate.

"We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. My hope is that this book honors the men with whom I served by telling the truth about what it took to climb into the cold blue and fight for our lives over and over again."

--John "Lucky" Luckadoo, Major, USAF (Ret.) 100th Bomb Group (H)

"Damn Lucky" will be available on April 19, 2022, in hardcover, ebook and audiobook formats. The audiobook will feature a bonus conversation between Maurer and Luckadoo, but we're able to share it with you now.

Forty men from Luckdoo's training class served in the 100th Bomb Group, and only four completed their tour. Luckadoo, who turned 100 in March 2022, was fortunate to survive the war and we're lucky that Maurer decided to help tell his story.

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