The thrilling memoir of a light-aircraft pilot during World War II
During World War II the ability of American ground forces to advance in the face of fierce resistance was largely dependent on the precision of artillery barrages. Aerial observation was frequently the only effective means to locate enemy targets. For this mission the Army air corps used prewar light civilian airplanes (usually reconfigured Piper Cubs) known as Grasshoppers for their ability to take off from and land in tight places like dirt roads, grass fields, and ships. In addition to pinpointing enemy artillery, these aircraft were often assigned other missions—medical evacuations, reporting on enemy troop movements, and reconnaissance—often armed only with handguns.
Julian W. Cummings began flying lightweight Piper Cubs as a young man and was recruited for the experimental and high-risk aerial reconnaissance unit of the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry Division. In this memoir he chronicles his daring missions from first flights in the North African campaign through the end of the war. He flew 485 missions in both theaters, and for his extraordinary bravery in Sicily he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Grasshopper Pilot gives long-overdue attention and credit to the crucial role these courageous men played in combat and adds valuable information to an understudied dimension of the war.
The Kent State University Press is the publishing arm of Kent State University. Our imprint is controlled by an editorial board composed of Kent faculty scholars. As a member of the Association of American University Presses, the Press is included in the select group of more than 100 university-sponsored scholarly presses, whose outstanding programs make them an important segment of the academic and publishing communities.The Press began in 1965 under the direction of Howard Allen and published in the University faculty strengths in literary criticism. In 1972 Paul Rohmann became the Press’s second director and expanded the Press’s publishing program to include regional studies and ethnomusicology. In 1985 historian John Hubbell assumed the directorship and grew the staff and publishing program to include widely regarded lists in Civil War and Ohio history. Today, under director Will Underwood, the Press annually publishes two journals and 35 titles in history, literature, and regional studies that further knowledge of the humanities and preserve and promote a literate society.