If this country has learned one thing the past couple of years, it is the fragility of freedom. The September 11th
attack provided a stark reminder to all of us about the millions of Americans who have fought to preserve our
freedom since the birth of this nation. Writing Honoring South Carolina’s World War II Heroes of Flight is my
way of thanking every military man and woman – active duty and retired – as we celebrate the 100th
anniversary of flight. In this book, artist Eddie Sutton and I pay tribute to some of the heroes of one generation
in hopes of raising awareness about the past and present sacrifices of all those who serve.
Some of the names will be familiar as you read these pages, others you may be learning about for the first
time. These humble aviators of World War II are our neighbors, community activists, and fellow parishioners,
but they are never quick to flaunt their accomplishments. So I will do it for them. Regretfully, the list of pilots is
not exhaustive – I sincerely wish I could have included every story out there. In meeting the aviators I was able
to interview, I have learned a great deal and have been touched by their remarkable tales of bravery and
devotion to this country.
I would like to thank all of the airmen for their cooperation and patience in proofreading my rough drafts. I am
also very grateful to Eddie Sutton, a gifted artist, who was able to help make these stories come to life with his
brilliant paintings; Photographer Anne Lewis – her flare for the craft, along with her respect and love for
veterans made the project even more special; Editor Terri Randall has been wonderful, providing extremely
valuable input and ensuring the grammatical accuracy of the book; Kathy Fuller – in charge of layout – has
incredible vision and talent.
I would also like to say thank you to my husband, Derek Pepin – a former Black Hawk pilot – for sharing his
military expertise and reviewing countless pages of copy. And finally, I must express my gratitude to Woody
Randall, with the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, for believing in this project from the very beginning and for all
his support throughout its production.
It has been an incredible honor to be a part of this tribute to veterans, because I know that far too often we
forget all they have done. As my dear friend Col. Sally Crouch once told me, “Flowers grow in Flanders Fields,
and unless we’re careful there will be only flowers to mark our having been here.”
- Rebecca Pepin
|Note From Author
WWII Heroes of Flight
|(From L to R)
Kathy Fuller - Layout Design Artist
Eddie Sutton - Illustrator
Rebecca Pepin - Author