It has now been half a century since Catch-22's publication. Currently, the
surviving men of the 57th Bomb Wing, which was comprised of the 310th, 319th,
321st, and Heller's 340th Bomb Groups, while celebrating at their annual WWII ...
Author: Patricia Chapman Meder
The real-life companion to the literary classic—written and illustrated by the daughter of the 340th Bomb Group’s commander, Catch-22’s Col. Cathcart. After the publication of his bestselling novel Catch-22, Joseph Heller usually chose to deny that any of his richly drawn characters were based on his actual war mates. However, to those who served with Heller in the 340th Bomb Group, the novel’s characters were indeed recognizable—the hard-drinking, vengeful, and disillusioned Chief White Halfoat; young, sliced-in-half Kid Sampson; shrieking, frenzied Hungry Joe; Col. Cathcart; Gen. Dreedle; Yossarian; and that capitalist supreme, Milo Minderbinder. In this book, written and colorfully illustrated by the daughter of the 340th Bomb Group’s commander, Col. Willis Chapman, we finally encounter the real men and combat missions on which the novel was based. While Heller’s fully developed characters stand solely, solidly, and uniquely on their own merits, The True Story of Catch-22 proves that any resemblance to persons living or dead is, in fact, actual. This three-part book blends fact, fancy, and history with full-blown original illustrations and rare, previously unpublished photos of these daring USAAF flyers and their Corsica-based B-25 Mitchell. Along with descriptions of the 340th’s real wartime experiences, the work includes twelve men of the Bomb Group relating richly told tales of their own. “In these pages it is a great pleasure to finally see the real story behind the fictionalized account, and to be even more impressed.” —Scott Carpenter, NASA astronaut “Heller’s satiric caricatures are here shown to have stemmed from patriotic, courageous, highly decorated airmen who daily performed heroic wartime feats against overwhelming obstacles.” —Library Journal