John Comer flew twenty-five combat missions over occupied Europe and Germany in 1943, including the infamous raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing plant that is still referred to in the Air Force as Black Thursday. After completing his tour with the 8th Air Force, Comer returned to the States and was assigned to train new pilots. Believing this duty to be the most hazardous of all, he volunteered to return to combat and flew fifty more missions in Italy for a total of 75. He retired in 1974 after a successful career in sales and lived in Dallas, Texas. He published his World War II memoirs in 1986 and found a worldwide audience. He died at the age of 95 in 2005.
Combat Crew is one of the best memoirs about the air war over Europe ever written.
John Comer kept a journal of the 25 missions he flew in 1943 when the casualty rate on his base was close to 80%. After each raid Comer gathered the crew together and pieced together the air battle from a 360-degree perspective. His book is handwritten history, recorded within hours after the battles occured.