When 26 Army nurses and medics-part of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron-boarded a cargo plane for transport in November 1943, they never anticipated the crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania that would lead to their months-long struggle for survival. Read more...
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When 26 Army nurses and medics-part of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron-boarded a cargo plane for transport in November 1943, they never anticipated the crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania that would lead to their months-long struggle for survival. A drama that captured the attention of the American public, the group and its flight crew dodged bullets and battled blinding winter storms as they climbed mountains and fought to survive, aided by courageous villagers who risked death at Nazi hands to help them.
A mesmerizing tale of the courage and heroism of ordinary people, THE SECRET RESCUE tells not only a new story of struggle and endurance, but also one of the daring rescue attempts by clandestine American and British organizations amid the tumultuous landscape of the war.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-05-20
- Reviewer: Staff
National Geographic staff writer Lineberry divulges a 70-year old WWII secret that ends happily. In November 1943 a US transport plane with 30 medics, plus 12 nurses from the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron, got lost en route to Bari from Sicily. Air-lifting was in its infancy with personnel traveling on transport planes that converted into ambulances on return flights. Due to inclement conditions, the plane crashed on the wrong side of the Adriatic Sea in German-occupied Al-bania. Rather than being rescuers, suddenly they were in need of rescue. For 60 days the group trekked through remote Balkan villages following local guides named Qani, Ismail, and Haki in search of Brit-ish comrades. Battling vermin, hunger, thirst, and Nazis as meticulously recounted by Lineberry, they trudged more than 650 miles and miraculously made it home. Yet these members of the 807th kept mum until 2011 when the author interviewed the only living survivor, 89-year old Harold Hayes, at a retirement home in Oregon. With a cast of characters that includes British star Anthony Quayle as an undercover agent, survivalists and history buffs will relish the daily escapades of this heroic American contingent. (May)