Clem Leone Book Signing @ Gettyburg Heritage Center


B 24 “No one, not even her makers at the Consolidated plant in California, where she was born, is proud of her appearance.  She looks fat and awkward indeed, and sits squat on an airfield, with husky .50 caliber machine guns sticking like pin-feathers from her nose, belly, back, sides, and tail.  But don’t let her seeming clumsiness fool you.  She’s one of the deadliest and most devastating weapons ever created by the hand of man; with that quality her builders – and, more important, the men who fly her – are tremendously satisfied, for she carries a heavier bomb load than any other ship of her class.”  (Popular Science, May 1943, page 86.)

It comes as a surprise that we have a real World War 2 U.S. Army/Airforce Technical Sergeant in our midst. In this video, filmed in the The Gettysburg Heritage Center on November 20, 2016 by Joe Richard, Robert Matzen and Clem Leone speak about how the real life story of a fly boy with Baltimore roots gets published.

Clem Leone has lived at Lake Heritage for many years. The bombing raids over Germany are long past but they resurface in Robert Matzen’s Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe released on October 27th of this year. According to Matzen, Clem Leone gives you a behind the cockpit view of a Liberator 24, the premier bomber of the European theater.

Leone, only a senior in high school when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, proved to be a superb eye witness for the book because “he remembers everything.” Leone was interviewed for hours by Matzen and they went over the smallest biographical details. The worst thing that Clem could possibly say about anything that appeared in the book when truth battled fiction was “that’s Hollywood.” The seven minute long video is populated by a dozen or so Lake Heritage members who came to hear Matzen and Leone discuss the book and its significance. One can say that at Lake Heritage, history is in our backyard.

Video: Joe Richard Text: George Thorsen