Part One: Preface:









            Since I was only ten years old when he gave his life for his country my memories of my brother Rudy during his early years are part reality, part myth, and part stories I was told about him by my older brothers and parents. This biography is as factual as such sources and my writing skills could make it.  The story of his final mission on April 1, 1944 is based on information I gleaned from B-24 crewmen who flew over Occupied Europe, from “After Mission Reports” I found at Maxwell AFB’s Repository in Montgomery AL and from Mr. Frank Zywiczynski (Zev-a-chin-ski) the only crew member who survived his crew’s final aerial combat.  The dialogue between crew members is pure speculation but it is based on what learned in my research and interviews.  It is "manufactured" to give the reader a better understanding of what the characters in the story were feeling and thinking

            My brother was one of the hundreds of thousands of young men who came to be called “The Greatest Generation.”  Perhaps they were.  But in their minds, they were ordinary American citizens who did nothing more than live up to the responsibility their citizenship required.       

            Most of them were born in the 1920’s; a decade that, when it began, seemed to promise those children a way of life more prosperous, more leisurely and more enjoyable than any previous generation in American history. That utopian vision turned to a nightmarish reality for those children before they reached their teen-aged years.  They spent their later childhood and total adolescence living in a grinding relentless economic depression that left many of them going to bed hungry each night.  They left their teen years to enter a world that had become engulfed in flames, blood and broken bones by a horrific all-encompassing war. A war that ended life just as it was starting for so many of them.

            This is the story of one of those young men. He was born on a beautiful spring day in Arkansas in1921 and died at the age of 22 high above Rheims, France on another not so beautiful spring day in 1944.



Technical Sergeant Raymond R. "Rudy" Carriker

Taken sometime in early 1944


            His life may not have been exceptional when measured on the same scale with all men of his generation.  But no measurement would describe him as I knew and remember him.  He was my “big brother” whom I loved dearly.  He was at times my role model; other times my mentor, and always my friend.  It has been my honor to describe his short life to the best of my ability. 

I have deliberately written these episodes in a relatively new genre called "Creative Non-Fiction" which is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives.  I have neither “created” nor “deleted” any pertinent FACTS.  This is the first of what will be thirteen parts that tell the story of Rudy's life and death.

Part Two: The Mission
Stand Your Grounds


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