Merriam Press Military Monograph 117. Author was a ball turret gunner in a B-17 with the 533rd Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force, Ridgewell, England. Out of the harshness of the Great Depression were produced the people who would fight World War Two in the factories and on the battlefields. Though very human in their failings, they were a generation or so of people who were not particularly self-absorbed or frivolous. As history has shown, they were able to face with fierce dedication the terrible forces of the Axis Powers and beat them. This story observes one of these young persons as he grows rapidly to adulthood, along with his peers, experiencing love, fear and having deep feelings of dedication to protect his country and is told at times with some humor. This memoir is the story of a young aerial machine gunner, on a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, who had to grow up fast. He participated as a teenaged enlisted man in the World War II Big League of air war the ETO. In his turret hanging under that storied bomber, he was positioned to defend his bomber from the Luftwaffe's deadly fighter aircraft. This compelling story presents his perspective of the committed life he and his peers brought to manned bomber warfare, which is The View From The Bottom Up literally and figuratively. Contents: Prologue; Author's Notes and Acknowledgements; Chapter 1: The Boy Awakens; Chapter 2: From Long Beach to Tampa; Chapter 3: E Pluribus Unum; Chapter 4: Bon Voyage; Chapter 5: And So It Begins; Chapter 6: Return to Schweinfurt; Chapter 7: London; Chapter 8: Of Shots and Chaff; Chapter 9: The City Girl; Chapter 10: Hamburg to Buzz Bombs; Chapter 11: The Dog Fight; Chapter 12: The Battle of the Bulge; Chapter 13: At The Palace Hotel; Chapter 14: Big B and Valentine's Day; Chapter 15: The Combat Tour Closes; Chapter 16: Goodbye; Chapter 17: VE Day in the Dark; Chapter 18: The Final Challenge; Epilogue; Afterword; Addenda 1: Combat Missions; Addenda 2: Medals Awarded to S/Sgt. Robert Gilbert; Addenda 3: Fortieth Year Reunion, Seattle; References; 27 photos, illustrations and documents.