My father, Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Sr., was a bombardier during World War II. He served with the 8th Air Force based in England. When he passed away in 2003, some of the men who had served with him told me about their combat experiences in the skies over Germany and occupied Europe. It was then that I realized that my father was actually a wartime hero. Like so many other veterans of that era, he did not talk very much about the war. While growing up, I only had a vague idea of what my Dad did in the military. At the age of 62, I decided to find out more about the man whom I knew and loved all my life, but knew little about his service to our country.
Over a three year period, I gathered many details about my father's military career. I sifted through hundreds of pages searching for bits of information in an attempt to tell his story. I was able to document a major portion of his time in the Army Air Corps. I knew that my parents had corresponded extensively during the war. They saved the many letters written between them. I thought that if I could read them all, it would reveal additional aspects about his military service. I quickly discovered that he could not write about military strategy or bombing missions he flew, for that would have been a breach of security.
However, what I did discover from reading over a thousand letters between them was a beautiful love story. Thus, Hearts Away, Bombs Away is a true story about an American hero, but it is also a story of a young couple who were deeply in love.