An interview with Grover Silcox, host of Veterans Day special ‘Victory in the Sky’

Written by on November 11, 2021

An interview with Grover Silcox, host of Veterans Day special ‘Victory in the Sky’

By WLVR Staff
November 11, 2021

“Victory in the Sky” centers on the 8th Air Force and features two authors — Donald Miller, who wrote “Masters of the Air,” and Yvonne Caputo, who wrote “Flying With Dad.” (PBS39 file photo)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – WLVR’s Brad Klein talks with Grover Silcox, host of “Victory in the Sky,” a Veterans Day special.

It’s about the 8th Air Force, which fought over Europe in WWII. Grover speaks with two authors, Yvonne Caputo, who wrote “Flying With Dad” and Donald Miller, who wrote “Masters of the Air.”

Listen to the interview.

The latter is being made into a major television series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. 

“Victory in the Sky” airs at 7 p.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, on PBS39.

Klein and Silcox’s interview was produced by Emma Illick-Frank.

Brad Klein

“Grover Silcox is a familiar voice to WLVR  listeners who hear his observations weekend mornings.  He’s hosting a fascinating television special for Veterans Day which will air on our television partner PBS39 at 7 p.m. today.

“Thanks for dropping by Grover.”

Grover Silcox

“Well, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me Brad.”

Klein

“The special is called ‘Victory in the Sky.’ It’s about the 8th Air Force which fought over Europe in World War II. Let’s hear just a little bit from the show. 

Silcox

“Those who fought our wars often described the unspeakable terrors on the battlefield. But imagine a battlefield 22,000 feet in the air.” 

Klein

“There are two authors that you speak with in the show, both bring a wealth of knowledge about the 8th Air Force. 

“First, tell me about Yvonne Caputo.”

Silcox

“Yvonne Caputo is an educator and a psychotherapist but her story is a very personal one.

“It’s about the relationship she had with her father who was in the Army Air Force in World War II in the 8th Air Force and never spoke about it. And after his wife had passed, he was an elder gentleman, he mentioned one of the experiences that he had to Yvonne.

“She had always wondered why he was so emotionally unavailable. And so, that moment served as an opportunity for her to really start to understand her father. And once he broke the ice, he started telling her all kinds of things. It was story after story after story and much of it, the trauma that he shared.” 

Klein

“Let’s hear a little bit from the show.”

Silcox

“Sure.”

Yvonne Caputo

“I said , so tell me about the Messerschmitt, and he said,’Oh honey, they were so fast. Our gunners couldn’t trail them. At first we were flying in the solid formations, we couldn’t move.’ And he said, ‘They could come over us, they could come under us and we were sitting ducks.’” 

Klein

“So putting that in context, it’s a terrifying moment, as you say, 22,000 feet in the air.”

Silcox

“Yes. And not only that, but her father years later at an air show, turns around and there is one of the Messerschmitts, the jets. And he dropped and fainted and was completely out for a couple minutes.” 

Klein

“Oh my gosh.” 

Silcox

“He was experiencing the trauma that he had when he first encountered these jets 22,000 feet in the air.” 

Klein

“We would call it post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but they didn’t really have the term for it.” 

Silcox

“No. Frequently they called it battle fatigue and tried to really brush it off to get them back into the fight.” 

Klein

“The other author is Donald Miller who wrote ‘Masters of the Air.’ He brings more of a big picture point of view to the story, right?” 

Silcox

“He gives you the big picture but he also weaves throughout personal stories from the training to the first encounter with German fighters and flak, which was terrifying.

“But he’s really a treasure for the Lehigh Valley because he is an internationally renowned historian and author and a professor at Lafayette College.” 

Donald Miller

“This got very personal. You could see the eyes of German pilots as they were coming in at a closing speed of 600 mph. You can see their faces.” 

Klein

“Miller’s book is being produced into a television series by a couple of promising young filmmakers, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. What can you tell us about that?” 

Silcox

“So they’re recreating dramatically what’s in his book. When he went over there to the set he couldn’t believe it: They had built an entire air base to replicate the typical air base for a 1st Air Force group.” 

Klein

“When might we actually see that television adaptation?” 

Silcox

“This will be a 10-part series on Apple TV next year.” 

Klein

“You know, there’s some amazing stories in your program and for Veterans Day. It really makes you think about that time in the mid-20th century when so much was at stake. I’m so glad that you’re bringing that to us.” 

Silcox

“Well, it’s really an honor to be able to do it. The campaign that they waged was pivotal in destroying the Nazi war machine and bringing the war to an end.” 

Klein

“And I know, on a personal note, like Yvonne Caputo’s father, your own father served in World War II. Am I right? 

Silcox

“He he did actually. Don Miller’s father was in the U.S. Army Air Force and my father served in the Pacific in New Guinea with the 5th Air Force.” 

Klein

“Well thank you so much for joining us, Grover.” 

Silcox

“My pleasure. Thanks for having me.” 

Klein

“Grover Silcox is hosting a Veterans Day special on our television partner, PBS39.

“It airs at 7 p.m. tonight.

“‘Take Five’ with Grover Silcox can be heard on WLVR Saturday and Sunday mornings.”

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