does explain some things. For some reason, when the family split up all the kids went with Mom except for Danielle who stayed with Dad. There must have been something keeping her there, though it might have been something dark like identifying with her tormenter, or maybe she was the only one he could relate to for some reason. To judge a man as wanting because he took on the toughest assignment in the Army seems a little too much to me. I'm not sure if you or very many people are aware of this piece of anecdotal information, but an awful lot of pilots, especially fighter pilots were killed after the war driving too fast. Like a lot of people they'd become adrenaline junkies, except there was no diagnosis for it then.
My Dad flew twin engined bombers in WW2, his preferred height was zero feet, not for the rush but because it was safer by the time Jerry spotted you, even with a 20mm cannon, you were gone. But he lost 2 good pilot friends after the war in car accidents at extreme speeds.
On the other hand we had a friend who was a B17 jock who founded a flying service which is now in its Third generation. I have never met a calmer more relaxed, and more methodically careful man in my life. He was a pleasure to be around because his calmness spread like ripples in water until it wasn't possible to be up-tight in his presence.
I remember my first flights into fishing locations with ex military pilots as fairly hairy experiences, 60 degree banks so that when you looked out the side windows the ground was straight below you. Bud wasn't like that. He liked things pleasant, banked turns were comfortable and secure. If you asked for a close look at something he could crank it around so you could see things clearly a thousand feet below, but otherwise it was like being driven by an expensive chauffeur. Wish I was still in touch with the family, since Bud's pretty certain to be gone by now.
Your expansion of my horizons much appreciated Marcia.