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by John Stanaway
& Bob Rocker
Order now at amazon.com
|The Eight Ballers
Eyes of the Fifth Air Force
The 8th Photo Reconnaissance Sqn in WWII
This book details the history of the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS) a squadron of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), 5th Air Force (5th AF), 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG) that operated the photographic reconnaissance version of the P-38 Lightning, the F-4 Lightning and later the F-5 Lightning over New Guinea and the Philippines.
The book reproduces the text of the 8th PRS diary titled "The Diary of 8th Photo Squadron New Guinea" prepared by Harlan H. Olsen that spans from July 27, 1942 until December 31, 1943 and was published by Ad Press, 1945. This book includes an appendix with the story of 1st Lt. Fred Hargesheimer covering his June 5, 1943 mission piloting F-5 "Eager Beaver" 42-13073, shoot down and escape and evasion from the Japanese on New Britain and eventual rescue by submarine.
In New Guinea, the squadron flew photographic missions over Japanese occupied areas and airfields. The photographs taken were used to create aerial maps and target documentation for combat missions. Often, these missions were dangerous as pilots usually flew alone and often experienced bad weather and difficult navigation. Over targets, pilots flew steady course often at lower altitude to get quality photographs and experienced anti-aircraft fire or were intercepted by enemy aircraft. During later missions, F-4s were escorted by armed P-38 Lightnings as escorts.
Interview with author John Stanaway
Review by Justin Taylan
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