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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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William R. Barnett
Xlibris Corp  2001
Soft cover
188 pages
photos, bibliography, references
ISBN: 0738856339

Language: English

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US Naval Air Station Melbourne, Florida
Fighter Pilot Training Base Word War II

This book details the prewar and wartime history of U.S. Naval Air Station Melbourne, Florida known as NAS Melbourne (Melbourne Airport) in Melbourne, Florida.

During World War II, this base was used as a USN training base for F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat pilots. In addition to the history of NAS Melbourne and also details the history of NAS Banana River and NAS Valkaria and NAS Malabar.

Among the personnel based at NAS Melbourne was Lieutenant Commander David P. McCampbell who served as a Landing Signal Officer (LSO) instructor until August 1943 and later went on to become the highest scoring ace in the U.S. Navy.

The book documents the fatal March 26, 1944 crash of B-24E Liberator 41-28525 at the boundary of the airfield, killing those aboard aside from a sole survivor.

The author, William R. Barnett was born in 1922 and joined the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet during 1942 and graduated in May 1944. He was sent to NAS Melbourne for instruction in day fighter pilot techniques and from there to NAS Vero Beach, Florida for training in night fighter combat. He served the remainder of the war in night fighter squadron 52. During his career in the Navy he served 10 years on active duty and 15 years in the Organized Reserves. His civilian occupation was with several Aerospace companies where he specialized in engineering planning of major projects. He also was employed as a test pilot in the dynamic flight simulation lab at North American Aviation. Today, he and his wife Sara live in retirement in Melbourne, Florida.

Review by  Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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