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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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by Gregory Pons
Eden Mili-Arts  2012
192 pages
20 pages of flight gear
19 color aircraft profiles
Sample Pages
ISBN: 978-2-9540390-1-5
Cover Price: 39.90 Euros
Language: English

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USMC Aviators
Marine Corps Airmen in the Pacific 1941-1945

For fifteen years, author Gregory Pons collected spectacular and never before published or rare photographs, scans of log books, maps and ephemera related to U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) pilots and air crews. The result is a spectacular publication that anyone interested in Marine aviation will want to add to their library.

The book begins with an introduction that summarizes USMC aviator training and the campaigns they participated. Divided into seven chapters, each chapter details a specific Marine unit, detailing their history starting with formation, overseas combat deployments, rest and recuperation, plus pilot profiles and key missions flown. Each chapter includes many unique maps, documents, log book entries and more. Pons selects several pilots from each unit to profile in detail, including items like their wings, flying certificates, medals and more. See sample pages for examples.

Chapter 1 is devoted to VMSB-144, a dive bomber squadron flying the SBD Dauntless flying combat missions from the Banika, Munda, then to the United States where they converted to the TBM Avenger and were re-designated VMTB-144. Included materials like a squadron roster, hand drawn target maps, photos from combat missions and casual pilot photographs.

Chapter 2 details VMSB-235 a dive bomber squadron flying the SBD Dauntless that flew from Henderson, Munda and Piva Uncle on Bougainville. Includes extensive newspaper clippings detailing squadron member Captain Robert Thompson's exploits, official orders and medal citations.

Chapter 3 details Marine Fighting Squadron 222 (VMF-222) "Flying Deuces" a fighter squadron operating the F4U Corsair and later the FG Corsair from Midway, Munda, Vella Lavella, Bougainville, Green Island, Emirau and Samar. Included are rare photos of their deployment at Midway, rest and recouperation (R&R) in Hawaii and Noumea, Munda and Vella Lavella and Bougainville. Included are logbook scans, photographs and maps.

Chapter 4 details VMSB-341 a dive bomber squadron flying the SBD Dauntless. This chapter is devoted to the photo album of an unknown member of the squadron based at Emirau and Green Island, among other bases. Photographs include preflight and post flight briefings, force landings and scoreboard.

Chapter 5 details VMTB-143 a torpedo bombing squadron operating the Avenger, detailing their service in the Solomons, then transfer to the United States for duty aboard aircraft carrier USS Gilbert Islands CVE-107 for the Okinawa campaign, including strikes on Borneo and Japan. Of interest, pilots wore "blood chit" in case they went down in Chinese occupied areas.

Chapter 6 details VMF-512 a fighter squadron operating Corsairs formed in February 1944 for close air support (CAS). Flying Corsair and F6F Hellcat photo-recon version during the Okinawa campaign and missions over Borneo and training stateside for the invasion of Japan before the war ended.

Chapter 7 details VMTB-454 a dive bombing squadron operating the SB2C Helldiver formed in March 1944 and later switched to TBM Avengers for additional training. During July 1945 deployed on the USS Puget Sound. The material in this chapter details training activities and base activities. The war ended before this squadron saw any combat.

This full color hardcover book printed on heavy weight paper and beautifully laid out by Lou Campbell with full color aircraft profiles by Nicholas Gohin are rendered with excellent detail, including many of the aircraft depicted in photographs.

This book will appeal to many types of readers and is highly recommended. Firstly, it is an excellent photographic history of the units profiled, and of interest for anyone associated or interested in these specific USMC squadrons. Secondly, the book is valuable for anyone studying aviation uniforms, flight equipment and survival gear for the outstanding contemporary photos of models wearing the gear. For modelers or anyone interested in aircraft profiles, the color profiles are some of the best for USMC aircraft yet published.

Interview with author Gregory Pons

Review by Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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