Some Reading Material
"There was plenty of work to be done with the constant CAPs
and increasing preinvasion strikes on Okinawa and further
afield.  The Corsairs were heavily loaded at launch and
provided some new experiences.  They could be carrying all or
part of the following: 5,600 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition, a
large auxiliary fuel tank on one wing pylon, a 1000 pound bomb
or a napalm on the other pylon, and eight 5-inch rockets on the
rails under the wings.  For a former strictly fighter pilot,
bombing was something new, as was dropping napalm.  The
first napalm drop I flew was a small islet just off the island of
Okinawa.  The whole flight was making drops, and the flames
going up the side of the hill that was struck was rather
frightening".
    
Excerpt from the "The Threadbare Buzzard"  

The author dedicated this book to a large group of very young
men that shared a narrow range of age.  They also shared the
soaring freedoms, terrors, joys, and all too often, the final fate
that were the handmaidens of their professions.

These men were only the common denominators.  They were
saints, sinners, cowards, heroes, mountebanks, and men of
high integrity.  They were the washed and unwashed, the
blessed and the damned. May they live forever in our
memories.

This book can be purchased used from Amazon.com for a
reasonable cost of $2.87, it cost the author in this instance
$25.95.
Counter
In World War ll Sam Hynes was a young Marine bomber pilot.  
He flew more than a hundred missions against the Japanese
at Okinawa and Ulithi.  But now, some forty years after those
dramatic combat experiences, it is not the  mechanics of flying
and war making that remains uppermost in this pilot's
memory.  What Hynes remembers best and describes so
eloquently in this memoir are the sensations he experienced in
his rites of passage from untrained cadet to war-weary aviator,
from youthful innocence to manhood.
Hynes tell the story of his training and fighting, and of growing
up that went with it, by re-creating the world of the 1940s as he
knew it.  A Midwestern boy reared in Norman Rockwell
images, he was eighteen when he left home to learn to fly and
turned 21 at war's end.  In the decades since, Hynes has
become an established author and respected scholar who
recounts this tale with talents developed a lifetime of study.  
His lucid, deceptively simple style immediately engages the
reader in his exploration of the mysteries of coming of age in
wartime.
With humor and compassion Hynes presents unforgettable
portraits of his fellow aviators.  Neither judgemental or
sentimental, his disciplined understatement communicates as
acute sense of spectacular madness of war-the exhilaration
and tedium; the admiration for a pilot's prowess, even when
that pilot is an enemy; the impenetrable absurdity of the death
of his friends.  At the same time, he gives us a sense of
wondrous feeling of flying-that exquisite harmony which exists
between a pilot and his machine aloft in the unsubstantial air.  
These images of a young aviator's war rank with the best
literature to come out of World War ll.
In 1992, Barnes & Noble put the bite on the author in this
instance for $16.95 for this book, a check with Amazon.com
indicates the book can now be had for $4.00, used but good
condition.
TBF Avenger
F4U-4 Corsair
It was July 26, 1959.  An F8U Crusader jet fighter streaked
across the sky, down the Carolina coast, close to the speed of
sound.  Altitude 47,000 feet.  Flying conditions; Perfect.  
Marine Lt. Colonel William Rankin gave only a fleeting glance
at the mounting black thunderheads far below.

Seconds later began the most incredible 40 minutes in history.

Here is the thrilling, detailed account of how Col. Rankin was
forced to bail out at almost 50,000 feet without special
pressure equipment.  How, after dropping seven miles in a
free fall, he plunged into the grip of a violent storm-an inferno of
turbulence, rain, hail, thunder and lightning such as no man had
ever seen before.  For over a half hour, Col. Rankin was an
airborne captive of the storm, and his eventual survival was
against overwhelming odds.   

Here is the true story behind that headline-making event.  And
here is the adventurous life of the Marine-a life that fitted him
so well for the fantastic ordeal he was forced to undergo.

You will go with Col. Rankin as he recalls his adventures as a
Marine Sargent in World War ll; into early flight training to
become one of the three oldest cadets  ever admitted for flight
training.  You will fly with him as one of the "fearless Four" as
they bomb the bridges of Toko-Ri in Korea.  You will know the
thrill of trail blazing the jet age when Col. Rankin assumes
command of the famous Marine Fighter Squadron 122.

This book was published in 1960 and purchased by the writer
in this instance for the prodigious sum of $3.95, it can be
purchased through Amazon.com for about $8.00 used.      
F8Us of VMF-232 Refueling
F4U-1A Corsair
Interesting, this book is in the first person narrative, from Greg
Boyington himself. No ghost writer involved. Full of personal
anecdotes from his time with the AVG (Flying Tigers), VMF 214 (The
Black Sheep), his time as a "Special Captive" (not a POW) of the
Japanese (in my opinion the most interesting part of the book), his
post-war fall from grace and descent in to acute alchoholism, and
finally his redemption. Nothing politically correct about this one folks.
Boyington calls them as he sees them. An absorbing first person
account of an amazing time in human history. Shows that the Black
Sheep weren't the collection of "screwballs & misfits" portrayed in
the entertaining, yet highly fictionalized 70's TV show. Also the story
of a man trying to make sense of his life. I have owned this one for
over 50 years, and re-read it on a regular basis. It never gets
boring. A man who's days of combat were over by the age of 31,
was considered the 'old man' in his squadron, hence his famous
nickname. I find it amazing that a 6 week or so period of time in this
man's life defined if thereafter. Well worth having in any WW II buff's
collection, or simply for fans of the TV show who are interested in
the facts from Col. Boyington

. This book shows that the Black Sheep were more than Boyington.
They were a well rounded team, molded and hardened under the
realities of aerial combat. It comes across quite clearly however, that
regardless of what they thought of Boyington as a person (they
didn't all look up to him like a bunch of starry eyed boys, as depicted
in the TV show...some in fact were older than Boyington), they
definitely respected him as "a warrior, a fighter & a leader", and one
pilot recalls thinking of Boyington as "Jesus Christ himself", upon
first being introduced.  This book is surprisingly frank in it's
assessment, some might even say it's condemnation, of the leader
of the Black Sheep, not so much in his days as the commanding
officer of the 214, but in his postwar life. Many of them felt betrayed
by Boyington, after his role as 'technical advisor' on the TV series.
Overall it makes for an interesting read. Well worth it.
In the history of aerial warfare few aircraft have earned such an
honored place as the Vought F4U Corsair-the "bent-wing
bird."  Entering action in early 1943 in the South Pacific, the
Corsair was the first Allied plane to meet the Japanese on
even terms.  It far exceeded even the designers' fondest
hopes, while compiling a combat loss ratio of better than 11 to
1.

But an aircraft comes alive only when a man, its pilot, breathes
and sweats in the cockpit.  One cannot separate the men from
the machine.  By their very nature, pilots and planes belong
together.  Here are stories of some on the men who flew the
Corsair to fame: Pappy Boyington, Knoby Walsh, Ike Kepford,
Bob Hanson and others.  Some came back from combat,
some did not; all were heroes and all were aces, a group of the
finest fighter pilots the United States has ever had.  These
men, however, are only representative of a handful of pilots
who broke the back of Japanese air power during the Second
World War. This is their story as much as the story of their
plane.

This book includes an extensive collection of 86 photos of the
Corsair and its pilots, as well as detailed maps of the South
Pacific action areas indicating airfield location and objectives
of both sides. Eight scale drawings provide specifics of the
Corsair and the markings of some of the top aces.  There is
also an appendix containing  the histories of Marine and Navy
Corsair squadrons, medals, decorations and awards, a
production chronology of the Corsair and its specifications,
and a complete account of the combat record of the Corsair.

This book was published for the first time in 1969, it set back
the writer in this instance $7.95, it can be purchased used from
Amazon.com for $19.50 used and there is a collection issue
available for $199.00.
F4U-4 Corsair
F8U-2 Crusader
Described as a "Thoroughbred" worthy of all the care it
demanded, the Chance Vought F-8 Crusader served as one of
the most capable and long lived aircraft in naval aviation
history.  It was designed as an air superiority fighter, a
"gunfighter" armed with four 20-mm cannon rather than air to
air missiles.  Eventually the Navy adapted the Crusader to
carry many other kinds of armament.  It also served in other
roles such as photo recce, strike, and experimental.
Known for its speed, the Crusader was the first production
aircraft to exceed 1000 mph in level flight.  Future astronaut
and senator John Glenn flew the F-8 in "Project Bullet," setting
a world record for crossing  North America in three hours and
twenty-three minutes.
The F-8 compiled a distinguished combat record in Vietnam,
scoring the highest kill ratio of any U.S. fighter in the war.  
According to one pilot, "Every F-8 jock I knew had one big
ambition.  We all wanted to bag five MIGs with our                
20-millimeters, never firing a missile, then go back to Miramar
and lord it over the F-4 drivers.
The Crusader continues to serve today as a photo
reconnaissance aircraft in the U.S. Navy, and as a fighter in the
French and Philippine navies.

Featured are:
* a design and construction history of the F-8
* F-8 armaments
* Vietnam operations. including a chapter devoted to MiG      
battles
* extensive appendices that furnish details of F-8
deployments,    pilots and engineering
* over 70 photos

This book was first published in 1980 and was purchased by
the writer in this instance in 1981 for $17.95, the book can be
purchased through Amazon.com for as low as $6.00 used.