USMC Aviators - Marine Corps Airmen in the Pacific 1941-1945 Author :Gregory Pons

USMC Aviators - Marine Corps Airmen in the Pacific 1941-1945

   USMC Aviators is the 3rd book written by Gregory Pons, and was released on May 22, 2012. The previous two books were 8th Air Force, American Heavy Bomber Groups in England, 1942-1945 and 9th Air Force, American Tactical Aviation, 1942-1945.
This hardback book of 191 pages contains both color and black & white images. Originally written in French, the English language version of the book was translated by the author and David A. Reid. All of the images and documents contained in the book come from reliable sources, including the author's collection, photo albums of veterans, and U.S. Government archives.
Not many history books employ the unique and highly enjoyable approach that one finds in USMC Aviators, Marine Corps Airmen in the Pacific 1941-1945. The reading experience is similar to what one would expect when viewing a veteran's old photo album and by having that veteran sitting there with you, narrating each item attached to the page

Of course, the reader will find some excellent photographs of aircraft such as Dauntlesses, Corsairs, and Avengers. These black and white images serve the modeler well. The weathering on the aircraft, as well as the markings, is a gold mine for the builder in need of research material and references.
These images are matched up to a series of excellent full color side-view drawings. Again, the effects of constant use and weathering are apparent in these drawings, giving the builder some helpful guidance on modeling these effects.
One of the most appreciated features within this book is the color images of persons modeling "period and theatre specific" aviation gear. Personal side arms, parachutes, harnesses, flight helmets, goggles, lifejackets, and many other items are shown in excellent images which a figure painter will certainly appreciate

   Beyond the black and white images of aircraft, facilities, and crew, and beyond excellent color images of the flight gear and accoutrements, is the inclusion of images of documents that relate to the pilots, their squadrons, and their war experience. For example, one will find a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy in which a pilot is notified that he has been chosen to receive a Distinguished Flying Cross. The reader will also find samples of maps hand-drawn by the pilots, art in the form of sketches and drawings, copies of I.D. cards, flight logs, "blood chits" (I.D. devices, should the airman come into contact with Asian civilians), along with various flight charts and navigational items.
Reading this book is like digging through a veteran's WWII trunk. Each item has a story and is a real piece of history. Each image has its own story. Each document (in this case it is the image of a document) speaks volumes and the experiences of these World War II Warriors.

   Chapter 1 is dedicated to VMSB-144, a diving bomber squadron destroying missions of SBD Dauntless from Banika, Munda and then to the United States where they turned into TBM Avenger and renamed VMTB-144. Including materials such as a squad roster, maps with maps, pictures from battle missions and occasional pilot photos.
   Chapter 2 details VMSB-235 a fighter diving fighter flying the SBD Dauntless that flew from Henderson, Munda and Piva Uncle to Bougainville. It includes extensive newspaper clippings describing members of the captain Robert Thompson's squad, official orders and medal reports.
   Chapter 3 details VMF-222 "Flying Deuces" a Corsair-operated combat squad operating from Midway, Munda, Vella Lavella, Bougainville, Green Island, Emirau and Samar. Rare photographs are included from their development at Midway, R & R in Hawaii and Noumea, Munda and Vella Lavella and Bougainville. Includes calendar scans, photos, maps, and more.
   Chapter 4 details VMSB-341 A Fighter Dive Fly That Falls the SBD Dauntless. This chapter is dedicated to the photo album of an unknown member of the squadron based in Emirau and Green Island, among other bases. The photos include pre-flight and post-flight updates, force unloading, and scoreboard.
   Chapter 5 details VMTB-143 a torpedo bomber motorcycle operated by the Avenger, detailing their service to Solomons and then moving to the United States for service on the USS Gilbert Islands CVE-107 for the Okinawa campaign, including strikes at Borneo and Japan. Interests, the pilots wore "chit blood" in case they went to Chinese occupied areas.
   Chapter 6 details VMF-512 a fighter squadron operating Corsairs was formed in February 1944 for close aviation support (CAS). The Flying Corsair Edition and the F6F Hellcat photo-recon version during the Okinawa campaign and missions over Borneo and the state coaching for the invasion of Japan before the war ended.
   Chapter 7 Details VMTB-454 a dive diving squadron operated by SB2C Helldiver formed in March 1944 and later turned into TBM Avengers for additional training. In July 1945, they developed into Puget Sound. The material in this chapter describes the training activities and key activities. The war was over before this fate saw a battle


   This book is addressed to many types of readers and is highly recommended. First, it is an excellent photographic story of the units that are presented and are of interest to those who are connected or interested in these particular degrees of the USMC. Secondly, the book is valuable for those who are studying airborne uniforms, flight equipment and survival equipment for the extraordinary photos of the model-carrying gear. For modellers or those interested in aircraft profiles, color profiles are some of the best for USMC aircraft still published.