Air Apaches: The True Story of the 345th Bomb Group and Its Low, Fast, and Deadly Missions in World War II
In this well-written combat history, Stout (Vanished Hero
), a retired U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot, methodically chronicles the WWII experiences of a U.S. Air Force unit in the Pacific theater. Drawing extensively on official records, mission logs, and wartime letters home, Stout begins with the 345th Bomber Group’s deployment to Australia in 1943 and ends with the pilots’ last mission escorting the Japanese surrender delegation in August 1945. Stout makes clear how different it was to fight and fly in the southwest Pacific from doing so in Europe. The aviators of the 345th flew over some of the most inhospitable jungles in the world, as well as thousands of miles of shark-infested ocean. Their tactics were also unlike those of any other aviation unit in history: they conducted attacks at top speed, flying at treetop level or just above the waves and using machine guns and parachute bombs. A small mistake by the pilot or a hit by the enemy resulted in a quick and fiery death—or capture by the Japanese army, which had a policy of torturing and executing downed aviators. This fast-paced account captures the danger, stresses, and excitement of the air war in the Pacific in captivating fashion. Agent: E. J. McCarthy, E. J. McCarthy Agency (Feb.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review listed an incorrect literary agent.