The Untold Story of the U.S. 5th Air Force's 39th Fighter Squadron
by Ken Dooley

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The "Forgotten" Fifth Air Force... On December 7, 1941, the United States was pathetically unprepared for war. The battle fleet intended to keep the Pacific Ocean an American lake lay in smoking ruins at Pearl Harbor. Ironically, the devastating Japanese surprise attack revealed the path to victory: above the sea, not on it. At the time, U.S. air power was inferior even to our now-crippled sea power. Somehow thousands of men, many of them too young to vote, were selected and trained to defeat an enemy who flew faster, more maneuverable airplanes. They fought under General George C. Kenney who commanded "The Forgotten Fifth Air Force," a name resulting from the priority assigned to the war in Europe. Even today, books focusing on the European war far outnumber those devoted to the Pacific war. This book is about one group of men, the 39th Fighter Squadron of the Fifth Air Force. Rushed through training and flying planes greatly inferior to those flown by experienced Japanese pilots, they held their own with raw courage, determination and unflinching patriotism. As they received better airplanes, they pushed the Japanese back, but always at terrible cost. It took great courage to climb into those cockpits. Pilots lost over the sea and jungles were rarely found. Those captured by the Japanese were routinely tortured and beheaded. The war ended, but searing questions remained. Would justice ever be served for those pilots executed by the enemy? Until now that question was never fully addressed. With this book we explore the air war, crimes, investigations and punishments.


Hard Cover, 420 pages, Notes,
Bibliography and Glossary



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This page first produced 3 December 2015

This page last updated 23 January 2020