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Ace!: A Marine Night-Fighter Pilot in World War II
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2011
One quote from the book seems to flavor the rest of the book. "I no longer have the figures, but the training hours outnumbered the combat hours by several hundred to one, and the balance kept shifting farther and farther toward the training hours." In fact much of the book is training. While he seems a very decent person, and would be interesting to meet, he was not in the thick of much of the fighting. He probably saved a large number of more raw recruits as he was a training officer and gave his extensive training knowledge to others, but it does not make a great combat narrative.

Also, while there are some interesting parts about the plane, there is really very little detail about how night fighting developed, or why. Some surmises, but no real look at the details.

This is a personal account, and while interesting, don't mistake this for a lengthy combat descriptor.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2005
I could barely put this book down. It was a reviting story from the first page to the last.

The author also did not get into the "I'm so great" attitude that so many people do. Fighter pilots seem espcially prone to this idea.

It was also written in a nice simple matter that takes the time to explain what was going on for those who are not familair with the Second World War.

It is a great first person account of the air war in the Pacific.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2004
Having met Bruce Porter, I can honestly say the guy is a jewel. Sure, I was all of ten then but he was just a nice, funny guy. His book is a illustration of this. His opening anecdote is of how the Marines "stole" him from the navy. From there it is the very best of history written by a man who was there.

I highly suggest this book to historians, Marines, vets and aviators the world across. Anyone else too.
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on October 13, 2013
WW II Night Fighter pilots got no respect. Supported by expensive staff, operating hush-hush airplanes, they seemed to do an important task poorly. To the fighting men on the ground or aboard ship, 'when an enemy plane flew around at night (keeping the men awake dropping bombs), you oughta be able to latch on to his tail and blow Washing Machine Charlie out of the sky!'.
The reality was different. As RAF pilots discovered during the 1940/41 nighttime Blitz, intruders move unpredictably; while ground radar can place you somewhere behind and approximately at his altitude, a black airplane showing no lights is just a darker patch in the sky. Airborne Interception (AI) equipment was usually operated by a dedicated tech. This freed the pilot to keep his unstable fighter right side up, continue to close the distance and not attract the tailgunner's attention.
Radar was new and still secret when Bruce Porter met it- and the U.S. was going to mount it on single-seat fighters! The fact that Maj. Porter did the equivalent of reading a moving X-ray film while driving a car, is impressive enough. This is besides the difficulty of approaching close enough to escape notice of the enemy tail gunner and pull the trigger at the correct moment. That he caught the attackers twice deserved an award. Hammel includes enough detail to feel like you are flying along in the dark over Okinawa.
There is a bio on Wiki summarizing Porter's first combat tour with the 'Black Sheep' of VMF-121 and the second tour in night fighters. You will feel great admiration for this versatile serviceman and aviator.
See also: American Nightfighter Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces),Night Cats and Corsairs: The Operational History of Grumman and Vought Night Fighter Aircraft 1942-1953.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2013
Very good story of a Marine fighter pilot's progression from rookie pilot to Ace.
This is another fine work that involves Eric Hammel.
Anyone interested in air operations for the Pacific Theater during WWII should check this book out.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2011
I knew and admired Bruce until the day he died. In an era where every one is a hero, he was the real thing. A great book, a real look into the early war years in the Pacific by a man who had the right stuff.
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on March 9, 2015
My great-grandfather is in this book, hence the reason my husband surprised me with it! I have not read it yet, however I am THRILLED to have my own copy because of the family value!:)
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on June 19, 2012
Great book on WWII fighter pilots. I really enjoyed reading about a small number of heroes who risked their lives in an extraordinary environment.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2000
ACE is a good look at the world of WWII night pilots. It brings with it the Marine punch that delivers the grit and form to keep a reader enthralled.
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