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Baa Baa Black Sheep: The True Story of the "Bad Boy" Hero of the Pacific Theatre and His Famous Black Sheep Squadron Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1977
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About the Author
Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (1912–1988) was an American World War II fighter pilot. As the "bad boy" of the Pacific theatre, he commanded the famous Black Sheep squadron.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Two years ago I got back into flying after an absence of thirteen years. Everyone was very helpful, and many friends put aside their own work to help me get started once again as a pilot.
The flight surgeon who gave me the necessary physical was most obliging, although he didn’t know me from a hot rock. A pilot who runs a ground school tutored me for a week, so I was able to pass a written test for an instrument rating, and another pilot who owns a flying school let me fly a few hours for practically nothing. Then I passed a blind-flying check. A local aircraft distributor even paid me a few dollars while I was busy getting some up-to-date flying hours for my ratings.
Two months from the day I discovered I could pass a second-class airman’s physical examination, I was all set to go. Multiengine planes, commercial and instrument, were on my flight certificate.
The amazing thing about it all is that the rust wore off in no time at all, as though I had never been away from flying. Getting accustomed to instruments I had never used before didn’t give me the slightest bit of trouble. But this is understandable, because, after all, for ten years or more flying was one of the few things to hold my interest for any length of time.
In the beginning I was uneasy about the conversation with the control towers and CAA Communications. But this ironed itself out soon, and they gave all the cooperation I needed when I called and told them that I was a “new boy.”
At my age it was difficult to get a flying job with an airline, even if you had a good record, but fortunately, I soon found a flying job. An air-freight company in Burbank permitted me to use their executive five-passenger plane for charter. The airline didn’t pay my salary; I was given a commission of part of the charter business I sold. In return for this privilege I piloted for the company officials and their guests at times free of charge. This was okay with me, because it was wonderful to fly again. I was chartered by business people, motion-picture actors, or just about anyone who wanted to go anywhere and was willing to pay sixty dollars per hour.
The airline hangar at the Lockheed Air Terminal is only a matter of five minutes or so from our three-bedroom house, almost in the center of the San Fernando Valley. The direction of the prevailing take-off pattern from Lockheed takes planes directly over us day and night. When friends drop in from other parts of the city, they can’t seem to understand how we put up with the racket. They probably don’t stop to think that this particular noise is music to me. The take-offs are no bother to anyone in our house, not even our basset hound, Alvin, who has very sensitive ears. But far more important than not being bothered is that I feel close to all those flight crews as they go over.
My flying job led to a sales engineering position with Coast Pro-Seal, a manufacturer of aircraft sealants that supplies the aviation industry all over the country. My flying is limited to weekends and business trips. But whether I fly or do other things, I seem to run across many people I have flown with in the past. Many of the things we joke about today were at one time very serious matters indeed. We do not forget they made the difference between life or death, nor do we forget the hardships and the mental anguish we went through.
At least once each year, sometimes more often, a group of around twenty of us meet here in the valley for dinner. Some are pilots. Others are ex-pilots. And some are men who had a knack for keeping aircraft flying. Most of these people are in their early forties now.
There has always been a great deal of talk about these men since they first became acquainted, but there are very few people who know how they got together in the first place. Few know them by anything but a legendary name—the Flying Tigers.
Top customer reviews
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Instead I ended up enjoying this book much more. Gregory Boyington wrote this book in about 1957 and has an up dated preface in the front of this book. The book was written quite sensitively and with the great benefit of 20/20 hindsight Boyington has told his story in a low key way.
He tells us about his time with the Flying Tigers, then his induction into the armed forces to fight in WW2. he describes in detail all the things that transpired up to his being shot down and his ending up in a prison camp in Japan.
the story he has told in a warts and all. There is no fancy heroics, or embelishment of the story.
In all well worth reading for anyone who is interested in WW2 flying
As a (more recent) veteran myself, the scene he describes in which he was impromptu summoned and staggered out of his tent (after a previous night of well-deserved imbibing) without any headgear on -- and thus unable to salute -- only to stand face to face with Admiral Nimitz for the first time, really sears itself into my memory.
Highly recommended for every high school student, homeschoolers, high school history teacher, and WWII researcher. The true story is better than anything Hollywood will ever produce.
Most recent customer reviews
If your interest is history, I don't think you are going to like this book, unless you have a strong chauvinistic,...Read more