- Hardcover: 212 pages
- Publisher: Air Univ Pr (January 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9995933187
- ISBN-13: 978-9995933180
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,390,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On Celestial Wings Hardcover – January, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
The author, Colonel Whitcomb, was a member of that Class of 40-A. As such, he is uniquely qualified to tell the story of their adventures.
Their stories are dramatic. These men were plunged into World War II with a vengeance. Several of them were killed by enemy forces. Those who survived sometimes faced situations worse than death. The men who were caught by the Japanese were often beaten, starved and killed. When American soldiers were transported by Japanese ships, the conditions were especially terrible. No water or air created maddening results.
The author describes how demoralizing it was for U.S. troops in the Philippines. With the Japanese forces against them, U.S. forces were constantly attacked by shelling and bombing. Backups for the Americans were promised but failed to materialize.
But with the aircraft that survived enemy attacks American pilots and navigators were able to bomb the Japanese. The Doolittle Raid on Tokyo is described in this book. And the later firebombing raids on Tokyo were also very effective at hurting the enemy.
Wherever their missions took them, the navigators and pilots often had to contend with antiaircraft fire and enemy fighter planes. They also had to at times deal with their own damaged aircraft, tropical storms, lack of fuel and lack of sleep. In spite of the trying conditions, the navigators of the Class of 40-A were able to guide their planes to numerous successful missions against the enemy. And ultimately, American forces won the war.
This book from 1995 is published by Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Following the lives of the first class of celestial navigators is an excellent way to approach the subject of air warfare in WWII. The prose is clear and straight forward. The stories are fascinating. And there is a sense of honesty and plain speech, but at the same time eloquence, that is seldom encountered in modern literature.