The Threadbare Buzzard: A Marine Fighter Pilot in WWII
Before the United States entered World War II, author Tomlinson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Following Pearl Harbor, he and most of the other ... Show synopsis Before the United States entered World War II, author Tomlinson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Following Pearl Harbor, he and most of the other Americans serving in the RCAF were "repatriated" into the U.S. military, most into the Army Air Corps. Tomlinson was one of the few who chose the Marine Corps. Following naval aviator training in Pensacola he was off to the Southwest Pacific and Guadalcanal with VMF-214, the squadron that became the Black Sheep. Late in the war, while flying off a carrier during raids against Japan, Tomlinson's four-plane division was assigned to be a high-altitude radio relay for the attacking forces. During this mission they encountered the jet stream, at that time a little-known phenomena, especially among fighter pilots accustomed to lower, less hostile altitudes. Hours later, lost, out of radio range, and out of fuel, they ditched in the northwest Pacific, Three of the four were rescued by the "Sea Devil (SS 400). Tomlinson ended up in the naval hospital at Pearl Harbor for the closing months of the war.