Crommelin's Thunderbirds: Air Group 12 Strikes the Heart of Japan
"Crommelin's Thunderbirds, " led by the much-admired navy fighter pilot Charles Crommelin, were involved in the first carrier air strikes in Japan ... Show synopsis "Crommelin's Thunderbirds, " led by the much-admired navy fighter pilot Charles Crommelin, were involved in the first carrier air strikes in Japan and the worst of the kamikaze attacks off Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Here, two pilots from the group, officially known as Air Group 12, chronicle their operations off the USS Randolph in the last stages of the Pacific war. Given the paucity of good World War II naval aviation histories, this book makes an important contribution to the field while at the same time offering a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. The authors examine the activities of the entire group: fighters, dive-bombers, and torpedo-bombers, enlisted men and officers, pilots and aircrewmen, as well as the shipboard personnel who kept them flying. They follow the group from its formation in 1944 through the fire storms of kamikaze attacks in early to mid-1945. Official records, reports, and histories form the framework, but the focus of the book is personal narratives by participants, some forty firsthand accounts in all, including two airmen's descriptions of their capture and internment by the Japanese and accounts of incredible rescues of downed pilots and crewmen. More than fifty photographs, some by Tony Remkus, the navy photographer for Air Group 12, add to the sense of immediacy that the narrative conveys.