With dreams of flying, they enlisted from all across America, eager to defeat the Japanese and bring an end to the war. Most were no more than 21 or 22 years old, fresh from pilot training, with quick reflexes, sharp eyes, and keen intelligence. And when they crashed, they needed every physical and mental advantage to survive. Their ordeals began with blunt-force impact with the sea. From overhead, a hail of bullets from enemy planes. From below, the imminent danger of shark attack. Then the ongoing perils of drowning, exposure, heat, storms, and capture. Two out of three airmen who survived their crashes were forever lost.
The lucky ones lived to tell these amazing stories. The creator of the "Lost Histories of World War II" series and cofounder of The Military Channel, editor L. Douglas Keeney reviewed hundreds of reels of microfilm from the archives of Maxwell Air Force Base’s History Center, searching out the most captivating first-person accounts among the crash-and-rescue reports from WWII’s Pacific Theater. Each of these 23 previously unpublished narratives, recounted in the airman’s own words, tells a true-life tale that’s stranger than any fiction. Each forms a testament to human resilience, character, and fortitude. All offer inspiring new insights into the heroics of the vanishing generation whose valor will live forever.
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