TIME OF THE ACES: Marine Pilots in the Solomons
by Commander Peter B. Mersky, U.S. Naval Reserve
Sources for this booklet fall into two basic
categories: general historical publications for the overall situation in
the Pacific, and references that describe specific subjects, such as
aircraft, personalities, and campaigns. I found several general official
and commercial publications invaluable, including LtCol Frank R. Hough,
Maj Verle J. Ludwig, and Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Pearl Harbor to
Guadalcanal and Henry I. Shaw, Jr. and Maj Douglas T. Kane,
Reduction of Rabaul, volumes l and 2, History of U.S. Marine
Corps Operations in World War II, (Washington: Historical Branch,
G-3 Division, Headquarters, USMC, 1958 and 1963, respectively), and
Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II
(Novationo, California: Presidio Press, 1980). Other general histories
included, Peter B. Mersky, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation,
1912-Present (Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company
of America, 1983, 1986), Masationake Okimuya and Jiro Horikoshi,
Zero! (New York: Ballantine Books, 1956), and John Lundstrom,
The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to
Midway (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1984).
The author would like to thank Maj Gen John P.
Condon, USMC (Ret), a fighter pilot and Cactus operations officer in
early 1943, for reviewing the manuscript and making thoughtful and
valuable insights. Gratitude is also extended to Dan Crawford, Benis M.
Frank, and Regina Strother of the Marine Corps Historical Center; Dale
Connelly and Rutha Dicks of the National Archives Still Picture Branch;
and Robert Mikesh, James Lansdale, Henry Sakaida, James Farmer, and
Linda Cullen and Mary Beth Straight of the U.S. Naval Institute.
About the Author
Peter B. Mersky is a graduate of the Rhode Island
School of Design with a baccalaureate degree in illustration. He was
commissioned through the Navy's Aviation Officer Candidate School in May
1968. Following active duty, he remained in the Naval Reserve and served
two tours as an air intelligence officer with Light Photographic
Squadron 306, one of the Navy's last F-8 Crusader squadrons.
He is the assistant editor of Approach, the
Navy's aviation safety magazine, published by the Naval Safety Center in
Norfolk, Virginia. Commander Mersky has written or coauthored several
books on Navy and Marine Corps aviation, including The Naval Air War
in Vietnam (with Norman Polmar), U.S. Marine Corps Aviation,
1912Present, Vought F-8 Crusader, and A History of Marine
Fighter Attack Squadron 321. He has written many magazine articles
for American and British publications, and he also writes a regular book
review column for Naval Aviation News.
THIS PAMPHLET HISTORY, one in a series devoted
to U.S. Marines in the World War II era, is published for the education
and training of Marines by the History and Museums Division,
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., as a part of the U.S.
Department of Defense observance of the 50th anniversary of victory in
Printing costs for this pamphlet have been defrayed
in part by the Defense Department World War II Commemoration Committee.
Editorial costs of preparing this pamphlet have been defrayed in part by
a bequest from the estate of Emilie H. Watts, in memory of her late
husband, Thomas M. Watts, who served as a Marine and was the recipient
of a Purple Heart.
WORLD WAR II COMMEMORATIVE SERIES
DIRECTOR OF MARINE CORPS HISTORY AND MUSEUMS
Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, USMC (Ret)
WORLD WAR II COMMEMORATIVE SERIES
Benis M. Frank
George C. MacGillivray
EDITING AND DESIGN SECTION, HISTORY AND MUSEUMS DIVISION
Robert E. Struder, Senior Editor; W. Stephen Hill, Visual
Catherine A. Kerns, Composition Services
Technician, R.D. Payne, VolunteerWeb Edition
Marine Corps Historical Center
Building 58, Washington Navy Yard
Washington, D.C. 20374-5040
PCN 190 003122 00