Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson

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Naval aviator N. Jack "Dusty" Kleiss may have contributed the final memoir of the Battle of Midway in his relatively recent Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway, which Captain Kleiss, in collaboration with Timothy and Laura Orr, finished shortly before his death at the age of 100.  Lieutenant Kleiss was attached to Scouting Squadron Six, dive-bombers based on Enterprise, and he was present at strikes on Kaga, Hiryu, Tanikaze, and Mikuma.  It's only proper to offer Book Review No. 11 on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the strikes on Kaga and Hiryu.

That "somehow" refers to Lieutenant Kleiss's subsequent experiences as dive-bomber instructor (he also, in those less credential-obsessed days, taught high school mathematics) and consultant on weapon systems.  At Midway itself, there was no somehow: the dive-bomber crews were well-prepared; all hands knew something big was up, and it's the memoir's listing of shipmates who didn't survive, and tribute to the torpedo plane pilots, who under most circumstances would be flying with small gravity bombs but went with torpedo loads on 4 June, that makes for the most gripping reading.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: history, human spirit, memoir, military, war

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