Academic journal article Military Review

JUNGLE ACE: The Story of One of the USAAF's Great Fighter Leaders, COL Gerald R. Johnson

Academic journal article Military Review

JUNGLE ACE: The Story of One of the USAAF's Great Fighter Leaders, COL Gerald R. Johnson

Article excerpt

JUNGLE ACE: The Story of One of the USAAF's Great Fighter Leaders, COL Gerald R. Johnson, John R. Bruning, Brassey's Inc., Washington, DC, 2001, 320 pages, $26.95.

The American public became fascinated with World War Il aviation heroes-aces-who, through skill and a great deal of luck, destroyed five or more aircraft in aerial combat. Heralded in newspapers, magazines, and on the radio, aces were elite, modern knights who engaged in combat on an individual level while mastering the technical skills of the most advanced aircraft of the time. Their efforts and aerial achievements were substantive proof to the U.S. public that the war was being won. As a reward, the Nation showered the pilots with acclaim and fanfare.

Among the flying aces were the elite of the elite-the men who each had more than 20 aerial victories. Among these courageous and talented individuals was Gerald Johnson, a man whose life and story is today virtually unknown. In jungle Aco: The Story of One of the USAAF'S Great Fighter Leaders, John R. Bruning details Johnson's life. Bruning begins the story by describing Johnson's youth in Eugene, Oregon. Johnson entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940.

The naivete of a relatively young nation could clearly be seen through the eyes and experience of America's youth at the time. Survivors of the Great Depression, they were simple in their opinion about world affairs but resolved to do whatever was needed to preserve their way of life. …

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