Magazine article Sea Classics

SINKING THE RISING SUN: Dog Fighting and Dive Bombing in World War II

Magazine article Sea Classics

SINKING THE RISING SUN: Dog Fighting and Dive Bombing in World War II

Article excerpt

SINKING THE RISING SUN: Dog Fighting and Dive Bombing in World War II By William E. Davis 304 Pgs, Illustrated 7-in x 9.5-in, Hardbound. ISBN #978-0-7603-2946-7-$25.95. Zenith Press/MBI Publishing, Galtier Plaza, Suite 200, 380 Jackson St., St. Paul, MN 55101

Thankfully, Navy Ace Bill Davis disobeyed orders. During WWII, carrier pilots were forbidden from keeping diaries or daily records on the theory that if their ship was sunk, vital data would fall into the hands of the enemy. Davis not only kept a secret diary but had the wisdom and intellect to record for posterity the myriad emotions and high drama of a young flyer who soon found himself flying some of the toughest dog fights of the Pacific War from the carrier Lexington (CV-16).

A college senior majoring in engineering at the time of Pearl Harbor, Davis was offered a commission and cushy post in wartime Washington, DC. Declining the offer, like millions of other patriotic Americans incensed by Japan's treachery, Davis opted for action and revenge and felt becoming a Naval fighter pilot offered the best opportunity to realize that goal. What he didn't anticipate was the variety of adventures a ambitious wannabe pilot would encounter in a Navy suddenly burgeoning under the impetus of fighting a two-ocean war. From the thrill of his first solo flight in a N3N "Yellow Peril" trainer to his description of launching his heavily-laden F6F Fighter off a pitching carrier deck into the stygian pre-dawn blackness of the Pacific sky, Davis deftly recreates the stark reality of war as experienced by one who not only lived every moment of it, but recorded those breathless times with startling detail and insight.

Although credited with seven confirmed aerial victories and awarded the Navy Cross for his personal exploits in helping to the sink one of the Japanese carriers which had taken part in the Pearl Harbor attack, Bill Davis never considered himself a hero. …

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