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Once They Were Eagles
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For 84 days during World War II Marine Fighting Squadron 214 ranged over the South Pacific led by a hard-drinking but gifted pilot and tactician named Gregg ``Pappy'' Boyington. The ``Black Sheep,'' though well known at the time, have received only scant mention in military history (there was a highly fictional TV series in the 1970s). Walton was the 214's intelligence officer, knew all the principals personally, and recently contacted or interviewed the surviving 34 (out of 5l); vignettes of these make up the second half of the work. The first half, a unit history, is rather sketchy and anecdotal but vividly re-creates conditions under which the South Pacific war was fought; Walton's personal recollections and documents (in appendixes) are welcome. An enjoyable book, long overdue for World War II aviation buffs. Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal.

"A fascinating study of the overnight development of a diverse group of American youth reacting with shock to the attack on Pearl Harbor." -- Marine Corps Gazette

"A study of immense value of how Marines battled the vaunted Japanese Zero and emerged victorious." -- Leatherneck

"A new and refreshing look at this truly remarkable fighter pilot -- 'Pappy' Boyington -- and his squadron." -- Military History

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