Lieutenant Commander Takashige Egusa was one of the Imperial Japanese Navy's most skillful and influential dive-bomber pilots. He led an attack force against Pearl Harbor, calmly circling his special flame-red Aichi dive bomber before selecting his target. Assaults on the deadly gun batteries of Wake Island followed, as well as air support for the invasion of Ambon. Badly burned at Midway, Egusa returned to duty, only to be killed on his final mission. As one Japanese officer said, "He was the 'God of Dive-Bombing.'" Fully placed in historical context and backed by a wealth of detail from archives, family records, photographs, and memories of contemporaries, the full story of Egusa's bravery, leadership qualities, and illustrious career comes to life.
The Germans fired those V-1 bombs from a launching pad in France . . . It wasnt as scary hearing the bombs as it was when you stopped hearing them because when the sound stopped you knew they were coming down . . . . LB.
. . . I was floating down, parachute open. I dont recall opening the chute. The Lord was there and saw that that happened . . . As I was floating down, I saw pieces of the plane floating down around me like leaves . . . . H.B.
They marched us through Manila to make a big show for the benefit of the Filipinos. They took us to Bilibid Prison . . . During the three weeks I was there we were fed no food except rice, which was cooked in big iron pots . . . Twice a day we each received one-half of a canteen of rice. R.C.
The Colonel told me, If you go with me, I guarantee you will be First Sergeant by the time we get to Washington. I said, Colonel, I wouldnt go with you if you told me I would be a Colonel when we got there. Im going back to home to Georgia. .H.O.
These are the stories of the men and women of World War II. Each person brought unique perspective to our collection. Some enlisted in the military service before finishing high school. Others came after college. A few rose through the ranks to take their place among the commanding officers. Mostly, though, they came to do a job, they did it, and went back home as the had come quietly and humbly. Their experiences were as varied as their backgrounds.
We hope that the stories will inspire our readers to say thanks to a generation that gave so much in the cause of freedom.