During 1944, as Gen. Douglas MacArthur's forces fought their way from New Guinea to the Philippines, Allied air commander Gen. George Kenney, discarding pre-war doctrine, planned and ran an "air blitz" offensive. His 5th Air Force drove forward like a tank army, crash-landing in open country, seizing terrain, bulldozing new airfields, winning air control, and moving forward. At airfields on the front line, Rocky Boyer kept the radios working for the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, a fighter-bomber unit.
Diaries were forbidden, but Rocky kept one-full of casualties, accidents, off-duty shenanigans, and rear-area snafus. He wrote about wartime camp life at Nadzab, New Guinea, the largest air base in the world, part Scout camp and part frontier boomtown. He knew characters worthy of Catch-22: combat flyers who played contract bridge, military brass who played office politics, black quartermasters, and chaplains who stood up to colonels when a promotion party ended with drunken gunplay and dynamite.
This is a narrative of the war as airmen lived it. The author uses Rocky's story as a jumping-off point from which to understand the daily life of the men who in 1944 fought their way over the two thousand miles from New Guinea to the Philippines.
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