Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

Forty years ago, the United States emerged victorious from the greatest conflict in which the nations of the world had ever been engaged. In the succeeding years, World War II has been dissected and reassembled in every conceivable manner. Statesmen, generals, and admirals have explained their roles and described the global course of the war; ...

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Introduction: The Training of U.S. Naval Aviators, 1910–1945

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pp. 1-45

The birth of U.S. Naval Aviation was the result of the foresight and daring of Captain Washington Irving Chambers, USN, and the civilians Eugene Ely and Glenn H. Curtiss. Chambers, a "battleship sailor," was an engineer with an eye to the future; ...

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1. Personal Background

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pp. 46-51

The author of the following letters, Robert Right Rea, was born in Wichita, Kansas, on October 2, 1922, the only child of George Edgar and Fleda Schollenberger Rea. The city in which he grew up was young enough to remember its cowtown antecedents and brash enough to boast that it was "the Aircapital of the World" and to claim a population of 100,000. ...

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2. The Distant Drums of War: Naval Bight Preparatory School

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pp. 52-78

When twenty-two-year-old Robert Rea was sworn into the U.S. Navy's V-5 program on November 4, 1942, World War II had been in progress for three years, two months, and four days. In the year of his enlistment, the armed services put together an indoctrination film series entitled Why We Fight, based on old and recent newsreels. ...

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3. Sprouting Wings: War Training School

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pp. 79-102

The fall of 1943 found Bob Rea at the University of Kansas War Training School, where he received his first instruction in flying. Other Americans were learning harsher lessons in the school of war at Salerno, Schweinfurt, and Tarawa. ...

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4. Winter of War: Pre-flight School

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pp. 103-131

In a letter to Phyllis Edwards on January 22, 1944, Bob Rea spoke of "fog and clouds and the turbulence all around which is our life today." It was a description that the people of Berlin could have appreciated. On the night of November 18, 1943, when Rea had just arrived in Iowa City, Iowa, to begin the next phase of his naval training, the RAF commenced "The Battle of Berlin, " ...

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5. Spring in the Air: Primary Training

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pp. 132-174

The Kansas weather that Bob Rea described during his Primary training followed a familiar pattern—from snow on his arrival at Olathe to tornado warnings and finally just plain summer heat. But if expected, it was not always predictable. The war was shaping up the same way. ...

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6. Winning the Wings of War: Intermediate, Instrument, and Advanced Training

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pp. 175-258

Just as November 1942, when Bob Rea joined up, was a pivotal month in the war, so was June 1944. At long last came the cross-Channel invasion, with its armada of warships and landing craft and an umbrella of virtually unopposed warplanes. ...

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7. Corsairs and Carriers: Operational Training

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pp. 259-287

While newly commissioned Ensign Robert R Rea underwent the first phase of Operational training, the war in Europe ground inexorably to a close. Once the German counteroffensive in the Battle of the Bulge was smashed, the Anglo-French-American tide lapped over the Rhine and the Russian masses poured into eastern Germany. ...

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8. War's End: Squadron Training

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pp. 288-308

While Bob and Phil were en route from Florida to California, in Europe there was peace, the sad phenomenon of displaced persons, and the hunt for war criminals, who would be brought to trial beginning in the fall. Hitler, who had killed himself, and Mussolini, slain by vengeful partisans, had already been condemned at the bar of human history. ...

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A Personal Postscript

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pp. 309-310

Phyl and Bob Rea returned to Wichita and lived with his folks until August 1946. Bob took a couple of courses at Friends University, worked with his father in the family business, and utilized his aviation training as an instructor in the ground school two of his friends had recently established. ...

Appendix: Flight Maneuvers Mentioned

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pp. 311-314

Notes

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pp. 315-322

Bibliography

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pp. 323-326

Index

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pp. 327-332