Annapolis, 1st ed., 1994. Xvi + 228 pp., photo-ills., + ills., maps & plans. D.j., 23 x 15cm. FINE. Crommelin's Thunderbirds, led by the much-admired navy fighter pilot Charles Crommelin, were involved in the first carrier air strikes in Japan and the worst of the kamikaze attacks off Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Here, two pilots from the group, officially known as Air Group 12, chronicle their operations off the USS RANDOLPH in the last stages of the Pacific War. The authors examine the activities of the entire group: fighters, dive-bombers, and torpedo-bombers, enlisted men and officers, pilots and aircrew as well as the shipboard personnel who kept them flying. They follow the group from its formation in 1944 through the fire storms of kamikaze attacks in early to mid-1945. Official records, reports and histories form the framework but the focus of the book is personal narratives by participants, some forty firsthand accounts in all, including two airmen's descriptions of their capture and internment by the Japanese and accounts of incredible resources of downed pilots and crewmen. Over fifty photographs add to the sense of immediacy.