Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, reprinted with updates and corrections, 1990. Xxi + 547 pp., photo-ills., ills., diagrams, maps, plans & tables. D.j., 26 x 18cm. FINE. Ace fighter pilots like Jimmy Thatch and Butch O'Hare are justly renowned for their daring exploits in the perilous early months of the Pacific War when the U.S. Navy carrier fighting (VF) squadrons amassed a remarkable combat record in the face of desperate odds. Yet, exactly how these skilled aviators and their squadron mates, called the "first team" overcame the odds to help turn the tide of war was little known. With this comprehensive operational history of carrier-based air warfare, their heroic feats can at last be closely examined. Writing from the viewpoint of the pilots themselves and tapping new American and Japanese sources, the author gives a scrupulously accurate narrative account of the Navy's fighting squadron missions, from the earliest operations in the Pacific through the decisive battle of Midway. He fully reconstructs every significant action in which the fighters were involved, placing them within the context of carrier operations. The book includes detailed information on flight training, aerial gunnery, aircraft markings, flight formations, the "Thatch Weave" tactic, and Japanese combat doctrine. UNCOMMON HARDBACK.