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Aero Pacific 1

Aero Pacific 1 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2019 Title Aero Pacific 1
Author Burl Burlingame Publisher Pacific Monograph
Published 2019 ISBN 9780962922787
Format 100 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $19.95


Editor Burl Burlingame published what the first installment what was to be a new series from Pacific Monograph - collections of articles and essays that document the history of aviation in the Pacific. While there are numerous titles available that document the 'history' of U.S. and allied military operations in the Pacific theater of World War II, this series examines different events from a variety of points of view from people who were there or examining previously overlooked information.

In Volume 1, you can get a sense of the coverage by looking through the 13 chapter titles:

  • The 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor: A Child's View
  • Ford Island Days: The Genne Photo Collection
  • Did Maui Build Hawaii's First Flying Machine?
  • Hitting a Moving Target, By Guess and By Golly
  • Ford Island's Unique Legacy in American History
  • The Nerviest Chinaman in the World
  • Tom Gunn, Star of the First Maui Air Show
  • Dive Bombers Over Pearl - Kanbaku Colors
  • Thunderfish - Aerial Torpedoes at Pearl Harbor
  • Bellows Field - Attack Target and Beach Park
  • Lucky Me! - George Whiterman at Bellows Field
  • History's Ghosts: Pearl Harbor Then and Now
  • Bombers Into the Sunset - B-17s to the Far East

While some of these chapters are stand-alone works, others set the stage for the next article to put them into better context. For example, 'The Nerviest Chinaman in the World' is the story of Tan Gen, born in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1890, and aviation pioneer. He changed his name to Tom Gunn and within two years of the Wright Brothers' first flights, he was flying demonstrations around the world. In fact, he had the honor of taking aloft China's Army Commander, who was visiting the U.S. on a tour of the American armed forces. The general was so impressed with Tom Gunn's demonstration flight that China officially adopted military aviation into its own programs.

Another noteworthly pairing is the story of Bellows Field and it's role in the Army's air operations in Hawaii, followed by Lucky Me! This latter story is one that doesn't get told often about a young lieutenant who was one of the P-40 pilots who attempted to get into the air and attack the Japanese.

One feature that should get the attention of modelers and aviation historians alike is Dive Bombers Over Pearl - this provides a look at the Aichi D3A Val dive bomber in the attack on Pearl Harbor, including 56 color profiles of the aircraft that participated in that attack.

This first installment of a Pacific-centric look at aviation history shows a great deal of promise to provide a better look at events through the eyes of those who were there to supplement the more thorough-but-sterile histories that are also available. Unfortunately, I was saddened to learn that Burl Burlingame suddenly passed away a few weeks ago. Burl had developed a number of scale modeling products and references in conjunction with his work at the Pacific Air Museum.

If you're interested any of the topics covered in this title, you can order this title through Amazon (search for Burl Burlingame). Grab a copy while you can.

My sincere thanks to Pacific Monograph for this review sample!