Ranked Reading for October 2014

Greetings once again,

baa baaThis month’s Ranked Reading may not be sci-fi related but it is a book that I’ve wanted to read and review for quite some time. When I was a child I grew up watching reruns of the Baa Baa Black Sheep TV series with Robert Conrad in the role of Major Greg Boyington who lead a group of “screwballs and misfits” into battle in their Corsairs in World War II in the Pacific. “Baa Baa Black Sheep” by Gregory “Pappy” Boyington Col., U.S. Marine Corps, Ret. provided the original source material for the pilot of the TV series. It follows “Pappy’s” life beginning with his time with the famed Flying Tigers with the American Volunteer Group in┬áChina and his first encounters with the Japanese pilots prior to the U.S.A.’s involvment in the war. It goes on to talk about the true formation of VMF 214 which was actually a group of replacement pilots from the pool of pilots, a few non-fighter pilots, and pilots that had never been in combat. The book also goes on to describe his life as a “special” prisoner after he was shot down and his time in various prison camps. As a “special” prisoner (as opposed to a POW – prisoner of war) he was never listed on any of the POW lists and as a result was officially declared dead as no one here in the States was aware that he was alive. Throughout he tells us of his struggles with alcohol and his good, bad, and ugly encounters and relations with his military superiors. THIS is the real story as seen and told from the perspective of the man who lived it – the legendary WWII ace fighter pilot Greg Boyington. The copy that I read was a reprint of the 1958 novel and, as the copyright page states, “NOT ONE SINGLE WORD HAS BEEN OMITTED”. For fans of the TV series this is a must read. I found the entire novel quite entertaining and enlightening. My Ranks: Admiral

Until next time, the ship’s reading lamp is definitely . . . ON!