From an historian and columnist in Leatherneck and Armor magazines, this is the exciting, personal account of a Marine fighter squadron in the South Pacific during the critical days of 1943 when the tide turned against the Japanese. Based on individual interviews and wartime documents, this is a thrilling narrative of the Marines who lived, and died, during the toughest battles of the entire war. It looks at the war through the eyes of some of the greatest fighter pilots of all time, including Bob Hanson, the “Maharajah of Rabaul” and highest-scoring Corsair pilot in history.
Jeff Dacus is a retired Master Sergeant of Marines who experienced tank combat in Operation Desert Storm. He is also a retired schoolteacher who taught U.S. history for 35 years and as an adjunct professor at the University of Portland. He volunteers with local veterans groups and is a speaker at historical events and with school groups. He is the historical consultant for the annual Northwest Colonial Festival.He is a private pilot who has written numerous print articles in LeatherneckMagazine and Armor Magazine, as well as online for the Journal of the American Revolution. He holds advanced degrees from American Military University, the University of Portland, and Lewis & Clark College. He resides in Vancouver, WA.
“The Fighting Corsairs is a page turner. I couldn’t put it down. Jeff Dacus tells an exciting and riveting tale of young men in combat in World War II. He brings a marine’s perspective and a writer’s gift in this story about the pilots of VMF-215. Dacus humanizes it through the life stories and experiences of the men who made up the squadron, taking us from its early days of training in Santa Barbara, through its harrowing moments of combat in the Pacific against a skilled and tenacious enemy. The Fighting Corsairs is also the story of men and machines, in which the pilots and ground crews of VMF-215 learned the quirks of the famed, bent-winged F4U Corsair and how to make the most of its powerful engine and armament. Hats off to Jeff Dacus and the 'Fighting Corsairs' of VMF-215—this is a great read.” —Ricardo Herrara, associate professor at the U.S. Army War College, author of For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775–1861
"I would advise popping a Dramamine before stepping into the cockpit of a Corsair with the fearless and fearsome Marine pilots ascending, diving, and barrel-rolling through the skies while engaging in breathtaking dogfights with enemy Zeros in Jeff Dacus's powerful and riveting account of World War II's Pacific air campaign. In profiling the fighter pilots who helped turn the 20th century's most deadly conflict in America's favor, the historian and author Jeff Dacus makes us realize how little justice most popular military histories do to their source material—until you come across a book like this. Dacus relies on contemporaneous accounts to fly us not only into battle with the tip of the Marine Corps's military spear, but to bring to vivid life the personalities who constituted this sliver of the Greatest Generation." —Bob Drury, author of the bestseller Halsey’s Typhoon and the account of B-17 crew Lucky 666