Price: $6.99 (as of Feb 17,2021 14:25:10 UTC – Details)
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“They painted our planes black, we wondered about that, then they put flame arrestors on our engines. We were told the cabin would be completely blacked out, the cockpit windows were darkened, and we would be doing mainly night work…” LCDR Howard Miner, VP-54
This coming-of-age story follows the exploits of a WWII Navy seaplane pilot who, flying in huge planes painted entirely black, became one of the first to fly night missions. From boxes of journals, photos, and artwork comes a true story filled with colorful descriptions of exotic locations, sea rescues, and the humor that was intrinsic to a Navy squadron’s daily life while at war in the South Pacific.
His is a tale of seven buddies, all pilots who flew at night, slept and got into mischief by day, then repeated. Wartime was unpredictable, and whether landing on a tropical isle where the women he saw from the air turned out to be topless, or dropping wing tanks containing a strange new substance called “Napalm,” this was clearly a very different world than he had known as a college student in Indiana.
Their seaplane odyssey stretched from the Solomon Islands to the northern tip of the Philippines and included a full range of missions, from search, attack, and bombing runs, to daring sea rescues. Howard’s journey through training and tours of duty is skillfully captured in his art and narratives. The descriptive verse from the artist’s viewpoint gives us a creatively told and intriguing portrayal of WWII’s Pacific Theater.
* * * * “Sketches of a Black Cat” is a unique and fascinating memoir of a World War II combat aviator ~ with original and previously unpublished sketches and photographs. This artfully crafted book is a must read for anyone in search of a new and completely different view into the world of war in the Pacific and on the home front during America’s greatest conflict.” ~ Larkin Spivey, military historian and author.
* * * * “From boxes of notes and drawings comes a book illuminating a WWII pilot’s experiences as part of the Black Cat Squadron…accounts of support missions, rescues of airmen and interactions with indigenous island peoples told in vivid but unembellished detail…a handsome volume that reads breezily and is punctuated with photos and drawings from Howard’s war years. ~ Mike Francis
* * * * “Wonderful and beautifully real stories such as this are dying every day as we lose our WWII veterans. Kudos to Ron Miner for preserving and sharing with the rest of us the gold of his father’s journals, photos, and drawings to bring us such a compelling look at life during the war. This is not only a valuable and insightful historical document but a dramatic and warm personal story.” ~ Don Keith, WWII author
* * * * “… Howard Miner’s memoirs are a wonderful view into the world of a patrol squadron at war. Miner sees the war through the eyes of an artist, revealing details of day-to-day life that are often overlooked in war time narratives. A wholly enjoyable story!” ~ Stewart Bailey, Curator, Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
* * * * ” “As a former flight engineer aboard a PBY in WWII… I can truly say I felt as though I was on Howard’s Catalina…so many similarities to my own experiences. I can almost hear the drone of the engines in synchronization. Many episodes were warm and compelling. I highly recommend this book to vets, historians, and students. You won’t put down Sketches of a Black Cat till you’ve read it cover-to-cover!” ~ Win Stites, VP-91, VP2-1 served in both Atlantic and Pacific regions during WWII, Former President PBY Memorial Foundation and Museum
Sketches of a Black Cat – Full Color Collector’s Edition: Story of a night flying WWII pilot and artist
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