On Boyington's Wing: The Wartime Journals of Black Sheep Squadron Fighter Ace


Whenever the fighter pilots of the Black Sheep Squadron headed out on a mission in their F4-U Corsairs, they always flew in pairs. The guy in the other plane was known as your "wingman." Incredibly, when Bob McClurg joined the Black Sheep Marine Fighter Squadron in the South Pacific theatre during WWII, he barely had any flying hours under his belt. The colorful squadron leader, Greg "Pappy" Boyington, literally took McClurg under his wing and made an Ace fighter pilot out of him.

McClurg flew many missions as Boyington's wingman in the distinctive "bent-winged" aircraft. The Corsairs could really take a beating, but they often lacked critical equipment such as working compasses or radios. Outmaneuvered by the swift Japanese zeroes, they often limped back to the base. But the zeroes were fragile, and, as McClurg says, after a morning combat mission, there were usually a lot fewer lunches served at the Japanese base than there had been breakfasts. Boyington's combat tactics, which are reprinted in this book, were largely responsible for the high success rate of the Black Sheep.

Several books have been written about the Black Sheep, but this is the only one besides Boyington's autobiography, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, and Frank Walton's Once They Were Eagles that has been written by one of the original squadron members. Thanks to a 1970s television series, the Black Sheep became a cultural icon, but the series did not give a completely accurate portrayal of the squadron, and McClurg sets the record straight. He emphasizes that these fighter pilots and their leader were not "misfits," as is commonly believed. Here is McClurg's story in his own words, with excerpts from his wartime journals accompanied by transcriptions of the actual combat reports from the National Archives, as well as several never before published photographs. A WWII aviation classic!

Lt. Col. Robert W. McClurg, with Leon Marketos

(2003), 2006, 5½x8½, paper, 256 pp.

ISBN: 9780788443039