Stardust Studio's Adventures of the 4th Fighter Group


Troy L. White


Stardust Studios


Scott Van Aken


$35.00, softbound, 330 pages, hundreds of photos, ISBN 978-0-578-16605-6. Also available in hardback and a deluxe edition.

During WWII there were basically two eminent USAAF fighter groups in the ETO. These were the 4th and the 56th. Both units got into the fight fairly early in America's involvement with the 4th actually being the first, though not under that designation. Many have heard of the Eagle Squadrons. These were three RAF squadrons that were predominately manned by American pilots, who joined the RAF via Canada prior to the US entering the war. These men went as much due to a need for adventure as for any sort of patriotic zeal, though they all felt a need to defeat the forces of Adolf Hitler.

The Eagle Squadrons were 71, 121 and 133 squadrons which, when absorbed into the USAAF as the 4th FG in September 1942 became the 334th, 335th and 336th FS. This group still exists today, flying the F-15E Strike Eagle and will probably remain part of the USAF for rest of the existence of the service.

The book is divided into three major sections and there are various prologues and appendices. It starts with the formation of the Eagle Squadrons and then covers the men who were in these units. Within these ranks are many of the names that enthusiasts will recognize such as Chesley Peterson, Duane Beeson, Don Gentile, Don Blakeslee, John Goodson and others.

The next section covers the formation of the 4th FG. Many of the pilots in the group were the same as in the RAF, but after a period of time, the aircraft changed as the 4th converted from flying Spits to Thunderbolts. Though there was some concern as the P-47 was a rather different aircraft, the group took to their new mounts and continued racking up scores. In this section we are introduced to Willard Millikan, Ralph Hofer, John Godfrey, and Fred Glover among many others. This was also the time frame where the unit transitioned out of the P-47 and into the Mustang.

The third section consists of pilots were never with the Eagle Squadrons and were many of the men with which the group ended the war. In this section is Carl Brown, Fred Brown and William O'Connell.

Within these sections are the stories of over forty men. This covers their experiences, some of their more interesting missions as well as other tales that add interest and show that these men did more that sleep and fly. In several cases, they not only flew during WWII, but also Korea and in a few case, Vietnam.

This is all, as they say, profusely illustrated with images of people and planes. There are quite a few appendices that offer pilot information, aces list, those KIA, MIA or captured, a list of commanding officers and other items. There are about 20 pages that are just photos. It all makes for a most interesting book and one that has been researched via official records and interviews. A superbly written book that flows nicely, keeping the reader's interest from page to page. It is a book that I KNOW you will like. Highly recommended.

August 2015

Review copy courtesy of Troy L. White. You can get your copy from this link.

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