Gold Star Aces: Volume 1


Troy L. White


Blurb Publishing


$34.99 softcover, $49.95 hardcover


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 238 pages, hardbound
ISBN: 978-0-578-11492-7

Those who are familiar with US customs regarding family members in the military, you know that a house that displays a red edged white banner with a gold star on it, signifies a son or daughter lost in combat.

In his new book, author Troy White, we get to look at all of the American Army Air Force aces that have paid the ultimate price. This is the first volume that covers the period from the start of WWII through June of 1944. Volume two will cover the remainder of the war.

The first thing that struck me upon starting to read the book was the depth of the research that went into each of the volume's entries. Each of the pilot's losses is covered by an Aircraft Accident Report, a Missing Air Crew Report, eyewitness reports by fellow pilots or folks on the ground. Not all cases have the former and latter, but all have a MACR. In addition, we get as much background on each pilot as is available, which in some cases is quite a bit and in others is very little. Author Troy White has made an effort to find at least one photo of the pilot in question as well other pertinent photos, such as the plane that was assigned to him or the one he was flying. We are also provided with the pilot's final resting place, if it is known.

There is a considerable introduction to the book to explain the reporting procedure and we have a goodly number of appendices as well. The pilot listing is by the date of loss and is divided into two major sections; 1941-1943 and 1943 until mid-1944. Each of the pilot stories is relatively unique as it seems that not all were simply shot down by superior enemy pilots. One died as he was attempting to rescue crew members from a crash landed B-17 when its bomb load went off. Some were shot down by ground fire, some hit the ground during strafing. One ran into a mountain top during a flight in quickly deteriorating weather and so on.

Each story gives the reader a sense of what these men went through during the war. Some had barely made ace while others had racked up an impressive score. It all makes for a superbly researched book that was easy to read and actually keeps you engrossed, something I had not expected when I started reading.

It is a book that I know you will very much enjoy and it makes for a great references as well. Highly recommended.

May 2013

My thanks to Troy White for providing the review book. Available at

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