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20 Questions about the Pacific War

Most people are generally familiar with the War’s European theater: The fall of France, the Battle of Britain, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge. But when asked about the Pacific War, most know only Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima and almost nothing in between. Maybe it was the geography: an immense ocean battlefield where engagements were fought on tiny, unpronounceable, and apparently interchangeable islands: Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Peleliu. Maybe it was the enemy: the inscrutable Japanese who had cut themselves off from the world, worshipped their emperor as a god, brutalized their conquests with unspeakable cruelty, and never, ever surrendered.


  1. In December 1941, how did the U.S. military rank in terms of size? (p.7)
  2. O’ahu radar operators spotted planes headed for Pearl Harbor, but who did they think they were? (p.11)
  3. What stroke of luck prevented Japan from winning the War right then and there? (p.11)
  4. Of the 100,000 Nisei interned during the War, how many volunteered for military service? (p.16)
  5. What espionage coup allowed America to ambush the Japanese at the Battle of Midway? (p.19)
  6. Why do dog tags have a notch along one edge? (p.30)
  7. Who trained most American pilots during the War? (p.44)
  8. Why did Roger Wilton Young receive the Medal of Honor? (p.49)
  9. What film made about the War was so horrifying that it took the President to release it? (p.59)
  10. What was the most produced American aircraft in history? (p.79)
  11. What is the Japanese word for “divine wind”? (p.107)
  12. Why were Japanese aircraft given “hillbilly” names by American servicemen? (p.139)
  13. What was the first computer-designed aircraft? (p.159)
  14. True or false: More people died at Hiroshima than on any other day in the Pacific War. (p.169)
  15. “Tokyo Rose” was of what nationality? (p.174)
  16. What is the “Thach Weave” and why is it important? (p.185)
  17. Who built the first guided missile and how was it guided? (p.219)
  18. Why was an orange emergency radio called a “Gibson Girl”? (p.225)
  19. What percentage of American POWs survived Japanese captivity? (p.259)
  20. Why is the Honorable Service button called the “ruptured duck”? (p.256)


The answers to these questions and many more are in Flying with the Flak Pak.


Flying with the Flak Pak fills in the blanks in our education by focusing on pilot O.C. Kemp, commander of a B-24 “Liberator” bomber, using his letters home, his orders, equipment, uniforms, photos, and souvenirs to personalize the War in a profoundly memorable way. And O.C.’s experience was not unique. Tens of thousands of boys went through basic and flight training from Florida to Hawaii and became men as they were entrusted with the most complex aircraft ever invented. And, in those planes, in the crucible of war, they found their courage and became heroes.


Flying with the Flak Pak shows how it happened in a way you will never forget.


(Click on images for larger size.)