9FS Home
9FS Photo History


9FS bar sinister insignia

Reading Room


The following is a list of books and articles about the 9FS and/or the 49FG during WWII

This list is by no means complete. Current books can be purchased from your favorite book source, online or offline. Some older books and articles are no longer in print.


Animated book Recently Published Books

GEORGE PREDDY  Top Mustang Ace
The complete combat biography 
of a 27-victory ace

by Joe Noah and Samuel L. Sox, Jr.

by Mindy White

"This is the story of America's top Mustang Ace, Maj. George E. Preddy, hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina, Preddy was the epitome of a charming southern gentleman in addition to being a war hero. The book follows his life from pre-war barnstorming days in North Carolina, across the Pacific where he flew P-40s against the Japanese, and eventually to the Eighth Air Force where he would distinguish himself in aerial combat flying P-47s and later P-51s. With 23-83 victories while flying the P-51 Mustang, Preddy became the world's top scoring Mustang Ace.

The admiration that was felt for him by his comrades is exemplified in the words of the late General John C. Meyer; "I have yet to meet a man of such single-minded and dedicated purpose, of such intense desire to excel, not for himself but for his country. George Preddy was just the greatest fighter pilot who ever squinted through a gun sight; he was the complete fighter pilot."

George E. Preddy early days with the 9th Pursuit Squadron


Col. Gerald R. Johnson, 
the USAAF's Top Fighter Leader of the Pacific War

by John R. Bruning

Following review by Ken Clark, Col. USAF (Ret)

Jerry Johnson was not your every day fighter ace of WW II, and author John Bruning is no ordinary aviation historian. His biography of fellow Oregonian Johnson was ten years in the making and involved exhaustive research of official and family records and dozens of interviews with contemporary fighter aces and squadron mates. That much is routine scholarship. What makes Bruning unusual is that, although not a pilot himself, he is an expert on fighter tactics by reason of earlier employment as a designer of combat flight simulators for Dynamix Corporation. His descriptions of aerial combat put the reader right in the fray, and ring true to those of us who have been there.
           Jerry was in that group of volunteers who entered aviation cadet training early in 1941 and earned their wings and commissions around Pearl Harbor time. Dick Bong and Tommy McGuire were his contemporaries. All three young lieutenants were seasoned by months of additional fighter experience in the states, and Johnson and McGuire had tours in Alaska, before entering the Pacific war in the spring of 1943 at Dobodura, New Guinea. Bong, who had beaten the other two into the Pacific Theater by four months already had 10 aerial victories to his credit, and went on to become America’s Ace of Aces with 40 victories. McGuire was a close second with 38 victories before his untimely death in January 1945. Jerry Johnson was a couple of rungs down the ladder of Pacific aces with 22 official victories and a slew of probables but it was his leadership that set him apart from his contemporaries.
            Demonstrating not only a shooter’s skill, but also the ability to inspire, lead and command others, Jerry quickly rose through the ranks as a flight leader, mission leader, squadron commander, Deputy Group Commander, and in March 1945 he became commander of the highest scoring fighter group in the Pacific. At age 24, he was one of the youngest full colonels in the service. Small of stature, personable, and possessed of an excellent balance of daring and caring, Jerry was a superb pilot with keen eye and quick reflexes but he never lost a wing man in combat. His air of confidence and his demonstrated ability encouraged people to follow his lead on any undertaking. He would unhesitatingly go to bat for his men, but he hated slackers, in or out of uniform. In later years a friend called him “The Luke Skywalker of my generation.”

At war’s end Jerry’s group was the first fighter outfit to land on Japanese home soil. He had survived 262 combat missions during 36 months in the Pacific theater, and had been decorated with two DSC’s, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and a host of DFC’s and Air Medals. While flying a B-25 courier mission from Tacloban, Leyte, back to Atsugi, Japan,  his plane was caught in a typhoon and never seen again. A tragic ending to a brilliant career. Many years later John Bruning, in the process of researching a Master’s Thesis on Colonel Johnson found that he was all but forgotten in his home town of Eugene, Oregon. Bruning determined that he would revive his memory by writing a book, and this is the result. It is exciting reading for any air combat fan. For those of us who served under Jerry, it is a long overdue and much appreciated memorial.

Available in hard cover or paperback. 
Brassey's Inc.
, 2001; 320 pgs., 40 b/w photos, maps, index.


The 49th Fighter Group in WWII 

by S.W. Ferguson and Wm. K. Pascalis

This highly acclaimed book covers the 49th Fighter Group's complete history during the war. Aviation Artist/Historian Steve Ferguson and 9FS Crew Chief/Historian William Pascalis compiled this authorized book outlining the chronological events and activities of the 49th Fighter Group: 7th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Squadron, and 9th Fighter Squadron. This is a full size jacketed book with over 300 well written pages, hundreds of photos, plus handsome vintage aviation artwork.  Published in 1996 by Schiffer Military/ History Publishing. Subject to availability online from several sources. 


Tales of a War Pilot

by Richard C. Kirkland

Recently published, the author was a WWII 9FS fighter pilot in the 9FS/49FG. This jacketed book contains well written, and some humorous personal accounts of his tour of duty during the war in the Pacific, plus another section of his experiences as a helicopter pilot during the Korean War. Published in 1999 by the Smithsonian History of Aviation series, it is currently available from Amazon books. He says he has another book in the making which will be available later in 2001.


Aerothentic Publications
World Authorities on the US Fifth Air Force in WW2

by Michael John Claringbould

Please go to the book section at www.aerothentic.com for further details

The Forgotten Fifth

The Forgotten Fifth is a detail photo- graphic chronology of the Fifth Air Force from Australia to the Philippines. It con- tains among other things, rare photos, detailed histories, and an index of Fifth Air Force aircraft.

Black Sunday

On 16th April 1944 the Fifth Air Force lost 37 aircraft to a weather front whilst returning from a mission against Hollandia. This book documents the entire mission, including an ac- count of every loss. Research includes Japanese, Australian and US records, six appen- dices, and rare photos.


Forty of The Fifth

Complete with never-before published photos, this detailed work contains the bio- graphies of forty Fifth Air Force aircraft. The book touches on MIA 
issues, maintenance issues, personalities, oddities and any- thing and every- thing about these individual aircraft. This book was described by the 
editor of Flightpath magazine as "exponentially ahead of any other work on a WW2 Air Force".



Animated book Past Published Books


49th Fighter Group

by Ernest R. McDowell and illustrator Don Greer

A very nice paperback book, it was published in 1989 by Squadron/Signal Publications. A history of the 49th Fighter Group, many B&W photos, plus many fantastic aviation art & noseart of pilots' warbirds. It is no longer in print. 
(On the cover, center: 7FS Capt. Nathaniel Blanton's P-40, with diamond checkered rudder; below, 9FS Lt. Ken Clark's #98 P-38 "Gypsy".)


Dick Bong Ace of Aces 

by General George C. Kenney

Published 1980 by Zenger Publishing. This is a biography of America's ace Richard Ira Bong, who's top aerial victory credits totaled 40 during the Pacific Campaign against Japan in WWII. Major Bong was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by General Douglas MacArthur at Tacloban, Leyte, in 1944. (this is a revised edition of the 1960 publication.)



The Flying Buccaneers

The Illustrated Story of Kenney's Fifth Air Force
by Steve Birdsall
with an Introduction by General George C. Kenney

Published in 1977, the book covers the complete history of the 5th Air Force during WWII. True history, plus some anecdotes as well. 


Fighter Pilot

by Ralph H. Wandrey

In 1950, Ace Capt. Ralph H. Wandrey published "Fighter Pilot". This book covered his 21-month tour of duty as a fighter pilot with the 9th Fighter Squadron, beginning in January, 1943.


49thFG, History of the Fighting 49ers

I can't recall the author's name. It must be out of print.


Magazine Articles

NOTE: Copies of these articles may be obtained from 
your local library reference section by request.


'Bing Bang' Bong and the Humpty Doos

by Bob Eunson, War Correspondent

In the early 1940's, a nationally known magazine (name?) featured an article about the 9th Fighter Squadron, referring to  their early Darwin era nickname "Humpty Doos", featuring (then Capt.) Major Richard I. Bong and other 9FS aces. It primarily focused on Bong becoming the first American to break Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker's record of aerial victories.


The Fighters at Humpty Doo

by Lucien Hubbard

Fighters of Humpty Doo with Hubbard - 1942
[Photo from-  © Air Facts: The Magazine for Pilots, November, '42]
On the Australian Front
Standing, L-R:
John Landers, I.B. Jack Donalson, Andrew J. Reynolds, author Lucien Hubbard.
Seated: John  Sauber, lost in a mid-air collision the day following.

The famous Hollywood producer/author was a temporary publicity correspondent accredited by the USAAF, who wrote the article published by "Air Facts: The Magazine for Pilots, November, '42" to boost our morale. He lived with and wrote about the young pilots of the 9th Pursuit Squadron under the RAAF command in the Australian bush-cattle station area called Humpty Doo, south of Darwin. He referred to that campsite location due to censorship. With some minor embellishments, the story is basically true. It is here where the 9th's legendary nickname "Fighters of Humpty Doo" began.

  (Note: In December  1942, this article was a featured story available to the general public in condensed form by Reader's Digest.)


Fowl in the Cockpit!

by John R. Bruning

This article refers to Ralph Wandrey's wild experience during aerial combat with the 9FS's beloved mascot, Huckleberry Duck. "Fowl in the Cockpit" was published in April 1999, by FlyPast magazine, England.



The Flying Knights
Photo History of the 9th Fighter Squadron

This book was privately published by and for the 9FS during the war.

Visit it here...

The Flying Knights cover



Animated book Memory Books

Saga of the 49th FC Squadron

by Virgil "Chief" Holcomb

Printed in 1987, Virgil Holcomb writes:


The story of the US Air Corps men of the 49th Fighter Control Squadron who performed in WWII in the Southwest Pacific has not been adequately told. This book is written in an attempt to bring back the memories and the drama of the greatest mission of the 49th Fighter Control Squadron. The top flying aces in the Pacific Theater were a part of the great air battles because the Fighter Control Center sounded the alerts and scrambled the airplanes. When one reads the accounts herein, he can share the tension and excitement which took place during an air raid in the plotting room and at the controller's console.

The 49th Fighter Control Squadron began to operate in a combat area and assisted pilots in the Darwin, Australia area in February 1942. Darwin was the farthermost outpost in northern Australia and was vulnerable to Japanese attack by sea and air. The 7th, 8th, and 9th Fighter Squadrons of the 49th Fighter Group were the first units to take an active part in the beginning of the war in the battle for Australia. With assistance of Australian spotter stations, radar, and the ingenuity of the 49th Fighter Control personnel, the pilots were successful in turning away the Japanese Air Force and won air supremacy over the northern part of Australia.

The 49th Fighter Control Squadron was a part of the 49th Fighter Group until September 1943. The Squadron was designated as a separate unit and operated under the Fifth Fighter Command in the Pacific Theater until the end of the war. The Fighter Controllers controlled fighter and bomber aircraft during their missions and gave instructions during enemy attack. They directed fighter cover for the support of ground troops and the pilots on recco missions."

Coincidentally having the same last name as the author, Ralph Holcomb (also of the 49th Fighter Control Squadron/ Cryptographer) loaned his copy of the binder-style memory book to me. It contains many references to the 7th, 8th, & 9th Fighter Squadrons and 49th Fighter Group.

Scrub Team at Tacloban

by Lucien Hubbard

Liberty Magazine published this article in January 1945 which referred to one particular operation during the Leyte invasion on Calaisan Peninsula. A condensed version was published by Reader's Digest in February 1945. The article omitted Virgil "Chief" Holcomb's name, although he was a key member of the team on that day.


Home Return to The Flying Knights Home