Published on
June 29, 2012
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Gregory Pons
Other Publication Information
Hardback, 191 pages, b&W photos, color profiles
Provided by: Eden Mili-Arts

USMC Aviators is the 3rd book written by Gregory Pons, and was released on May 22, 2012. The previous two books were 8th Air Force, American Heavy Bomber Groups in England, 1942-1945 and 9th Air Force, American Tactical Aviation, 1942-1945.

This hardback book of 191 pages contains both color and black & white images. Originally written in French, the English language version of the book was translated by the author and David A. Reid. All of the images and documents contained in the book come from reliable sources, including the author’s collection, photo albums of veterans, and U.S. Government archives.

Not many history books employ the unique and highly enjoyable approach that one finds in USMC Aviators, Marine Corps Airmen in the Pacific 1941-1945. The reading experience is similar to what one would expect when viewing a veteran’s old photo album and by having that veteran sitting there with you, narrating each item attached to the page.

Of course, the reader will find some excellent photographs of aircraft such as Dauntlesses, Corsairs, and Avengers. These black and white images serve the modeler well. The weathering on the aircraft, as well as the markings, is a gold mine for the builder in need of research material and references.

These images are matched up to a series of excellent full color side-view drawings. Again, the effects of constant use and weathering are apparent in these drawings, giving the builder some helpful guidance on modeling these effects.

One of the most appreciated features within this book is the color images of persons modeling “period and theatre specific” aviation gear. Personal side arms, parachutes, harnesses, flight helmets, goggles, lifejackets, and many other items are shown in excellent images which a figure painter will certainly appreciate.

Beyond the black and white images of aircraft, facilities, and crew, and beyond excellent color images of the flight gear and accoutrements, is the inclusion of images of documents that relate to the pilots, their squadrons, and their war experience. For example, one will find a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy in which a pilot is notified that he has been chosen to receive a Distinguished Flying Cross. The reader will also find samples of maps hand-drawn by the pilots, art in the form of sketches and drawings, copies of I.D. cards, flight logs, “blood chits” (I.D. devices, should the airman come into contact with Asian civilians), along with various flight charts and navigational items.

Reading this book is like digging through a veteran’s WWII trunk. Each item has a story and is a real piece of history. Each image has its own story. Each document (in this case it is the image of a document) speaks volumes and the experiences of these World War II Warriors. It should be noted that the Marine Corps is celebrating the Cenntennial of Marine Aviation. For more information about Marine Aviation one can visit .

I highly recommend this book for its usefulness to the modeler and also for its ability to speak to the reader about a place and time now disappearing into history. Thanks to the author and Eden Mili-Arts for providing a copy of this excellent book for review and to IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to review it.


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