A Novel about VMB-612, the Marine Corps’ B-25 PBJ Night Bombing Squadron
In 1943, the Marine Corps acquired the B-25, renaming it the PBJ. A medium-weight bomber, over fifty feet long with an almost seventy-foot wingspan, it had two fourteen-cylinder Wright cyclone engines, located mid-wing, and the capacity for a long range, upwards of eleven hours of flying time from additional gas tanks. The Marines used this plane to create eight bomber squadrons, but only one equipped to operate at night with the new invention, radar.
This is a story about that singularly unique squadron, VMB-612, from its inception at Peterfield Point, North Carolina, to its final days serving as a taxi service for the diplomats and bureaucrats flowing into the martial government in post-war Japan. All in their early twenties and late teens, the pilots and enlisted men of the squadron endured the hardships of war in the Pacific unique to an airplane squadron, and the driving pace of operations as American forces moved toward Japan. Confident of defeating the Japanese with no thought given to anything other than victory, the men learned the hard reality of war: it’s a cruel, devastating, and deadly business.Download the First 25 Pages Here!