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Navy 

A Naval Aviator's True Story of Ferocious Combat,
Enduring Love and Miraculous Survival in WWII.

by


ROBBIE ROBINSON, Naval Aviator

Read these dramatic accounts of miraculous survival.

Experience new understandings of this historic time.

The United States Navy found Wings of Gold so intriguing and of such great educational value that Robbie Robinson was invited to lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy.

TABLE of CONTENTS

Read the Preface

Chapter 1

Life During the
Far-off Rumbles of War

"All I knew then was that I was going to get a chance to challenge the skies and enter a whole new dimension of human experience."

Fairbanks, Alaska 1939

Chapter 2

Pilot Training Begins

"Later the discouraging news came. The aircraft carrier USS Lexington had been sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea.  This was terrible news.  The prospective cadets were subdued."

Grand Prairie, Texas May 1942
 

Chapter 3

Corpus Christi
and
Wings of Gold


"How special it was to have Mother pin the Wings of Gold on my uniform.  Now I was a U.S. Navy Pilot. "

Corpus Christi, Texas November 1942

Chapter 4

Operational Training
and Qualifying

"I got the cut signal and landed on the HMS Attacker. Then the aircraft carrier made three circles around where the pilot ahead of me had spun in.   There wasn’t anything to be found. He was gone.   A British crewman jumped on the wing of my plane.   ‘You have three more carrier landings to shoot in order to qualify.  Keep up you bloody speed, Matey.  We have already lost three pilots this morning.’  It was bitter cold. "

Chesapeake Bay, January 1943
 

Chapter 5

Assignment to
Squadron VC-41
and Squadron VC-7

"New TBF Grumman Avenger torpedo planes were delivered to our new squadron.  I was scheduled to fly the Avenger that afternoon.  The responsibility of taking-off in a two-thousand horsepower military bomber was a major challenge for me. "

Sandpoint Naval Air Station, February 1943

Chapter 6

The Development of
Air-to-Ground Missiles

"A mild wind was coming down the Sierra slope.  The 200-mile an hour dive, through the turbulent air, made it difficult to keep the electric sight on the target. However, when I pulled the trigger at the 1000 yard range, the eight rockets hissed off and exploded through the target, breaking the desert silence with a roar. "

Inyokern Naval Air Station, December 1943
 

Chapter 7

Squadron VC-7 and the
Aircraft Carrier Manila Bay

"The USS Manila Bay eased by. Somewhere down within that blasted hulk of the USS Arizona there would forever be trapped the remains of over a thousand dead crewmen, killed when the forces of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.  Silently, bubbles of oil rose and burst on the water.  It was as if the old warship was continuing to die in what seemed its own bloodletting. "

Pearl Harbor, January 1944
 

Chapter 8

The Invasion of
the Marshall Islands

"‘You’re going to be all right’, he said. His voice was deliberate and reassuring.  ‘I’m going to keep you right here in my cabin bunk until we can make contact with a hospital ship.  Welcome to our destroyer.   I’m Abraham Lincoln, commanding officer. You are on the USS Caldwell.’ "

Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, February 1944

Chapter 9

A Time of Recovery
and Reassignment

"I was hurting physically and psychologically, and now in this brief moment this powerful but humble man helped me get my life back on track.  How I wish our country had more men the stature of Admiral Chester Nimitz. "

Pearl Harbor, April 1944
 

Chapter 10

Return to the
South Pacific War

"Word was passed throughout the ship that we were bound for the Admiralty Islands in the Territory of New Guinea.  I had never heard of the place, but was certain it was a long, long way from the United States. "

Out of San Francisco, September 1944

Chapter 11

The Last Months of World War II

"It was a beautiful month in the Imperial Valley. I especially enjoyed taking the planes high in the air where it was safe to spin, roll, snap and loop with abandon.  There was exhilaration in commanding a high powered military fighter plane through aerobatics. "

Holtville Naval Air Station, California April 1945

Part II

The Individual Stories of Associates of the Author

World War II

Read with Wonder and Appreciation

Chapter 12

Charles W. Robinson
Lieutenant, USNR

Officer on the heavy cruiser, USS Tuscaloosa, and the fight with the German gun batteries above Utah Beach on D-Day.

"What amazing and memorable adventures we had on that old cruiser, the only ship in its class not sunk in World War II. But, when our forces stormed the beaches of France in the greatest invasion in the history of the world--that remains as the impression of my life."
 

Chapter 13

John E. Jaqua
Major, USMCR

The brutal battle of a Marine bombing squadron for control of the Soloman Islands.

"There was quite a fight that went on around me. Pappy Boyington, skipper of the famous Baa Baa Black Sheep squadron, bailed out of his flaming F4U fighter right below me. His chute opened just before he hit the water. What a way to go, right after getting his record of 26 kills."

Chapter 14

William Barnett
Lieutenant, USNR

Black Widow PBY scout and rescue squadron save U.S. Marine pilot off Rabaul

"We were in a very dangerous situation. Japanese batteries a mile away above Rabaul began shooting at us.  The option of beaching our damaged plane was out of the question."   William Barnett

Chapter 15

Albert K. Earnest
Captain, USN

Sole pilot of the 24 planes from Torpedo Squadron 8 to return after the Battle of Midway.

"I dove down and headed for the nearest carrier. Bullets were clanging off the armor plate behind me and a cannon shell tore into the wing of the plane. Blood splattered around the cockpit. I don’t remember feeling a thing."   Albert K. Earnest
 

Chapter 16

Leonard Muskin
Lieutenant, USNR

Avenger pilot from the carrier Essex and his torpedo hit on the Musachi, the largest battleship in the world.

"The Musachi was throwing up a lot of fire, bringing all her guns to bear on me.  I had to fly through a curtain of fire, but this was my chance of a lifetime."  Leonard Muskin

Chapter 17

Arnold Erickson
Lieutenant Commander, USN

Landing Signal Officer on the USS Franklin when the aircraft carrier was hit by a kamikaze.

"A tremendous explosion rocked the ship. I was blown into the air.  The explosions continued, the debris blowing up through the fire and smoke.  I thought the Franklin was finished."   Arnold Erickson
 

Chapter 18

Fred Dungan
Lieutenant, USNR

World War II Navy Fighter Ace took a 50 caliber bullet through his chest after shooting down his seventh plane.

"Your book just arrived and it deeply touched me. Thank you so very much for your talent and thoughtfulness in documenting the most memorable time of my life.  I am really moved and so grateful to you. My memory of those epic days we shared is so fresh that it all seems like it just happened yesterday." Fred Dungan
 

Chapter 19

  

Nathaniel Adams
Lieutenant (JG), USNR

This is the personal story of Nathaniel “Blackie” Adams and the role he played in the rescue of a heroic twenty-year-old Grumman Avenger bomber pilot named George Herbert Walker Bush.

 

George W. Bush
Lieutenant (JG), USNR

The George Bush story is told in Navy Wings of Gold.   Nat Adams gives the only eyewitness account ever published of this historic episode in American history.

Chapter 20

Joan L. Robinson
Reflections of a World War II Navy pilot’s bride.

"I'm leaving for Seattle the first thing in the morning to join my new torpedo squadron," Robbie began. "I am asking you to come to Seattle and marry me. It is a big decision, so don't answer me now. I will call you in three days."
 

Read the Epilogue

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