From the first to the last of these 50 separate stories, I was riveted to my seat. It was a thrilling experience to have read an accounting of the war from a Marine pilot’s perspective in Recollections of a Marine Attack Pilot by Larry R. Gibson. Some of us have had our different stories to tell about the war but Mr. Gibson tells his with an interesting and enticing flair. I especially enjoyed the part about how he joined the Marines–it brought me back to the time I joined the Air Force. When he talked about the day he left, it was a similar memory of my own–I left aboard a C-47.
Gibson does not embellish his participation in the Marines with imagined accomplishments. He speaks the truth about what he did, what resulted from his actions, and the consequences of his mistakes. He admits his faults and does not hide the fact that he is human. There was an incident he talks about where he didn’t pass his flight physical because of a hernia. He had it taken care of and continued his career in the Marines.
The author didn’t have to mention this minor discrepancy in his physical well-being. The book would have been just as believable without the interjection of this minor incident, but it made it much more personal and showed the reader some of the minor hurdles he had to overcome, hurdles that could have grounded his Marine flying career for good.
Recollections of a Marine Attack Pilot is not without its drama. Gibson takes you behind the stick of his A-4 Attack Bomber and gives you a first-hand feel for what it takes to do his job. Flying only a few-hundred feet off the ground, taking flak and small arms fire, the author brings the reality of war to the reader. With graphic descriptions and well-chosen verbiage, you can almost feel the G forces on your body as he goes into a dive. You begin to get the same adrenalin rush as he must have felt while on his bombing run. This is the kind of stuff that best sellers are made of.
Larry R. Gibson did a fabulous job on Recollections of a Marine Attack Pilot and I recommend it to all age groups. It is G-rated and surprisingly enough, a book of war stories without any of the expected foul language. Superbly written, this book deserves my best rating of an A+ and I look forward to more from Mr. Gibson — maybe a Volume II.