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Cleo J. Dobson: U.S. Navy Carrier Pilot World War II A Personal Account - Carl Dobson, Dorothy Dobson Zoellner, Nancy Dobson Napier

This book was compiled in large part by the family of Lieutenant (jg) Cleo J. Dobson from the diaries he kept during his Second World War service as a pilot in the United States Navy between December 7, 1941 (the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, when he flew in to one of the air bases there from the carrier USS Enterprise) and the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

Dobson was a native of Oklahoma who went on to earn a degree in Mathematics from a state university in 1938. Following graduation, he joined the Navy and was accepted for pilot training, which he completed 2 years later. Dobson's war entailed participating in the early raids U.S. naval air forces made on Japanese island bases in the Central Pacific during February and March 1942 (a time when Japanese air and sea superiority was overwhelming), as well as flying missions as a scout/dive bomber pilot in the Battle of Midway and the early battles around Guadalcanal from the Enterprise. (Later in the war, Dobson would return to active service with a carrier task group as a commander of a fighter squadron flying missions against the Japanese homeland in 1945.)

Reading this book made the immediacy of wartime life for a naval pilot - which was a mixture of extreme stress and tension from combat followed by moments of boredom and tedium - very real to me. 

With increasing numbers of Second World War veterans now passing away, I am ever more appreciative of the sacrifices they made to help re-establish and ensure peace and the promise of a better world for us all. This book comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.