NIGHT FIGHTERS OVER KOREA
by G. G. O'Rourke, with E. T Wooldridge
The Korean War is well known for its daytime
battles between the American Sabrejets and Communist MiGs over North
Korea, yet few Americans have heard of the wild night skirmishes
between the U.S. Navy-Marine Skvknights and their Chinese and Soviet
adversaries. Readers of Y this riveting story will soon come to
realize that in that air war the foe was more often the blackness
of night and Mother Nature than enemy airmen.
The navy night fighters-jet-powered
F3Ds-chronicled here were a detachment of the VC-4 squadron known
as "The Nightcappers." Lt. Gerald G. O'Rourke lead the
small team of Skyknights on board the USS Lake Champlain in the
Korean War. With no ground attack capability, O'Rourke's intrepid
band of frustrated night fighters found themselves unloved, unwanted,
and exiled ashore to a forward air base in South Korea. There, they
lived and fought by the side of Marine night fighter squadron VMF(N)-513,
and became the U.S. Navy's only jet night fighter squadron to see
combat in the war.
Filling a glaring hole
in the literature of naval aviation, this colorful, landmark contribution
describes in detail the development and training of navy night fighters
after World War II, their deployment to Korea, and their nightly
encounters with MiGs and monsoon weather. Of particular interest
are O'Rourke's rousing descriptions of his own encounters with enemy
MiGs where it becomes clear that in his desperate fight for survival,
he learned to use the night as his ally.
To write this book O'Rourke
teamed up with his former squadronmate and naval aviation historian
E. T. Wooldridge. It is an inspiring tale of the tragedies as well
as the lighter moments of night fighting with the offbeat Nightcappers
of VC-4 and some eccentric Marines. Humor, pathos, heroism, and
served thirty years in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot, test pilot,
and commanding officer of fighter squadrons and a carrier. In 1978
he received the Naval Institute Award of Merit. He died in December
E. T. Wooldridge,
a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, has served in numerous capacities
at the National Air and Space Museum for the past twenty years.
A resident of Annapolis, Maryland he is the author of several books
on aviation subjects, including The Golden Age Remembered and Into
the Jet Age.
288 pages. 20 photographs. Appendix. Glossary.
6” x 9”