Books which have been written by those who served
on the USS Bataan (CVL-29)
Title- The Second-Luckiest Pilot, Author- Don K
Tooker, USMC, VMF-212, Naval Institute Press 2000. The book includes stories
of several of the author’s Naval and Marine flying experiences between 1947
and 1968, but most of the accounts were provided by other pilots whom he came
to know over the years. Where does the title come from? Tooker relates a
remarkable story of survival after his Vought F-8 jet caught fire and went out
of control while he was refueling over the Pacific Ocean, and he had to
parachute into the sea. As it happened, however, Tooker’s experience was not
as miraculous as what happened to one of his squadron mates the very next
day. That guy’s parachute never fully opened, and he fell 15,000 feet-yet
survived to tell the tale.
Title- Stand Well Clear, Author- Don K Tooker,
USMC, VMF-212, Naval Institute Press 2003. A follow-on of sorts to the
author’s The Second-Luckiest Pilot. Stand Well Clear is a
light-hearted treatise of airborne antics and ground-based hi-jinks. This
publication is more than just a stroll down memory lane; it actually covers
some of the history and the realities of the early days of airborne combat.
Don Tooker, a decorated naval pilot who earned his wings in the Korean War and
retired with some seven thousand flight hours under his belt, presents some of
the folly of his flight experiences with humorous yarns of ground collisions,
of trying to find a spot to land in the Korean DMZ with a fuel gauge reading
empty and a host of others guaranteed to interest and amuse. PLEASE NOTE: Colonel Don Tooker, USMC, passed away in
Title- Their Life in my Hands, Author- C. Edgar
“Iron Mike” Mikronis, USN, VF-41, Mountain Lake Publishing. This is a story
of “Mike’s” four and one-half years in the Navy as a Navy Aviator and Landing
Signal Officer (LSO). It tells of his part in putting General Patton ashore
in Casablanca, and of being shot down and taken prisoner by the Germans and
Vichy French. Upon release from captivity he was returned to the U.S. where
he underwent LSO training and was assigned to the USS Bataan (CVL-29) and
further to the USS Franklin where he experienced being blown over the side,
recovered and returned to Franklin before returning to the “States”.
PLEASE NOTE: "Iron Mike" Mikronis passed away in November
Title- Okasan, Author- Harold P Armstrong, S1c,
USN, Published by Carlton Press, Inc, New York, NY (1993)- A Hearthstone
Book. This book presents the memoirs of a Navy Frogman during his Navy
Underwater Demolitions career from 1943 until 1968. The author makes fine use
of his abilities as a storyteller and instructor to excite and titillate his
readers about the life of a Navy frogman. PLEASE
NOTE: Harold Armstrong passed away in 2001.
Title- Thunder on the Flight Deck, Author- L
Victor Strub, LT, USNR. This is an unpublished article written near the end
of WWII by LT Strub who was the Assistant Landing Signal Officer (LSO) on the
USS Bataan (CVL-29). This is his interpretation of shipboard life in general
and the flight deck in particular.
Title- Looking Over my Shoulder, Author- Gil
Johnson, VT-50. This is an unpublished article which relates Gil’s U.S, Navy
Title- Night Flight of a Hellcat, Author-L.
Victor Strub, LT, USNR. This is an article that was published in the January
1945 REDBOOK. This is the story of how a Navy Pilot brought his
battered plane back to a carrier after action in the far Pacific, and as night
was closing in.
Title- Family ties-- and a few loose ends, Author- Wayne Von Stetten, WWII. Published by Brookshire Printing,
Lancaster, PA. The title says it all. This is Wayne's personal
story of his family and his life to date, and includes remembrances of time
spent on the USS Bataan (CVL-29).
Title- I Was There: A True Story, Author- Michael
Tomecko, WWII. Published by Vantage Press, Inc, 419 Park Ave. South, New
York, NY 10016. A compelling memoir of Mike's growing up in "a
typical Pennsylvania Coal Town" during the depression, his U.S. Navy
experience aboard the USS Bataan (CVL-29), and his Post-War rehabilitation and
Title- VS-931 AntiSubmarine Squadron, Author- J. Robert Wagner, Korea.
Available from www.authorhouse.com or
may be ordered by phone at 888.280.7715. This is a history of ASW
Squadron VS-931 and describes, in detail, the incident aboard USS Bataan
involving an AF2 from VS-931 which hit the ramp during a Car-Qual landing in
December 1951, resulting in the loss of the pilot.