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Books which have been written by those who served on the USS Bataan (CVL-29)

  1. 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.

  2. 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 October 2004.                    

  3. 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 2006.

  4. 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.

  5. Title- Thunder on the Flight Deck (part 1) 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. Part 1 was published in our February 1, 2014 newsletter and is downloadable from the Association website. 

  6. Title- Looking Over my Shoulder, Author- Gil Johnson, VT-50.  This is an unpublished article which relates Gil’s U.S, Navy WWII experiences.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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 Working Career.

  10. 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.


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